A Cape Cod town official made a plea to beachgoers on Wednesday night: Take the risk of great white sharks swimming close to the shore more seriously.
“It is time for beachgoers to change their behavior or something terrible is going to happen,” Nathan Sears, the natural resources manager and harbormaster for the Town of Orleans, wrote on Facebook. “Please be safe.”
Sears said municipal officials manage the lifeguarded section of Nauset Beach “under the assumption that there are always sharks in the vicinity of the swim area.”
Lifeguards, he wrote, are trained to instruct swimmers to stay close to the shore and keep a vigilant eye out for the ocean predators, while a rescue boat and EMTs are standing by.
“The challenge is trying to convey the gravity of the situation to the beachgoers,” Sears wrote. “As far as I can see, local tourism and beach attendance has yet to be negatively affected by the presence of the sharks. Regardless of how much signage and information we provide, there still seems to be a concerning level of complacency.”
Sears and his colleagues have been seeing sharks “feeding aggressively in shockingly shallow water” on a near-daily basis, he said, and previous research indicates the behavior will extend into the fall, when the beach is not staffed by town officials.
“The inshore waters off of Cape Cod are truly a wild place and people should practice extreme caution while visiting,” he said. “White sharks have bitten people along this coastline. Fortunately, no one has died yet. However, it can only be expected that more incidents will occur if people continue to take unnecessary risks.”