COCOA BEACH, Florida – Brevard County Ocean Rescue lifeguards temporarily ordered swimmers out of the water along a stretch of beach in Cocoa Beach, Florida after sharks were sighted swimming in nearby.
On Wednesday, April 17, 2019, sharks were spotted out in the Atlantic Ocean chasing a school of bait fish off of Shepard Park.
This beach is popular with tourists because is it is located at the end of State Road 520 (Cocoa Beach Causeway) and is just two blocks away from Ron Jon Surf Shop.
Shepard Park had more than usual visitors today because the beach at the nearby Cocoa Beach Pier is closed due to beach restoration.
The swimmers were ordered out of the water from approximately 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Historically, shark attack numbers begin spike in April coinciding with increased shark and human activity during springtime.
COCOA BEACH SHARKS:
Blacktip sharks 2 to 5-feet-long are present in the surf zone and shallow waters. Blacktip sharks (Carcharhinus limbatus) 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.
Bull sharks (Carcharhinus brevipinna) are responsible for most of the fatal shark attacks in Florida. They are common along the east coast of Florida and juvenile bull sharks frequent the coast from Palm Beach, Florida to Daytona Beach, Florida. That’s because of 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.
Spinner sharks 6 to 8-feet-long are present off of Cocoa Beach, primarily around, and just beyond, the wave break. Spinner sharks (Carcharhinus brevipinna) can grow up to 9 feet long and have a unique feeding technique of leaping into the air while spinning.
Small Bonnethead sharks (also known as Shovelhead sharks) 2 to 3-feet-long that resemble Hammerhead sharks are present in the surf zone.
How to avoid being bitten by a shark:
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.
Always swim near a lifeguard area (their elevated position on a lifeguard tower is better for shark spotting) and pay attention to warning flags.
Brevard Times reports on shark attacks, shark bites, and shark sightings in Cocoa Beach sooner than any other local media source.