A surfer off Leadbetter Point yesterday afternoon spotted what city officials believe is a great white shark, prompting the posting of “swim at your own risk” warning signs at 14 locations near Santa Barbara beaches and on the lifeguard towers between Leadbetter Point and East Beach.
The surfer, according to a city statement, was five feet away from the big fish and reported its dorsal fin and tail fin were both out of the water, the distance between them—or “spread”—estimated at six or seven feet. Officials are treating the sighting as “credible.”
The sign postings reflect “standard protocols developed for this type of event and is warranted not only by yesterday’s sighting, but in light of recent, confirmed white-shark attacks on marine mammals in local waters,” the statement reads.
If there are no other sightings or evidence of shark attacks on marine life in the next 72 hours, the signs will be removed Friday at sunset.