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New York beaches are stepping up shark attack prevention and ocean safety after a sighting and possible encounter on a Nassau County beach.
The precautions include patrols by boats, a helicopter and a drone. Officials said a 40-year-old man swimming at Jones Beach on Long Island was treated for a possible shark bite and released from a local medical center.
“We are looking forward to a great summer of fun in the water,” said Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman. “Our beaches are open. And, as you can see, people are coming in droves to enjoy one of the finest beaches in the world.”
Blakeman emphasized that while beaches are open and swimming has not been restricted, recent events should remind visitors of the importance in staying safe.
“I want to stress to everybody that it is safe to go in the ocean. However, just like crossing the street, you have to take precautions,” Blakeman said.
County Executive Laura Curran took questions at a press conference Saturday, where she similarly assured the public that shark attacks could be avoided with simple precautions.
“Please stay close to the shore. Being far from the shore makes it harder for lifeguards or police or anyone who is going to help you get to you,” Curran said. “Swim in groups. If you are swimming alone, a shark may think you’re their natural prey.”
Nassau County launched a flag program last year that signals when sharks have been sighted. Last year, more than two dozen shark sightings were reported at Nassau County beaches — up from just six in 2020.
This is only the latest in a series of shark attacks reported across the country.
Addison Bethea had been “scalloping near Grassy Island” on a Florida beach in 5-foot waters when an undetermined type of shark bit her right thigh, according to a Facebook post by her father, Shane Bethea. Addison reportedly tried “poking it in the eyes and punching it,” but it would not release. The shark was described as being about nine feet long.
The girl’s brother, Rhett Willingham, reportedly beat the shark until it let go of the teenager. Willingham then took his sister to a nearby boat, where he tied a tourniquet to minimize the blood loss, according to Bethea’s post. She was then transported to Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare via helicopter with “serious injuries.”
A Cape Cod beach was closed to swimming for an hour Tuesday after a great white shark sighting.
According to the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy’s app, Sharktivity, Head of the Meadow Beach in Truro, Massachusetts, was closed from 1-2 p.m. ET.
The app publicly tracks both confirmed and unconfirmed shark sightings.
It shows that there have been 11 confirmed and unconfirmed sightings over the course of the past week, some of which include photos.