The absence of sharks allowed swimmers to dive back into the waters off Long Island's state park and nearby South Shore beaches on Saturday, officials said — though swimming was briefly limited at Point Lookout as a precaution.
"No sharks yet," George Gorman, the Long Island regional director for the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, said Saturday morning. "We have authorized swimming at Jones Beach and Robert Moses."
At Point Lookout, which lies just west of Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh, a waist-deep only precaution ended around noon, lifeguard representatives said.
Gorman underscored the caution that has led his department — along with county, state and local police — to increase monitoring, after a series of shark sightings near the shore have repeatedly delayed or halted swimming since last week.
Several species of sharks, spotted from a couple of dozen yards to 300 yards off Atlantic beaches, have prompted South Shore parks departments, as well as state, county and park police, to assign more staff to scan the seas for these predators. Drones, water scooters, helicopters and surf and police boats have all been deployed.
Scientists say the Atlantic Ocean is now cleaner, so both the bait fish and the sharks that feed on them are more likely to be seen than just a generation ago. Improved wastewater treatment plants are the main reason the water quality has improved, environmental groups say, though they say more upgrades are needed along with a crackdowns on plastic waste.