Cape Cod National Seashore Beach Safety Shark Awareness

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Date: September 8, 2015
Contact: George E. Price, Jr. Superintendent, 508-957-0701

Although the summer season is coming to a close, visitors are still coming to Cape Cod National Seashore to enjoy its abundant recreational opportunities, to explore its diverse habitats and natural resources, and for rest and rejuvenation. We want to remind visitors and residents that lifeguard operations at the six national seashore beaches ended on Labor Day.

Recently, Cape Cod's great white sharks and gray seals have gained local and national attention. Both species existed long before Cape Cod was settled or became a popular destination, and in recent years their numbers have increased. Sharks have existed for more than 400 million years.As top predators, sharks are critical for maintaining a healthy and balanced marine ecosystem.

Seals are the major prey species for the great white shark, and as the seal population increases, the great white sharks have become more numerous. There have been confirmed reports of great white sharks feeding on seals close to shore, as well as great white shark sightings from spotter planes flying along the Outer Cape and near swimming beaches. While it is rare for a great white shark to bite a human, it did occur in Truro in 2012.

To stay beach safe, be aware of the following:

- No lifeguards are on duty.

- Dangerous rip tides, undertows, and shore break exist in the water off of our beaches.

- Sharks have been observed daily actively feeding on seals.

- Do not swim near seals.

- Swim close to shore, where your feet can touch the bottom.

- Swim, paddle, kayak, and surf in groups.

- Do not swim alone in the ocean at dawn or dusk. Avoid isolation.

- For emergencies, call 911.

The national seashore, the towns of Cape Cod and the Islands, the Massachusetts Shark Research Program, and the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy have worked together to produce shark advisory signs for beaches, and brochures that provide education and safety tips for beach users.Brochures about shark information may be obtained at the national seashore's two visitor centers and at

Last updated: September 8, 2015

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99 Marconi Site Road
Wellfleet, MA 02667


(508) 255-3421

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