Monday, August 7, 2017

Cocoa Beach Shark Report August 2017

COCOA BEACH, Florida - Large sharks sightings in the Atlantic Ocean waters near Cocoa Beach, Florida have decreased in the last half of July and first week of August.

SHARKS: Below Average Large Shark Activity

Large shark sightings have decreased during the first half of July 2017. The last time the beach was cleared by lifeguards for a substantial amount of time occurred on July 22, 2017.

A 6-foot-long blacktip shark was swimming in water so shallow that it cut off children from the shoreline just south of Lori Wilson Park on June 17, 2017.

Blacktip sharks (Carcharhinus limbatus) 2 to 6-feet-long remain present in the surf zone and shallow waters. Blacktip sharks, although less fatal, are the number one species responsible for biting humans along the U.S. East Coast. The shark has black tips on its pectoral fins and grows to no more than about six feet. Blacktip sharks can swim in just inches of water where toddlers often play.

An adult sea turtle that was bitten in half by one large shark bite washed ashore near Lori Wilson Park on June 13, 2017 which indicates the presence of large Tiger or Great White sharks just offshore of Cocoa Beach, Florida.

Tiger sharks(Galeocerdo cuvier) should be cruising beyond the wave break due to sea turtle nesting season. Sea turtles are among Tiger sharks' favorite foods and Brevard County is home to around 25,000 sea turtle nests every year. Tiger sharks often reach 11 feet in length and weigh around 1,000 pounds.

During Memorial Day weekend, a 12-foot Great White shark was seen swimming a few miles off-shore of nearby Port Canaveral, Florida.

On May 15, 2017, a 6-to-7 foot bull shark was spotted less than 20 feet from shore near Cherie Down Park in Cape Canaveral, Florida around noon. The shark was heading south towards Cocoa Beach, Florida, according to Alicia Murphy, who took the above photo of the shark as a wave crested.

As pictured at the top of this article, bull sharks like to cruise the waters in late May and early June around the nearshore wave break off of Brevard County where tweens like to boogie board and wade.

So it is no surprise that the last severe bull shark attack happened to a 12-year-old boy in chest-deep water off of Lori Wilson Park in Cocoa Beach in late May 2016.

In addition to the great white shark and tiger shark, bull sharks are considered one of the "big three" shark species by the International Shark Attack File that inflict serious injuries or death to humans.

Bull sharks are common along the east coast of Florida because the Indian River Lagoon, which extends along Florida's east coast from southern Volusia County to Palm Beach County, is an important nursery habitat for baby bull sharks. When fully grown, bull sharks reach 7 to 11 feet in length and weigh between 200 and 300 pounds.

A 10-foot great hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran) was caught on May 15 off of Indialantic, Florida, about 26 miles south of Cocoa Beach. Additional Great Hammerheads have been caught in the same area in June and July. Great hammerheads feed on smaller blacktip sharks and can grow up to 20-feet in length and weigh over 1,000 pounds, but typically average around 11-feet long and weigh 500 pounds.

Spinner sharks(Carcharhinus brevipinna) 5 to 6-feet-long are present off of Cocoa Beach primarily beyond the wave break. Spinner sharks can grow up to 9 feet long and have a unique feeding technique of leaping into the air while spinning.

JELLYFISH:Barely Present

Recent winds have been blowing jellyfish and Portuguese Man-of-War away from the popular tourist beaches (technically, Portuguese Man-of-War aren't jellyfish but are instead a colony of small organisms called Siphonophorae).


Water: Slightly clouded.

Seaweed: Sargassum seaweed is not present along Brevard County beaches or in the water.

Winds: From the southeast at 5-10 mph.

Near-shore Current: Slowly moving north.

Breaking Waves: 1-3 ft. with a slight chop.

Rip Current Threat: Moderate.

UV Index: 11 (High)

Beach Temps: Water: 87F  Air: H 91F   L 80F

Cape Canaveral Buoy: 3.0 ft. swell every 6 seconds.


Monday August 7
H 8:08 a.m.  L 2:04 p.m.

Tuesday August 8
H 8:52 a.m.  L 2:46 p.m.

Wednesday August 9
H 9:34 a.m.  L 3:27 p.m.

Thursday August 10
H 10:18 a.m.  L 4:11 p.m.

Friday August 11
H 11:05 a.m. L 5:02 p.m.