Swimmers Rush Out of Water After Coogee Beach Shark Sighting

Shark sighting
Photo credit: Google Street View

Beachgoers’ day at the shore was abruptly cut short Sunday morning, January 7, after lifeguards at Coogee beach scrambled to clear swimmers out of the water due to a shark sighting.

Read: Universities Urge International Students to Dive into Swim Programs

Around 8:30 a.m., the alarm sounded and lifeguards cleared all swimmers from the water. After conducting safety checks, the beach was reopened by 9:00 a.m.

One beachgoer said the sighting was “pretty frightening,” noting the beach was busy at the time due to the good weather. Locals took to social media to discuss the shark, with some describing it as “quite big.”

Photo credit: Google Street View

Coogee beach has both shark nets and a SMART drumline offshore as part of the NSW Shark Management Strategy. 

SMART drumlines are a type of shark management system. ‘SMART’ stands for Shark-Management-Alert-In-RealTime. They are made up of an anchor, two buoys, and a GPS unit connected to a satellite. A baited hook is attached to the drumline.

When a shark takes the bait, it pulls on the line. This causes a magnet on the GPS unit to be released. The released magnet sends an alert to a response team. 

Shark sighting
Photo credit: Google Street View

However, the nets and drumlines did not deter the shark from approaching the beach Sunday morning.

This latest sighting comes just weeks after recent deadly shark attacks in South Australia and a serious attack at Port Macquarie in NSW last August.

This summer marks the second season SMART drumlines, drones, and tagged shark listening stations have been deployed at Sydney beaches in addition to the long-standing shark nets. However, these measures did not prevent Sunday’s close encounter at Coogee.

Read: Community Gathers in Coogee to Raise Awareness and Fight Melanoma

Authorities continue to monitor the area for further shark activity. They are working to ensure the safety of the public whilst also protecting marine wildlife, as sharks are a regular occurrence along Australia’s coastlines. Through improved monitoring and technology like the SMART drumlines, they hope to achieve a responsible balance for both beachgoers and local shark populations in the area. 

Published 8-January-2024