MYFOXNY.COM – The U.S. Coast Guard is warning boaters in the Northeast to watch out for sharks. Authorities have confirmed the presence of great white sharks off the coast of Massachusetts, but the Coast Guard has issued a shark advisory for the entire Northeast coast.
“Predation is not generally a concern for boaters and paddlers in Northeast waters,” said Al Johnson, of the First Coast Guard District, based in Boston. “But I have no doubt that a great white shark that swims into your comfort zone would surely find a splashing paddle or dangling hand inviting. I also expect that same passing shark would spend little time differentiating between boater, paddler and prey.”
In recent years, sharks seen off the New England coast have been between 6 and 15 feet long. These sharks can capsize a small boat or kayak, the Coast Guard said.
Sharks are attracted to the area by the growing seal population, the Coast Guard said. Shark attacks on humans in the Northeast are rare, but Johnson advises boaters and paddlers to avoid areas where seals are spotted.
“Simply put, why take a chance,” Johnson said. “The presence of sharks in our waters creates a risk and positively assessing that risk and staying alert is part of being a responsible and prudent mariner.”
The Coast Guard says a captured shark bit a fisherman as he tried to remove a hook from its mouth on a boat off Long Island.
The incident happened about 25 miles south of Shinnecock Inlet.
The 20-year-old fisherman was trying to remove the hook from the blue shark’s mouth when it bit him on his right bicep.
A Coast Guard rescue crew escorted the man back to shore, where he was treated by paramedics. His name wasn’t released.
The Coast Guard is also reminding recreational boaters to be safe on the water by following these important tips:
- Always wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket, especially on children and weak swimmers;
- Be aware of weather and water conditions;
- Never boat or paddle alone – file a float plan to let others know where you are going;
- Be cautious – do not exceed your ability to handle your vessel;
- Know that alcohol and drugs contribute to accidents and,
- Be constantly aware of other vessels in the immediate area.
- Carry a marine VHF radio