You Won’t Believe How Many Great White Sharks a Drone Sees Off Shore of California Beach

Within 10 minutes of launching its new shark-hunting drone, lifeguards at a California beach stumble upon a number of great white sharks just off the shoreline.

It seems sharks keep getting closer to the shores of crowded public beaches. Two teenagers recently lost limbs in different shark attacks separated by only 90 minutes on the same beach in North Carolina.

More beaches are turning to drones to better track sharks in real time, including Seal Beach in California. Seal Beach lifeguards recently began using a $1400 drone to monitor its growing great white shark population, and you won’t believe how many sharks are just feet from the shoreline (watch the video below).

“This morning, we launched it and 10 minutes later, we knew there were 10-12 sharks all in the Surfside [Beach] area,” Chief Joe Bailey, a Seal Beach lifeguard, tells CBS Los Angeles. “It works great. It flies up about 100 feet, looks down a wide area, and when we see the shadows, we’ll go down and focus in on them.”

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Within minutes, Seal Beach lifeguards can see 5- to 6-foot great white sharks up close without having to go into the water. On Monday, June 15, the drone recorded video of a juvenile great white in waist-high water. Thankfully, there were no swimmers in the water.

Lifeguards and police use the drone footage to determine a shark’s size and aggression level, information needed to determine whether to close a beach or keep it open.

“If we get bigger sharks or we get sharks that are aggressive, we’re actually going to close the water, Bailey says. “But right now, we have sharks that are 5- to 6-feet long, non-aggressive, acting like normal sharks, feeding on bottom fish, doing exactly what we would expect them to do. That’s why we have it posted just to let people know that they are there.”

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But some locals aren’t taking any chances.

“I was planning on going surfing tomorrow and definitely not now,” one woman says, while another says, “Sharks are kind of like my biggest fear so that’s like very daunting for me.”

About the Author

Steve Crowe · Steve Crowe is managing editor of Robotics Trends. Steve has been writing about technology since 2008. He lives in Belchertown, MA with his wife and daughter.
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