Beachgoers can return to the water at South Coast beaches in Massachusetts on Thursday, following a shark sighting.
A fisherman contacted the Westport harbormaster on Wednesday to report that he saw two great white sharks -- an adult and a juvenile -- off Gooseberry Island.
"The man is a fisherman and knows his sharks," harbormaster Richard Earle said Thursday.
Earle contacted authorities, eventually leading to the closure of Horseneck Beach, Demarest Lloyd State Beach and Gooseberry Island Beach.
"Just use common sense. Keep an eye out. If you have kids keep an eye out for them and if you see a fin, report it," Earle said.
Earle said people tend to overreact when they hear the news of sharks in the water.
"People near Dartmouth wanted to know, then the people at all the private beaches nearby wanted to know. So, it puts all the bells and whistles off," Earle said.
While the fisherman reported seeing two great whites, the shark type was never confirmed. Earle said a helicopter, a boat and a watercraft were sent to that area of Gooseberry Island Beach to look for the sharks, but they were never spotted again.
Experts said there are more great white sharks in New England this year because there are more seals in this area than ever.
"There are seals around. We have seals that come here, and that's what attracts them -- the great whites anyway," Earle said.
Many swimmers on Wednesday were concerned and frustrated when the beaches closed. Few returned to Westport Thursday morning, with the exception of Keith Snow and his family.
"Not only do we enjoy the water and we don't worry about the sharks, but the fact that it scares people away makes it a more natural habitat for us," Snow said.
Snow swam alone Thursday morning. He said if he saw a shark in the water he'd be scared but that doesn't keep him from swimming, even with the recent sighting.
"I think I'd be excited to see a shark. If I was standing on land that is, I'd be interested to see it and I'd be cautious. That's it. I wouldn't go trying to hug it or anything," Snow said.
State police asked that swimmers pay attention to signs posted about swimming safety and report any shark sightings immediately.
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