Sharks on Cape Cod - What you need to know
cape cod sharksThe beautiful scenic waters off of Cape Cod, Massachusetts have been in the local and national headlines in recent years because of an increase in shark sightings near the many popular beaches.  Sightings of Great White sharks certainly get peoples attention, conjuring up images of giant, predatory beasts just waiting for you to go for a swim.  The reality is far different from the classic movie "Jaws" and the more you know about the subject, the more you can safely enjoy the wonderful Cape Cod beaches.
The first thing to understand is that seals are a major prey species for the great white shark, and other sharks for that matter.  The seal population has been increasing and therefore reports of great white sharks feeding on seals close to shore have also increased.  Like us, the seals enjoy the beaches too - so rule number one - stay away from the seals, especially in the water, but also on the beaches - they are protected and can be aggressive if disturbed. 
Shark attacks on people are rare on Cape Cod - the last one was in 2012 where a man was bitten on the leg while swimming several hundred feet offshore.  He survived, likely because he didn't taste like a seal.  Prior to that you have to go back to 1936 for a shark attack in Massachusetts.  So the sharks don't really care about you - its mostly about the seals.
To stay safe - keep these tips in mind when you visit the shore:
  • Do not swim, paddle or kayak anywhere near the seals.
  • Swim close to shore.
  • Read the signs and follow the posted instructions.
  • Avoid swimming alone, especially at dusk or dawn.
  • Avoid wearing shiny jewelry and unnecessary splashing.
The large population of seals and sharks is an indication of a healthy ecosystem. Respect nature, the wildlife around you and you will likely have a great experience. Now that you know a little more about the sharks on Cape Cod you are more than ready for a classic 'day at the beach'! 
Be sure to visit our Cape Cod Beach Guide!