In recent years, there have been an increased shark sightings in the California ocean waters, including San Diego County. We have developed this site to provide the public with information about ocean safety. The City has taken measures to increase staff’s knowledge about these increased sightings and to provide an educational platform for the public. 

Several measures have been implemented in partnership with other lifeguard agencies and professionals in the field of marine wildlife. Below are a few of the measures that the City is currently following.

Shark Policy

Regional lifeguard agencies have developed a shark policy (Policy) with the assistance of Dr. Chris Lowe from the California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) Shark Lab. The Shark Lab has been monitoring shark activity since 1966 and Dr. Lowe is an expert in the field. He continues to be a valuable resource to the City of Encinitas.

Lifeguard personnel across the region use the Policy as a guideline and implement similar procedures when responding to any sightings or aggressive behavior as noted below.

  1. Unconfirmed shark sightings are reports typically from a single individual without any supporting evidence or sightings by another party.
    Actions Taken:  Lifeguards continue to monitor the area and determine if other sources can confirm or deny the reported sighting. 
  2. Confirmed shark sightings are reports from an individual that is confirmed by multiple individuals, a lifeguard or other City representative. 
    Actions Taken: Lifeguards post the beach area up to one mile in each direction of the sighting with advisory signs indicating that a shark has been sighted. Lifeguards continue to monitor the area and the posted signs remain in place until the area is re-evaluated the following morning. If additional shark sightings are confirmed the next day, the advisory signs remain in place until the area is re-evaluated the following morning. This process will continue until the shark is no longer seen in the area.
  3. Non-fatal shark incidents are when a shark is reported as having aggressive behavior (bumping, circling, rushing) near swimmers or when it causes an injury to a person. 
    Actions Taken: Lifeguards clear the ocean waters and post signs one mile in each direction for up to 24 hours. Lifeguards continue to monitor the area and re-evaluate the situation to determine when to open the areas.
  4. Fatal shark incidents are when a shark has caused the death of a person.
    Actions Taken: Lifeguards clear the ocean waters and post signs one mile in each direction for up to 48 hours. Lifeguards continue to monitor the area and re-evaluate the situation to determine when to open the areas.

Resources