With a beautiful Fourth of July weekend almost upon us, thousands of New Yorkers and tourists are expected to turn out at the beaches -- just keep an eye out for sharks.
The Coast Guard has declared a shark advisory in Tri-State area waters, particularly for boaters and paddlers, after a seven-foot great white shark was spotted off the coast of Massachusetts last week.
The warning is for the waters from New Jersey to Maine.
"Predation is not generally a concern for boaters and paddlers in the Northeast waters," said Coast Guard recreational boating specialist Al Johnson.
"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," he continued.
Higher populations of seals are expected to bring dangerous sharks to the area, the Coast Guard says. Last year several sharks were spotted off of Cape Cod, where seals are particularly numerous.
Beachgoers, particularly paddlers or kayakers, should stay away from any seal pods, the Coast Guard advises. And -- we know it's hard--but avoid the temptation to approach sharks, too, please.
"I can also imagine the excitement most boaters and paddlers would have if they visually encountered a shark on our waters," said Johnson. "However, things can and do go wrong on the water, and since a close encounter could easily have tragic consequences, I recommend an extreme degree of caution."
Shark fatalities are extremely rare -- but who hasn't had that nightmare, right? However, Secretary of Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles said he does not foresee any beach closings.
So there's no reason not to head to the beach this weekend. But if you see an ominous fin -- or hear the Jaws theme start to play -- get out of the water as fast as you can.