This new app will let Cape Cod beachgoers know if there is a shark swimming nearby

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New App Helps Public Track Sharks Off Cape Cod



Great whites have been swimming near the coast of Cape Cod every summer since 2009. But this year, residents can use an app to track where these large sharks have been spotted.

The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy launched the app "Sharktivity" on July 1. It can be downloaded for free on iPhones. The app notifies beach goers when a shark has been spotted nearby. People can also report their own shark spottings to the app.

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The president of the conservancy said the app can be used to raise public awareness and can function as a beach patrol alert.

This summer, the first great white shark of this season was tagged on June 17 off the coast of Chatham, Massachusetts. The second shark was seen on June 20 off Nauset Beach. And, if last year is any indication, the citizens of Cape Cod should expect to see more great whites as the summer progresses.

The sharks often hunt off the coast of Cape Cod because of the area's large seal population. Last year, beaches were closed several times last season because groups of sharks were repeatedly seen approaching the shore.

But beachgoers shouldn't worry too much. According to the Florida Museum of Natural History, sharks killed only six people in 2015.

To help stave off any lurking fears you may have, though, Discovery Channel and NOAA Fisheries Service offer some helpful tips to avoid being attacked by a shark:

  • Swim in groups. Sharks are more likely to attack people swimming alone.
  • Avoid swimming at dawn and dusk, when sharks usually feed.
  • Don't enter the water with any kind of open cut.
  • Take off shiny jewelry before swimming. Jewelry looks like fish scales in the water, and it is more likely to attract sharks.
  • Try not to splash. Sharks may mistake all this splashing for an injured prey (in other words, an easy meal).

While it's easy to be afraid of sharks if you've seen Steven Spielberg's 1975 thriller "Jaws," swimmers really don't have too much to worry about. And "Sharktivity" will let you know if there is a shark nearby.

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