NICKERSON BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – There was another shark sighting today off Long Island’s South Shore.
While experts say sharks aren’t looking to eat people, this is prime hunting season for them.
“I saw the shark. It was 15-20 meters off shore.” said Nickerson Beach lifeguard Ethan Grassing. “I literally just blew the whistle called them out.”
“Limiting swimming access to the knee, to waist level. We’re going to be reevaluating this on an hourly basis,” said Hempstead Town Supervisor Donald Clavin.
All day Nassau County police conducted enhance air patrols along the shoreline, and Nassau’s police marine unit worked in tandem. CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan was aboard as they followed radio calls to check out specific shallow waters.
“We have seen sharks before out here in previous years. But I’ve never seen a shark so close to shore. The depth is probably only about knee-to-waist deep, so it was definitely, definitely scary,” said East Atlantic Beach Lifeguard Connor Byrne.
A trio of college buddies from Manhasset concurs. They went fishing a week ago off Long Beach.
“When I hooked it at first, I didn’t know what it was. Fought it over over two hours,” said T.J. Munitello. “Once we finally landed it realized it was a bull shark. First time seeing one here.”
Although the suspected bull shark weighed hundreds of pounds, the friends released it by dragging it back into the ocean.
“As quickly as possible. Yeah, we let it back in,” they told McLogan.
“So that bull shark is swimming around her?”
“Yeah. It would be pretty cool to track it,” one said.
During a prior summer, McLogan followed local shark tracker Chris Stefenau just east of Jones Beach, where experts say harlmess sand sharks play.
Authorities are working to verify that a dangerous bull shark was among those swimming near shore yesterday. Attacks like the one in Maine that killed a New York City mother are very rare, but experts say there’s been an uptick due to warm waters and bait fish.
“We are getting more than double the number of shark sightings reported to us. And again, that’s not bull sharks, or dangerous great whites, it’s sharks that normally occur,” said marine expert Paul Sieswerda.
For now, the advice is to never swim alone in the ocean and avoid splashing for now.
“That is prime food hunting time for sharks. When the sun is rising and when the sun is setting, don’t wear shiny jewelry… they can mistake that for the scales of a fish,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. “And the most obvious – you can probably guess it – don’t swim in the water when you are bleeding. Sharks have a strong sense of smell, they are very attracted to blood.”