New York Steps Up Shark Patrols After Several Beach Attacks
The hunt is on for sharks along the New York coastline. Patrols are being stepped up during the busy summer beach season after a string of sightings and a few scary encounters.
The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Department of Environmental Conservation, and the State Police will increase surveillance of shark activity, using drones and helicopter monitoring along the Long Island State Park Beaches.
"As New Yorkers and visitors alike head to our beautiful Long Island beaches to enjoy the summer, our top priority is their safety," Governor Kathy Hochul said. "We are taking action to expand patrols for sharks and protect beachgoers from potentially dangerous situations. I encourage all New Yorkers to listen to local authorities and take precautions to help ensure safe and responsible beach trips this summer."
A Tiger Shark knocked Shawn Donnelly off his paddle board while he was at Smith Point County Park in Shirley. He managed to punch the shark before swimming back to shore for help according to Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, but did suffer a 4-inch gash on his leg.
Arizona Man Bitten
A few hours later an Arizona man was bitten in waist-deep water along the same area on Long Island. He was taken to the hospital via helicopter and is expected to survive, according to NBC News New York.
This is the same stretch of coastline where a lifeguard was bitten during training a few weeks ago.
Lifeguard & Drone Increase
Lifeguards are being increased by 25 percent, to allow for two to four lifeguards within each area of the beach. Drone activity will also increase to three at Jones Beach State Park, two at Robert Moses State Park, and the first one at Hither Hills State Park. Park Police will also have one drone available to respond as needed.
Drone surveillance will expand from 4 to 11 miles along the beach at Long Island State Park.
State agencies will work together to patrol the beaches for shark activities, by land, air, and water.
- Park Police patrol boats searching the water
- New York State Police helicopter patrols over the South Shore waters
- Bolstering federal, state, county, and local partnerships to share resources and information about potential shark sightings
Shark Safety Tips
To minimize the risk of shark interactions, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation advises the following shark safety tips:
- Avoid areas with seals.
- Avoid areas with schools of bait fish, often characterized by fish splashing on the surface, diving sea birds, or the presence of marine mammals such as dolphins.
- Avoid areas where people are fishing.
- Avoid swimming in the ocean at dusk, dawn, or nighttime.
- Avoid murky water.
- Avoid isolation. Swim, paddle, kayak, and surf in groups.
- Swim close to shore, where your feet can touch the bottom.
- Always follow the instructions of lifeguards and Parks staff.
- Adhere to all signage at beaches.
Don't panic! That fin you see in the water may not be a shark at all. Here's how you can tell the difference.