Sharks in Cocoa Beach, Florida: Everything You Need to Know

“Robert Thomas and her family were vacationing on Cocoa Beach, Friday when they spotted the sharks”.

“My family and I did not see the shark at all”, said Karen Miller. We were swimming and enjoying the water of Cocoa Beach and it just came, and attacked me”

Sharks in Cocoa Beach, Florida

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“Giant shark terrorizes swimmers in Florida”

“17 years boy, Albert shares the story of a shark attack while enjoying the water at Cocoa Beach with friends”

“A shark attacked in Cocoa Beach, Florida left a 13 years old girl injured on Monday” – reported by Fox 35 Orlando

Okay, the names may not match the exact victims, but tell me the truth, haven’t you noticed these headlines on news channels and newspapers in the USA?

WTVC, WFTV9, or 7NEWS, the popular channels, and newspapers often cover stories related to shark incidents in Florida, as it is everyone’s dreamy coastal state.

A few days ago, an article published by WION, an English global news platform from Zee Media, caught my attention and left me intrigued.

Are sharks off Florida coast high on cocaine? “Scientists find baffling results”. This was the headline that gave me chills!

So, to the popular questions – are there any shark attacks on record in Cocoa Beach’s history, or is a shark in Florida beaches? The answer is – yes, yes, and yes!

So, let me share all the information I have about sharks in Cocoa Beach, Florida so that you can have fun in safety.

What to Know Before Visiting Beaches with the Most Shark Attacks in Florida?

Florida is a majestic water paradise, with the view of white sandy beaches with clear water, stunning cypress groves, Spanish moss, sinkholes, sunset spots, and endless food options.

I know the Sunshine State has haters too, and they’ve their personal reasons but for me, Florida is the perfect powdery coastline spot in America. You can read the pros and cons of living in Florida.

Florida is about shady streets, colorful downtowns, sand dunes, tide pools, gulf breeze, artificial reefs, tourists, theme parks in Orlando, Space Coast, and fun! Orlando and Miami has so many things to offer to your family, know what can you do in one day in Orlando.

Cocoa Beach is the nearest coastal retreat from Orlando, Central Florida, which may not be at the top of your radar. If you love beaches, then check out the other beaches close to Orlando.

You can take the Beachline Expressway toll road to reach this sandy shore. No way, you can skip Cocoa Beach Pier, Cocoa Village, or Lori Wilson Park. The fishing pier here is one of the best fishing piers in the Sunshine State.

However, it is one of the tourist places in Florida but not as touristy as Daytona Beach or Miami Beach. Cocoa Beach is one of the incredible beach towns of Florida where you can build your home on a budget.

A few miles away from the beach access point you can lie down under the umbrellas on the golden sand enjoying the air and sun. Also, do you know Cocoa Beach is one of the great party destinations among youngsters in Florida?

But, but, swimmers and beachgoers need to be cautious of sharks and riptides. Both of these two things are dangerous.

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Yes, you’ll find 2 – 4 feet long sharks beautifully, swimming on the glistening ocean. Believe me, there are an “unfathomable number of sharks”. You’ll understand once what I mean by that!

Thousands of sharks migrate through Brevard, along Florida’s east coast, with ample pit stops along the way. Cocoa Beach thrives within Brevard County. 

After Volusia County, (Daytona Beach and New Smyrna Beach area), Brevard County, recorded 155 shark attacks, ranking second in Florida for the highest number of shark attacks.

The Indian River Lagoon serves as crucial habitat for nurturing sharks living. Being a Floridian, I’m telling you to avoid taking a dip in the water during springtime. You should read my blog on – Things to know before moving to Florida‘ so that it will be easy for you to understand what to expect and what not to expect.

As the study asserted that during this time of the year (July, August, September, and October), blacktip sharks, spinner, and bull sharks can be spotted very frequently.

shark in cocoa beach
Shark in Cocoa Beach

How Many Sharks in Florida Beaches?

Kaijura and colleague Shari Tellman, in their journal article – “Quantification of Massive Seasonal Aggregations of Blacktip Shark in Southeast Florida” reported that over 29 square miles, a maximum of 12,128 Blacktip sharks can be spotted. 

In 2016, the world recorded a total of 81 shark bites, a decline from 2015 which recorded 98 shark bites. In 2022, Florida recorded 16 attacks.

Notably, Florida continued to top the list with 32 out of the 53 reported bites in American waters. Among these incidents, nearly half took place in Volusia County.

As a precautionary measure, I recommend the swimmers staying in groups and refrain from venturing too far from the shore. 

Additionally, I recommend avoiding swimming during periods of darkness and twilight. Furthermore, in areas where fishing is active, try to avoid dipping those places.

These safety guidelines aim to reduce the risk of shark encounters and enrich the excellent beach experience. 

cocoa beach shark

Safest Time to Swim at Cocoa Beach to Avoid Sharks

More than knowing the safety time to swim at Cocoa Beach to avoid shark bites, it’s highly desirable to know the danger time to avoid.

Over the years, during August and September in the afternoon, the shark bites cases are high. Also, carry your GoPro while going underwater, to capture moments you’ll always cherish.

Exploring the ocean is a thrilling experience, but do you know the shark’s feeding behaviors? 

Moreover, indeed, sharks’ behavior is not like an algorithm of action it will act the same always. It is always desirable to pay attention to your surroundings.  

As per biologists and lifeguards, early morning, evening, and night are the worst time to get into the water, there are high chances of you getting bitten by a shark.

Cocoa Beach is a white sand beach with no stones or algae so if you’re getting into the water please avoid areas where there is a sharp transition from shallow water to deep water.

You might encounter sharks in those areas. Also, somehow if any part of your body has a major cut from where blood is coming out, please avoid getting into the water. 

Sharks can feel blood drop at a distance of 3 miles. You’re not only putting yourself but also other people in danger. 

Furthermore, mensuration does not increase your risk of getting bitten by a shark. Therefore, you can swim into the ocean during your periods.

Tip: Do not forget to get your beach coolers while coming to Cocoa Beach

lesser known spots for observing sharks

How to Identify Different Shark Species at Cocoa Beach?

The Sunshine State is a great place to come for shark fishing and shark spotting as there are varied types of shark species. 

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Moreover, scientists are studying the types of sharks on cocoa beaches. Here are common species that you can identify at Cocoa Beach – 

  • Lemon shark – Sharks are on average 8 – 10 feet long. But, they’re no threat to humans but can get dangerous if provoked
  • Blacktip shark – Medium-sized shark almost 5 – 6 feet long. There are high chances you’ll spot them 
  • Black nose shark – They’re yellowish grey sharks with large eyes
  • Bull shark – a high width-to-length ratio shark with dark coloration on top and light coloration on the ground
  • Bonnethead shark – You can identify this shark by looking at its eyes. It sits at the end of rounded lobes
  • Hammerhead shark – Extra tall triangular teeth sharks with mallet-shaped heads
  • Sandbar sharks – very sly sharks
  • Spinner sharks 
  • Nurse sharks – They’re not very aggressive towards humans but can cause serious harm if they bite. Their small serrated teeth are very dangerous

It is said, Florida is home to more than 15 species of sharks. You can read more about shark appearances here

5 Worst Beaches for Shark Attacks in Florida

During my childhood days, I’ve seen sharks, especially in Cocoa Beach waters. Buthere I’m telling you 5 top Florida counties where sharks are there – 

1. Volusia County

It is also called as shark bite capital of the U.S.A. I’ve seen so many scary videos and heard fearful stories about sharks reported off Daytona, New Smyrna, and Ponce inlet beach cities. 

Gavin Naylor, an esteemed director overseeing the renowned Florida Program for Shark Research at the University of Florida stated that as per the footage, hammerhead sharks do not target or are interested in swimmers or surfers. 

Most of the biting cases happen as the sharks mistaking consider hands and feet as shark feed and bait fish. The inlets of New Smyrna Beach are famous among surfers as the waves are great! So, if you’re here, be careful of your surroundings.

2. Brevard County

As per the International Shark Attack File (ISAF), the quantity of attacks encountered in Florida is always high compared to other places. Places like Melbourne, Cape Canaveral, and Merritt Island where boogie boarding is famous record high shark visibility.

3. Palm Beach County

Delray Beach, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach, and Lake Worth are places where sharks live in the ocean. I remember the case of Bert Krebs, a surfer who was bitten by a shark at West Palm Beach resulted in the loss of the tip of a little toe.

4. Duval County

According to data compiled by the ISAF, Duval County (encompassing Jacksonville Beach and Neptune Beach) ranks fifth highest in the number of shark attacks recorded in the United States. However, it is worth noting that recently, the county has not reported any major shark bite incidents.

5. Martin County

On Sunday, at Hobe Sound Beach, a young girl from Martin County experienced a shark bite, as reported by the Jupiter Island Public Safety Department. So, next time you’re coming here, be very careful!

Read Also: Is There a Pink Sand Beach in Florida?

Shark Safety Tips for Visitors at Cocoa Beach

Here, I’m lying down the precautions for surfers and swimmers regarding sharks in Cocoa Beach which will help you to enjoy more.

  • To all tourists, kiteboarders, paddle boarders, surfers, boogie boarders, swimmers, and snorkelers know that sharks love water temperature that ranges from 70 to 77 degrees
  • Dipping into the ocean during periods of darkness and twilight must be avoided. Always make sure with the lifeguards or local authorities about the warnings and conditions 
  • Swimmers stay in groups and refrain from venturing too far from the shore. Sandbars or steep drops –offs look so beautiful, but please try to avoid these places because these are hiding spots for sharks. 
  • Avoid areas where fishing takes place. Also, murky waters are better to be avoided because sharks might stay nearby
  • Be very cautious while swimming, once you spot them, just gets back to the shore without shouting, peacefully and quietly. Never try to chase sharks because if they chase you around, you’re sure to die!
  • Don’t be in one place for very long, try to change your location and spot frequently
sharks in Cocoa Beach
Picture – The Times

Family-Friendly Activities to Learn about Sharks in Cocoa Beach

For an extraordinary angling experience, anglers of all ages can opt for Shark Fishing Cocoa Beach, which promises an adventure like no other. 

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Participants will have the opportunity to board their premium Stuart angler sport fishing boats, venturing deep into the ocean to observe sharks up close and learn more about these fascinating creatures. 

Located in Cape Canaveral, this company comes highly recommended for witnessing a wide array of sharks and giant rays. 

Typically, these trips last for 3-5 hours, providing ample time to immerse oneself in the captivating world of these magnificent marine beings.

This shark-watching tour in Cocoa Beach with knowledgeable guides is my favorite too. You’ll spot a fine-tooth shark, black nose shark, spinner, sandbar, lemon, and also huge rays.

After the outdoor fun, you can come to The Shark Pit, a shark-themed restaurant in Cocoa Beach for families and kids.

shark fishing cocoa beach
Shark Fishing Cocoa Beach
  • Sharks are not “monsters” so you don’t need to stay back at home to stop missing out on the fun in the ocean
  • The chances of you get bitten by a shark are low compared to meeting an accident
  • Shark netting and its impact on marine life is very little. Nets are carefully positioned in the depths of the ocean floor without reaching the surface. Interestingly, sharks swim above or around the nets creating no impact.

Conclusion

According to the International Shark Attack File maintained by the Florida Museum of Natural History, there is no record of fatal shark bites in Volusia County.

Lifeguards on the scenes know how to take care and give you immediate care on the scene and medicines. So, please follow the guidelines and safety measures.

I hope this article on the Cocoa Beach shark attack gives you all the needed information to be safe and sound with these marine animals.

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FAQ: Shark in Cocoa Beach

1. Can you eat sharks in Florida?

A. If you’re looking to include a good source of tasty protein with low fat in your diet, you’re in luck to be in Florida. You can eat sharks, and there are no legal restrictions imposed on the citizens. However, you cannot consume every type of shark; people mostly consume the Atlantic sharpnose shark, which is slightly sweet to your taste buds. Additionally, you need to cook the shark meat very well – fry, grill, or bake it before eating. Moreover, it’s highly recommended not to consume shark meat during pregnancy due to its high level of mercury content, which can affect your health.

2. Can you surf at Cocoa Beach without worrying about sharks?

A. Of course, you can surf at Cocoa Beach, the surf capital of Florida. However, there is no harm in being cautious when you know that the water is also home to sharks. Nevertheless, I would say that more than sharks, you should be careful with the rip currents of the waves.

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