beaches
Wantagh, NY, USA May 27, 2011. A lifeguard boat stands vigilant, ready in the event of an emergency, on a summer's day at Jones Beach in Wantagh, New York

Did a shark bite a Jones Beach lifeguard Monday morning? The answer: We still don’t know for sure.

However, a spokesperson at the New York State Parks Department said an investigation into the nature of the bite is ongoing. Also, a day after the lifeguard was potentially bit, sharks were spotted at the same area of the beach Tuesday morning.

A lifeguard at Jones Beach, who was in the water near the Central Mall, said they were bit around 11 a.m. on Monday, potentially by a shark. The lifeguard was treated by EMTs and then taken to a hospital for further examination. Swimming was immediately prohibited while New York State officers flew drones overhead to inspect the waters. Sharks were not spotted at that time, and swimming resumed shortly after 2 p.m.

“State park lifeguards are continuously scanning and patrolling the waters and are on the lookout for any dangerous marine life, such as sharks,” the parks department spokesperson said in a statement. “Park police and staff are actively patrolling the beachfront as well.”

Last Thursday, two sand sharks were spotted near the shore at Jones Beach Field 6. Swimming was suspended for at least an hour while officials monitored the situation. Another shark was also spotted at Nickerson Beach last Wednesday. In response, Nassau County Police Department ramped up its own shark patrol efforts. 

After the incident Monday morning, the county appears even more vigilant about watching out for the sea creatures.

“Due to multiple reported shark sightings, Nassau County PD is intensifying aerial and water patrols out of an abundance of caution,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said in a statement. “I urge residents to stay calm, use common sense and follow lifeguard instructions.”

The parks department offered the following tips for avoiding a shark encounter:

  • 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 night time.

  • 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 instructions of lifeguards and parks staff.

  • Adhere to all signage at beaches.

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