Fewer lifeguards at beaches as peak shark season ramps up Labor Day Weekend

Peak shark season ramps up

CHATHAM, Mass. — It’s known as the unofficial end to summer, but on Labor Day weekend, peak shark season is just getting started.

With the beautiful weather expected all day Monday, beach safety officials are warning that swimmers need to be vigilant, especially with a reduced number of lifeguards monitoring the public beaches.

“It just keeps building and building, and now we have the most numbers that we have all summer long,” said Tony Pike, Beach Safety Director at Nauset Beach in Orleans.

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According to Pike, white sharks have been pinging sensors off the coast almost non-stop.

“We’re starting to see some old friends that have come for the season and some of the newer animals that have been tagged, and it’s been incredibly active,” he said. “Just about all day and all night it pings.”

Pike said that Nauset will have 5 lifeguards on staff on Labor Day, so more responsibility will fall on swimmers to watch the water.

The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, a shark research non-profit based out of Chatham, also pushed out a warning for the holiday, reminding beachgoers not to let their guard down.

“As we go into the holiday weekend, the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy really wants to remind the community that sharks are still off the coastline here,” said Marianne Long, Education Director for AWSC. “We know that white sharks are still in this region, September, October, even into November. So we want people to be mindful of that when they go to the beaches, especially because as we go into September, a lot of beaches will no longer have lifeguards.”

Long recommended the following ‘shark smart’ tips for swimmers:

  • Swim in shallow water, below waist-level
  • Avoid marine wildlife such as seals and schools of fish
  • Check beach signage for recent sightings
  • Do not go in the water alone

Pike also recommended that people locate beach safety kits, in case of an emergency.

He added that swimmers have been swimming out further than they’re supposed to, after lifeguards leave the beaches at 5 p.m.

“These beaches are beautiful this time of year, we want you to come and enjoy it. But you really do have to take care of your own personal safety,” he said.