Another Long Island shark sighting today; swimming restricted at LI's Tobay Beach

Jones Beach
Photo credit Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
By 1010 WINS

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- A shark was spotted at Tobay Beach in the Town of Oyster Bay on Thursday afternoon, prompting officials to temporarily restrict swimming, a spokeswoman for the town said.

The Tobay Beach sighting, which happened around 3 p.m. on Thursday, was one of several shark sightings that have taken place on Long Island this past week.

The Town of Hempstead temporarily restricted swimming Wednesday afternoon after a shark was spotted off its coastline, officials said.

A shark was also sighted off of Nickerson Beach on Wednesday afternoon, authorities said. 

On Wednesday morning, Nassau County executive Laura Curran said police in helicopters would start patrolling the county's beaches for sharks. Curran reported several confirmed shark sightings on Monday and Tuesday, including one sighting at Jones Beach, a few miles from Nickerson Beach. 

The helicopter patrols will “keep an eye out for anything potentially lurking under the water,” Curran said at a news conference Wednesday morning. 

“If anything is spotted coming too close to shore or displaying erratic or aggressive behavior, our pilots will immediately get that information to all area beaches and lifeguards, no matter what jurisdiction,” she said. The county’s lifeguards have also been trained to spot sharks, and will be monitoring the water closely, she noted.  

One of the sharks spotted was reported to be a bull shark, but Curran on Wednesday said she couldn’t confirm that. Beachgoers who still wish to swim should “take a quick dip” and “please don’t go further than your waist into the water,” she said. 

Curran also advised beachgoers not to swim alone — especially at dawn or dusk, which is “prime food hunting time for sharks.” Swimmers should also refrain from wearing shiny jewelry, she said.  

“If it’s glinting in the water, they can mistake that for the scales of a fish,” she explained. “This is the water. This is the home of marine life. This is where they live. And we also have to remind everyone that most sharks are not looking for trouble."

Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder, who joined Curran at the news conference, said shark attacks are rare, but warned swimmers to take precautions and heed beach rules and regulations regardless.

“We’ve had 12 attacks in the water since 1837. That’s not a lot, but just one causes panic,” he said. 

“Just use some common sense,” he added. “Stay close to the shoreline right now while it’s warm, and we’ll see how this all plays out.”