Guidelines for visitors to Cape Cod beach regarding shark and seal safety this summer

the Cape Cod National Coast expects 4 million visitors to come to its beaches, ride its bike paths and hike its hiking trails this summer.

The number of visitors coming to the upper, middle and lower cape is more difficult to assess. But some estimates range from 1 to 2 million more people.

We have compiled a list of safety considerations for those visiting Cape Town beaches. This includes information relating to gray seals and white sharks, two of Cape Town’s most famous and sought after marine animals.

Shark Warning:Ocean Safety Group demonstrates excellent white shark warning system at Wellfleet

A gray seal, with its distinct horse-head shape, off Jeremy Point in Wellfleet last year.

What to Know About Cape Gray Seals

Gray seals are plentiful in Cape Town waters. They can be up to 10 feet long and weigh between 550 and 880 pounds. They are expert and intelligent fishermen! They often follow fishing boats out to sea and have stolen fish on hooks and nets. They favor the fish quays where they can eat.

Do not approach them on land. They are protected by the federal government.

Avoid areas where seals are present. They are the favorite meal of white sharks. Both seals and sharks are present in Cape Town waters all year round, with peak activity in the fall.

Once you dip your toes in the water, you enter an alien place where a host of creatures live and roam. Know the water conditions before entering. Do not go into water where there is a rip current or where the water is cloudy.

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Watch out for Cape sharks

Be aware that sharks are in shallow waters seal hunting.

Stay close to shore where lifeguards can reach you.

Avoid areas where schools of fish are visible.

Avoid murky and low-visibility waters.

Limit splashes.

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Neptune is one of 10 great white sharks tagged by researchers with a CATS tag temporarily attached to a dorsal fin, seen in this 2021 file photo.

Do not swim, paddle board, kayak, surf or windsurf alone. Do such activities with a group.

Pay attention to all signs regarding weather and wind conditions, shark sightings and tides. Follow the instructions of the lifeguards.

Know the location of stop-the-bleed kits. Such kits can be useful in stemming blood loss in the event of a shark bite.

Do not go in the water if sharks are present. Get out of the water quickly if you see one and alert lifeguards or beach authorities. Do not provoke or harass a shark. They are protected by the federal government.

Contact Denise Coffey at [email protected]

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