About That Shark Washed Up On Rehoboth Beach

A shark Washed Up Onto Rehoboth Beach And The Lifeguards Removed It On Sunday

Yesterday a couple of pictures were circulating social media. The caption(s) stated that a shark washed up onto the beach in Rehoboth Beach and was removed by the lifeguards. Not a big deal it happens. Then the picture’s caption stated the shark, still alive, was put in a trash can and left there. That’s when the internet reacted typically and wanted someone’s head.
I made some calls this morning, here is what really happened.

I spoke with Captain Kent Buckson of the Rebohoth Beach Beach Patrol this morning. I explained what was happening online and wanted to know what really happened. A picture can speak a thousand words, even if those words are wrong. I could tell he was a little nervous. I assured him I just want to help get out the real story, not throw anyone under a bus. I know there is a protocol for this type of situation, and honestly I was curious. What do lifeguards do with creatures that wash up on a crowded beach?

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Rehoboth Beach lifeguards removing the shark form the beach and surf area .. photo from Bill Weeks

Captain Kent Buckson …“We have a protocol for anything that washes up on the beach. We deal with all kinds of sea life washing up on the beaches in front of crowds. Removing these immediately is a safety and health issue. The beach goers always want to take pictures, and pose with these creatures. That can be a serious health and safety concern. Sharks are the big attraction. We remove these as fast as possible to avoid large distractions with the crowds, it is a safety issue.”

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Rehoboth Beach lifeguards removing the shark form the beach and surf area photo form Bill Weeks

Captain Kent Buckson … “The lifeguards tried to put the shark back in the water and out to sea. It kept washing back onshore and it was nearly dead. Eventually it was no longer responding or seemed alive. The lifeguards then carried the shark up to the Patrol station building. The protocol is to put the marine animal in a trash bag and call city works who collects the carcass and takes it far away form people to bury it in a six foot deep hole. ”

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Sandbar shark washed up on Gordons pond in distress .. photo from Justin Webb


Captain Kent Buckson … “The trash can was used because the patrol crew didn’t have any trash bags available, so they put it in a trash can that had a bag. Then they waited for the city works folks to pick it up and dispose of the carcass. If we encounter any mammals we call MERR, they don’t handle sharks. We bag everything due to the smell and possibility of parts, or organs falling out of the creature. Sometimes we get big stuff that won’t fit in a trash bag.”

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Sandbar shark washed up on Gordons pond in distress covered in lesions and parasites … photo form Justin Webb

So, in conclusion, the Rehoboth Beach Beach Patrol and lifeguards did their job on Sunday, nothing more. Yes it is sad this creature died. Most likely it was the same three to four foot shark that was wallowing in the surf at Gordons Pond on Sunday. I have about a dozen pictures that were sent to us on Sunday by concerned anglers. That was a sandbar shark. It was covered in lesions and parasites, which is probably why it was dying or distressed.

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Sandbar shark washed up on Gordons pond in distress .. photo by Justin Webb

Huge shout out to the beach patrol crews, you all did a good job and should be commended not condemned. Especially now that everyone knows what really happened. If people are exposed to “bad” bacteria we all know how fast that can go south.

Fish On!
Rich King

rehoboth beach shark, dead shark, trashcan shark, delaware, sussex county, gordons pond, surf fishing
Sandbar shark washed up on Gordons pond in distress .. photo by Justin Webb

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