Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

July 27, 2021

Dan Keefe | Brian Nearing
(518) 486-1868 |

New York State Parks Initiating Additional Measures to Protect Long Island Beach-Goers from Potential Shark Interactions

Heightened Patrols and Monitoring, Public Outreach to Raise Awareness about Sharks

Due to recent shark sightings and a reported shark interaction in the Atlantic Ocean waters off of the South Shore of Long Island, the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, with assistance from New York State Police, will implement heightened patrols, including drone and helicopter monitoring along the Long Island State Park Beaches, including Jones Beach and Robert Moses State Parks.

"Long Island beaches are a crucial resource for New Yorkers in summer, and we must make sure people feel safe when visiting," State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said. "With assistance from New York State Police, we are expanding our measures to patrol for sharks and other potentially dangerous marine animals. I encourage all New Yorkers to familiarize themselves with the steps they can take to stay safe while enjoying a day at the beach."

State Parks and State Police will take the following actions:

  • Enhance lifeguard staffing
  • Increase patrols on the beach by lifeguards, Park Police and Park staff
  • Deploy Lifeguards in surfboats to patrol in the water
  • Deploy Park Police patrol boats to search in the water
  • Provide additional drone monitoring of the swimming waters New York State Police and Jones Beach Lifeguard Corp.
  • Dispatch New York State Police helicopter patrols over the South Shore waters

A lifeguard at Jones Beach State Park reported a potential interaction with a shark while in the water near Central Mall at approximately 11 a.m. on Monday. An investigation into the nature of the interaction is ongoing. Additional shark sightings have been reported at Jones Beach in the past week, including a sighting today.

State Parks continues to follow its shark alert protocols. Under these guidelines, swimming is suspended while the shoreline is inspected by drone. Swimming is only allowed to resume at least an hour after the last sighting. All sightings, including today's incident, are referred to the Long Island Coastal Awareness Group, which consists of 160 municipalities, agencies and private beach operators stretching from Queens through Long Island. State Parks created this alert system in 2018 after shark interactions off Fire Island. State Park lifeguards are continuously scanning and patrolling the waters and are on the lookout for any dangerous marine life, such as sharks.

To minimize the risk of shark interactions, the state Department of Environmental Conservation advises the following shark safety tips:

  • Avoid areas with seals.
  • Avoid areas with schools of bait fish, often characterized by fish splashing on the surface, diving sea birds, or the presence of marine mammals such as dolphins.
  • Avoid areas where people are fishing.
  • Avoid swimming in the ocean at dusk, dawn, or night time.
  • Avoid murky water. Avoid isolation. Swim, paddle, kayak, and surf in groups.
  • Swim close to shore, where your feet can touch the bottom.
  • Always follow instructions of lifeguards and parks staff.
  • Adhere to all signage at beaches.

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 individual parks, historic sites, recreational trails and boat launches, which were visited by a record 78 million people in 2020. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit, connect on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter. The free New York State Parks Explorer mobile app is available for iOS and Android devices. To download, visit: Google Play Store, NY State Parks Explorer App or Apple Store, NY State Parks Explorer App