Shark Awareness

While shark encounters are extremely rare, it is always a good idea to refresh yourself on the steps you can take to reduce that chance even further.

View of a shark and fish in the blue ocean waters
Shark in the ocean


There are many inherent dangers while swimming in ocean or sound waters. Swimmers are advised to be aware of conditions and their surroundings.

Sharks are a normal and important part of the natural surroundings we enjoy at ocean beaches. The presence of sharks requires that we take precautions while enjoying the resource.

  • Don’t swim too far from shore
  • Stay in groups
    Solitary individuals are more likely to encounter a shark
  • Avoid being in the water during darkness or twilight
    Sharks are most active at these times
  • Don’t go into the water if bleeding from a wound
    Sharks have a very acute sense of smell
  • Leave shiny objects at home
    The reflected light resembles fish scales
  • Avoid brightly colored swimwear
    Sharks see contrast particularly well
  • Be aware sharks hunt for seals in shallow water.
  • Stay close to shore where rescuers can reach you.
  • Don't isolate yourself. Swim, paddle, kayak, and surf in groups.
  • Avoid areas where seals are present.
  • Avoid areas where schools of fish are visible.
  • Avoid murky or low-visibility water.
  • Limit splashing.
  • Follow all signage and flag warnings at beaches and instructions of the lifeguards.

Shark encounters are still extremely unlikely, but use of the above recommendations will further reduce the chances of injury, and allow you to more safely share the ocean with these spectacular animals.

Find more information about sharks at Cape Cod National Seashore.

Acadia National Park, Assateague Island National Seashore, Canaveral National Seashore, Cape Cod National Seashore, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Cape Lookout National Seashore, Channel Islands National Park, Fire Island National Seashore, Gulf Islands National Seashore, Olympic National Park, Padre Island National Seashore, Point Reyes National Seashore more »

Last updated: August 2, 2019