Dozens of sharks were seen migrating in waters off Deerfield Beach on Thursday, and parts of the beach were shut down for part of the day. Ocean Rescue Capt. Mike Brown and beachgoers Kenny White and Elianie Goncalves talked about it.
Several beaches along South Florida's coastline were closed after thousands of sharks were seen migrating in the waters.
Dozens of sharks were seen migrating in waters off Deerfield Beach on Thursday, and parts of the beach were shut down for part of the day. Ocean Rescue Capt. Mike Brown broke the news to beachgoers.
"Some people were grateful, 'thank you, I can't believe. Oh my God, there're sharks out there?'" he said. "And then, others' reactions were like, 'I want to go swimming, there are no sharks out there.'"
The sharks were a mix of blacktips and spinners, Brown said. Lifeguards raised red flags around 11 a.m., forcing beachgoers ashore. They were allowed back by the afternoon, but warned to be cautious.
"Someone out there in the water splashing around, they're splashing around, drawing attention to themselves, it attracts the sharks," Brown said. "They think it's an easy meal, something in distress."
Sharks have been migrating from Boca Raton to Jupiter since the beginning of March, according to marine biologists.
Biologists said the sharks are going north after migrating to the south for the winter.
"These schools can be thousands, or tens of thousands of individuals, so they're big schools of sharks; but they're not huge sharks," said Dr. Mike Heithaus, a marine scientist at Florida International University. "They're maybe five, five and a half feet."
The sharks swim along the beach for safety, he said.
"The reason we see them in this area is because there's a really narrow band between the coast and the really deep water, where they don't want to be. So, they all get packed into one area," Heithaus said.
Lifeguards at Midtown Beach saw spinner sharks in the waters and put up red flags to tell beachgoers they couldn't enter the water.
"It's dangerous. It's not what you would expect. Families come out here to enjoy the weather, beach, and sand, but now they can't.They have to travel a little bit further than they should," said beachgoer Guirlene Exantus.
Doctors at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach told WPTV that they see about five to six shark bite victims annually. These bites are usually minor, but can put the victim at risk for infections.
Swimmers are advised to swim close at beaches with lifeguards and take jewelry off before getting in the water as experts say sharks are attracted to silver, yellow and gold.
Tourist Tori Bradshaw just arrived in South Florida from her home state of Washington.
"Well, we don't have sharks in Washington," she said "I really wanted to go swimming."
"If there are sharks, you aren't going to find me in there, haha. Only in Las Vegas," said Burt Abrams, visiting from Cleveland, Ohio.
They've actually enjoyed being in the water on the their vacation and were surprised to hear they may have not been swimming alone.
"The water has been beautiful. It's been warm. I don't think they come in this shallow, but I'm not going to test it," Bernice Abrams said.