If the rip currents don’t get you, the sharks will.
City officials closed all of Rockaway’s beaches to swimming on Tuesday, following “multiple shark sightings” in near-shore waters. That followed a warning about rip currents forming off the Atlantic coast.
A Parks Department spokesperson could not immediately provide additional information, including the number of shark sightings.
But a city lifeguard told Gothamist that there were at least two reports of shark activity: on Beach 67th Street by a surfer, who said the animal bumped into his board, as well on 102nd Street by another lifeguard. It did not appear that anyone was bitten.
“Rockaway Beach is currently closed for swimming after multiple shark sightings today,” said Parks spokesperson, Dan Kastanis, in an email. “NYPD Aviation is currently doing aerial surveillance, and we will reopen the beach when it is safe to do so.”
The closure comes amid a spate of shark sightings in the region. At least five people have been bitten off of Long Island so far this season, an alarming uptick over previous years, according to officials.
The eastern stretch of Rockaway also experienced a brief closure on Sunday as a result of shark activity – the first such closure of the season.
Some experts have suggested that warmer waters tied to climate change could be a cause of the increased sightings, as well as shark repopulation efforts and cleaner waters around New York.
Earlier this week, Gov. Kathy Hochul said the state would expand its shark patrol capacity, including deploying more boats, drones and helicopters to monitor the predators.
Those seeking a reprieve from the heat should take extra caution: in addition to local sharks, the National Weather Service warns of life-threatening rip currents through Tuesday evening.