LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – After multiple shark sightings Monday, there was another confirmed sighting in Hempstead and a false alarm at Jones Beach.
Lifeguards at Jones Beach say there was no shark, just dolphins and stingrays, and beach-goers were allowed back in the water.
It was a different story for swimmers in the town of Hempstead, however. There was a confirmed sighting at Atlantic Beach around 4 p.m., forcing beaches to close for the remainder of the evening.
Nickerson Beach is also closed out of an abundance of caution.
It comes after swimmers were ordered out of the water Monday due to multiple shark sightings.
“The first day of surf camp and there was a shark. What else could happen this summer?” said Christina Gardrvits of Long Beach.
Gardrvits is already raising two kids during a pandemic, and never expected to also deal with this. Her daughter was surfing at Long Beach when a shark was spotted close to the shore Monday.
“Yeah we were freaked out that our kids were in the water,” she told CBS2’s John Dias.
But Tuesday, those campers returned back into the water, along with plenty of others taking a dip.
“Careful, that’s all, don’t go out too far,” said Marianne Mullady of Rockville Centre.
“It’s their home, what are we going to do? We are visitors,” said Judi Rackovitch of Long Beach.
All Nassau County South Shore beaches reopened Tuesday. Some had modified restrictions earlier on in the day, after 13 miles of beach – from Atlantic Beach to Jones Beach – were closed for hours Monday since a shark, likely a bull shark 7-12 feet long, was seen twice swimming just a stone’s throw from the shoreline of Long Beach and Lido Beach.
There was a possible third sighting in Point Lookout as well Monday.
Watch John Dias’ report —
“I would never go in now. Not for a while,” one person said.
“I think it’s a shame. We are bad enough with the COVID, so this really putting a damper of the middle of the summer,” said another.
Benjamin Lauri, of Middle Village, hits Long Beach four days a week and says it’s never as quiet as it was Tuesday.
“This is the repercussions,” he said. “Usually it’s loaded with kids and they’re all in the water. Nothing today.”
A group of teenagers drove from Smithtown to step foot in the sand, but stepping foot in the Atlantic was a different story after learning about the isghtings.
“Definitely not going in, don’t want to get attacked by a shark today,” 16-year-old Lauren Muscarella told CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock.
Surfer Akiyo Koyama says she was there Monday when lifeguards called everyone out of the water. Still, she came back Tuesday to hang ten.
“I worried about it,” she said, “but I thought, ah, lifeguard will be here.”
“I feel like they’re always out there, and they just so happened to see one yesterday,” said Seamus Smart, of Long Beach.
It’s true, especially in summer, says Joe Yaiullo, curator and co-founder of Long Island Aquarium.
“The warmer waters are bringing in the bait fish, and wherever the food goes, that’s where the predators are gonna go,” Yaiullo said.
He says that’s a good thing and it means the environment is healthy.
“You go into the water and it’s in the mid-70s. It’s not generally like this, and we have seen small fish, which is like bait for these sharks,” said Town of Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin.
He says the sharks are extremely dangerous, but local authorities are doing everything to ensure beach-goers are safe.
“We have boats out in the area for our bay constables, we have guards on surfboards and we have guards watching from the beach.” he said.
Ilissa Epstein, camp director of Malibu Beach Camp, offered some safety tips.
“Just swim in groups … Avoid swimming during sunset, sunrise or in murky water,” she said. “Don’t wear shiny objects like any jewelry in the water as well.”
Shiny could be mistaken for a fish’s belly.
Locals are at ease with the extra precautions, but hoping they won’t be necessary.