Florida sheriff warns of danger with video of shark-infested waters off Gulf beach

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — As temperatures rise in Gulf coast waters, shark sightings are on the rise.

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A Florida sheriff’s office, mindful of the many residents and tourists who will be flocking to the beaches, had words of caution -- be careful.

The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office’s Aviation Unit spotted what appeared to be dozens of sharks swimming near the Anclote sandbar and Anclote Island near Tarpon Springs earlier this week, WFLA-TV reported.

“A day in the water is a fun way to beat our Florida heat, but it’s important to be aware of the dangers below the water as well as above,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a Facebook post that featured a video from a helicopter that showed the sharks swimming in the water.

The sharks in the video are likely blacktip sharks, WTVJ reported.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s website, blacktip sharks typically can grow up to nearly 6 1/2 feet in length.

Blacktips are common in Florida’s coastal waters, bays and estuaries, and often travel near the shore in large schools, particularly when hunting Spanish mackerel, the FWC said.

Since May is National Water Safety Month, deputies said swimmers should:

  • Be cautious of your surroundings.
  • Learn to swim and always swim with a friend.
  • Keep a fully charged phone and first aid kit nearby for emergencies.
  • Never leave children unattended in or near water.