Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Swimmers Ordered Out Of Water After Cocoa Beach Shark Sighting

Beachgoers stand at the water's edge to look for the shark that caused lifeguards to order swimmers out of the ocean off Cocoa Beach, Florida on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Molly Schneider.
COCOA BEACH, Florida - Swimmers were temporarily ordered out of the Atlantic Ocean by Brevard County Ocean Rescue lifeguards along a stretch of beach in north Cocoa Beach Tuesday afternoon.

The shark sighting occurred between Shepard Park and the Cocoa Beach Pier around 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 7, 2015. After about an hour, beachgoers were allowed back into the water.  However, lifeguards continued to fly a purple stand at their lifeguard stations which indicated the presence of dangerous marine life.

Three stretches of beach measuring 100 yards north and south of three lifeguard towers were closed for about 30 minutes and then re-opened as the shark swam by. Brevard County Ocean Rescue Chief Jeffrey Scarabozi wrote in an email to Brevard Times that the type of shark was unknown.

There have been several shark bites off east Central Florida since Memorial Day.  According to the International Shark Attack File (ISAF) 2014 Worldwide Shark Attack Summary, Florida ranks #1 in the number of unprovoked shark bites. Within the Sunshine State, Volusia County ranks number 1 and Brevard County, which covers Cocoa Beach, ranks number 2.

Bull sharks and Blacktip sharks around 4-5 feet long have either been spotted or caught near-shore within the last month off Cocoa Beach, Florida, along with smaller Bonnethead sharks which resemble Hammerhead sharks. 

Signs of sharks in the water: In addition to spotting the telltale shark fins, fish jumping out of water or sea birds hovering at the surface of the water could indicate the presence of feeding sharks. Swim near a lifeguard area (their elevated position on a lifeguard tower is better for shark spotting) and pay attention to warning flags.


A purple flag, which indicates dangerous marine life, continued to fly at a Cocoa Beach lifeguard stand after a shark was spotted Tuesday afternoon. Photo Credit: Brevard Times