July 2, 2015

NPS issues shark safety advisory for seashore visitors

Since Friday, June 26, the National Park Service, along with neighboring emergency responders, have handled and investigated three incidents involving sharks and swimmers on the beaches of Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

On Friday, June 26, a 47-year-old man sustained injuries from a shark while swimming in Avon. On Saturday, June 27, an 18-year-old man swimming near Waves was bitten by a shark, and on Wednesday, July 1, a 68-year-old man was bitten by a shark in front of the lifeguarded beach on Ocracoke. 

“While the National Park Service does not know why there has been an increase of these incidents, we do want to make sure our visitors are aware of them and have a safe visit to the National Seashore," said seashore Superintendent David Hallac. "We can never guarantee anyone’s safety when they enter the water.  The only way to be sure you do not encounter sharks or other marine wildlife that may be harmful to humans, is to stay out of the water.”

In a news release, the Park Service said it will be increasing the number of visitor contacts on the beaches and posting information at key locations for visitors.

"There are many inherent dangers while swimming in ocean or sound waters," the news release said. "Swimmers are advised to be aware of conditions and their surroundings.  Sharks are a normal part of the natural environment.  Presence of sharks requires that we take precautions while enjoying the ocean."

The Park Service offers this advice to swimmers:

  • Don’t swim too far from shore
  • Stay in groups
  • Avoid swimming near fishermen or in the vicinity of other aquatic activity like birds diving for fish or bait fish in the water
  • Avoid swimming near fishing piers
  • Avoid being in the water at twilight or during the night-time hours
  • Don’t go into the water if bleeding from a wound
  • Leave jewelry and shining objects at home

"While shark encounters are rare, people should be vigilant of marine wildlife," the park said.

For the latest updates, visit the seashore's website at nps.gov/caha, follow the seashore's Twitter and Instagram feeds @CapeHatterasNPS, or follow news on Facebook.



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