Beach and Water Safety

A graphic illustrating the hazards on the beach. (see text below)

Visiting the beach may be the highlight of your visit to Cape Cod National Seashore. Swimming in the sea, watching wildlife, or relaxing on the beach - there are many opportunities. Follow safe beach and ocean practices to protect the seashore... and yourself!

In case of emergency, call 911.

There are no lifeguards on duty at national seashore beaches between Labor Day (first Monday in September) and the third week of June. Read and heed advisories at beaches. Note that white sharks remain active in fall.

Shark Safety

Great White Sharks swim in the waters of Cape Cod. Be aware of your surroundings. There is always a risk of an interaction with sharks when you enter the water. Be aware of your surroundings. Look for the purple shark flags, these indicate if there has been a sighting. Learn more about shark safety.

Ocean Safety

  • Be on alert for rip tides, shore break, and strong under tows.
  • Never turn your back to the ocean.
  • Never swim alone.Swim, kayak, paddle, and surf in groups.
  • Avoid murky and low visibility water.
  • Stay away from schools of fish and seals, these attract sharks.
  • If caught in a rip current
    • Remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly.
    • Don't fight the current. Swim out of the current in a direction parallel to the shoreline.
    • When out of the current, swim towards the shore.
    • If you cannot swim out of the current, float or calmly tread water.
    • If you cannot reach the shore, draw attention to yourself - wave your arms and yell for help.
    • If you see someone in trouble - get help. Get a lifeguard or, if there is no lifeguard on duty, call 911.

Beach safety

  • Wear sun protection.
  • No glass containers on life-guarded beaches.
  • No rafts, rubber tubes, or masks and snorkels on life-guarded beaches.
  • Sand collapses easily. Do not climb slopes and dunes or dig holes deeper than knee level.
  • Stay close to the shore where rescuers can reach you.
  • Use the Sharktivity app to track and report shark sightings.
  • Know where the emergency call box and Stop the Bleed kits are at your beach.

Water Safety Web Rangers

Do you know how to be safe in the water? Do an activity on the Web Rangers webpage, and become a Water Safety Web Ranger.

Become a Water Safety Web Ranger!
Cases of "swimmers' itch" (Cercverdana,sans-serif dermatitis) have been reported by people who have been in the water at Salt Pond in Eastham. Find out more about swimmers itch at the Center for Disease Control website.

Last updated: March 22, 2021

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

99 Marconi Site Road
Wellfleet, MA 02667


To contact NPS Law Enforcement or report an incident, please call the 24-hour dispatch: 617-242-5659. In the event of an emergency, call 911.

Contact Us