Are Those Ray or Shark Fins?

During the past three weeks or so, lifeguards at the Delaware beaches have whistled swimmers from the water several times after spotting “suspicious marine life.” That prompted this lengthy discussion on iDewey’s Facebook.

“We do water clearings for ‘marine life’ including but not limited to schools of fish and/or other marine animals that are observed in swimming zones frequently and regularly,” says Dewey Beach Patrol Capt. Todd Fritchman. “We keep people out of impact zones until [the] life moves on. Our region is the breeding grounds for many shark and ray species so they are always there in season,” he pointed out.

Photo courtesy iDewey

“There have been a number of rays and skates lately; however, that is common for this time of year,” says Bethany Beach Patrol Capt. Joe Donnelly. “As for sharks,” he adds, “I have not seen a lot of shark activity at least in Bethany Beach. I can’t speak for others, but I do know that when rays and skates breach the surface on their sides, it can look like a shark fin. A lot of people on the beach have expressed that until the lifeguard explains it to them.”

It is often challenging even for lifeguards to determine if those fins that breach the surface are rays or sharks. CBS2 reported on this situation this past week from the Jersey shore.