Atlantic White Shark Conservancy Urges Beachgoers to Be Shark Smart

Know the risks and exercise caution...
Shark and paddleboarder (Wayne Davis/AWSC photo)

(Chatham, MA) --  As we enter the peak of summer and swimmers flock to our local beaches, the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy (AWSC) reminds beachgoers to know the risks and exercise caution.  Great white sharks prey upon seals in the coastal waters off Cape Cod and the South Shore, and while encounters with humans are rare, they can happen.

“The regional shark working group, which includes representatives from local towns, The Cape Cod National Seashore, The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries and the AWSC, works to educate the public about great white sharks and the risks associated with their presence off our shore, “said Cynthia Wigren, AWSC President.  “Through signage at beaches, flag warning systems, educational brochures, newsletters and Social Media, we encourage beachgoers to take precautionary measures to improve their safety.”

In collaboration with the shark working group, the AWSC launched a “Sharktivity” App in 2016, which is free for iPhone and Android users.  The app provides information about shark sightings and detections. App users can also report their own sightings through the platform. However, the App is not inclusive of all of the sharks in the water and should never be considered a guarantee that a shark is not present.

“At the AWSC, our goal is to support great white shark research and share that knowledge to improve public safety and peaceful coexistence,” said Wigren. “We understand that people want to swim and recreate at our beautiful beaches.  We just urge cautionary measures to reduce the chance of an encounter.”

Shark Safety Tips

  • Do not swim near seals
  • Swim close to shore, where your feet can touch the bottom
  • Swim, paddle, kayak, and surf in groups
  • Do not swim alone in the ocean at dawn or dusk
  • Avoid isolation
  • Limit splashing and do not wear shiny jewelry, which can look like fish scales to a shark
  • Keep your distance (at least 150 feet) from seals, whether they are resting on land or are in the water. It is against the law to disturb them.
  • Adhere to all signage at beaches where seals are resting
  • Follow instructions of lifeguards
  • Become familiar with the beach flag warning system
  • Take time to read signage at the beaches
  • Download the Sharktivity App to receive alerts and report sightings

For more information, visit or visit the AWSC at The Chatham Shark Center, 235 Orleans Road, Chatham, MA.

Shark Safety Resources:

Downloadable PDF of Safety Brochure:

Safety Tips on AWSC Website: welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on