What to know when you head into the water

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CAPE COD, Mass. – The summer beach season is here and officials warn of the possibility of encounters with sharks along the New York Coast.

On Friday, Nassau County officials reported a possible shark near Jones Beach.

Extra crews that include boats, helicopters and even drones are out in what police are calling an “all hands on deck” weekend.

FOX Weather’s Nicole Valdez visited Cape Cod, a popular tourist destination and the home to the infamous movie “Jaws”, to talk to researchers about shark interactions.

The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy says they know of less than ten shark attacks around Cape Cod since 1937, and it’s because humans are not on the menu, despite what the popular movie might suggest.

But even though the numbers are low, the massive apex predators frequent the Northeast this time of year.

“We see them kind of following their own food source, the gray seal off of the coast of Cape Cod,” Maddie Porier with the Atlantic Shark Conservancy said. “So as our water heats up here off of Cape Cod, we do see those white sharks being a little bit more active close to shore.”

Porier and her team have tagged and tracked just over 200 sharks across the Atlantic Ocean.

The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy says they know of less than ten shark attacks around Cape Cod since 1937.
JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images

The nature conservancy says that there are a couple of things swimmers can do to try and avoid getting too close and personal with one of these sharks:

  • Stay close to shore where you can hear any warnings if they go out
  • Swim in groups. Don’t go out alone
  • Avoid marine life. Seals and fish that can be food for sharks
  • Avoid dark, murky water you can’t see through
  • Always pay attention to flags or signs
  • A purple flag means sharks frequent that area
  • Don’t splash around
A Great White shark jumps out of the water as it bites a fake decoy seal near False Bay, in this July 4, 2010
Even though the numbers are low, the massive apex predators frequent the Northeast this time of year.
CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/GettyImages

And most importantly, listen to the lifeguards if they warn you to get out of the water. Lifeguards get these alerts firsthand from researchers and are in charge of deciding if and what action to take, if there could be a shark nearby.

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