Dun dun, dun dun…a dorsal fin breaching the ocean can strike fear in beach goers, and given the recent news of Long Island shark sightings you can never be too sure who is going to stop by and say hello. You can’t blame them for loving Long Island beaches; it draws everyone from city dwellers to celebs to our hometowns each year. In honor of Shark Week and beach season, I put together a list of some of our favorite visitors from the last few years.
June 26, 2014
A large great white shark bumped into a fishing boat near Fire Island, about 15 miles off the shore. It came on the fins of two other shark sightings in the Tri-State area that week (Cape May and Rockaway Beach). Fun fact: a number of great whites are very curious and often swim up to ships while checking out their surroundings.
May 12, 2015
Also wanting to get a taste of the Fire Island scene, 16-foot great white shark Mary Lee pinged off the coast of Robert Moses State Park. Mary Lee is about 20-40 years old, weighs 3,500 pounds and has 98,000 Twitter followers.
July 2, 2015
Beach goers found a shark exploring the ambiguous currents of the Atlantic 80 yards from Overlook Beach in Babylon. Swimmers were told to get out of the water and the beach stayed closed until the next day.
July 7, 2015
When someone reported a shark off Jones Beach, the ocean was off limits to swimmers for 90 minutes. Experts believe they have been visiting because of the food supply in our warming waters this time of year. Appropriately, this Long Island shark sighting came just in time for Shark Week 2015.
July 23, 2015
Sharks really dug us last year, didn’t they? Swimmers cleared the water when two 6-foot sharks were spotted swimming about 15 feet from the shore at Tobay Beach. They were heading east in the water toward Gilgo Beach in Suffolk County.
May 13, 2016
Mary Lee liked what she saw on Long Island last year, so she got a little closer in 2016. OCREACH tracked her four miles off East Hampton, the closest she ever came to the Long Island shores. Perhaps she was hoping to spot a celeb or two, though she’s one in her own right on the Internet. Researchers from OCEARCH, who manage her social media accounts, hope to discover clues about great white shark movement and raise awareness on controversial practices like fishing and finning by tracking and tweeting for her.