Bournemouth beach evacuated after reports of large Shark metres from the shore

Updated: Sep 8, 2021

A popular Bournemouth beach was evacuated on Wednesday following reports of a "large marine animal" believed to be a shark was spotted metres away from the shore.

Shark in UK waters at Bournemouth beach
Large shark said to have been spotted at popular Bournemouth beach

Lifeguards quickly evacuated swimmers from the popular Boscombe Beach in Bournemouth on Wednesday as they lept onto jet skis searching the sea for the reported large marine animal that was seen close to the shore.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) said it received reports of “significant movement” in the water. A witness described seeing a fin, but lifeguards were unable to formally identify the animal.

The UK does have a number of native shark species, though none are considered dangerous to bathers or fishermen.

Sharks found in the UK

Believe it or not, here in the UK we actually have quite a large amount of sharks that live in the British waters all year round, according to the Shark Trust, there are at least 21 species of shark as well as 11 species of deepwater sharks in the water around Britain.

Small-spotted catsharks, angel sharks and nursehounds are among those that you can see all year round, however, sightings of them are rare.

“You’re very unlikely to encounter one during a trip to the beach. But you may find evidence of small-spotted catsharks or nursehounds,” the Shark Trust says.

“These species reproduce by laying eggs. And you can often find their empty egg cases washed up in the strandline.”

Sharks spotted in UK waters

  • Angelshark

  • Angular roughshark

  • Basking shark

  • Birdbeak dogfish

  • Black dogfish

  • Blackmouth catshark

  • Blue shark

  • Bluntnose sixgill shark

  • Bramble shark

  • Common smoothhound

  • Frilled shark

  • Ghost catshark

  • Great lanternshark

  • Greenland shark

  • Iceland catshark

  • Kitefin shark

  • Knifetooth dogfish

  • Leafscale gulper shark

  • Longnose velvet dogfish

  • Mouse catshark

  • Nursehound

  • Porbeagle

  • Portuguese dogfish

  • Sailfin roughshark

  • Sharpnose sevenfin shark

  • Shortfin mako

  • Smallspotted catshark

  • Smooth hammerhead shark

  • Spurdog

  • Starry smoothhound

  • Thresher shark

  • Tope

  • Velvetbelly lanternshark

Some of the deep ocean swelling sharks that lurk around in the British waters include the gulper shark, kitefin shark, black dogfish and the Portuguese dogfish.

In the months between May and October, it is often possible to catch a glimpse of a basking shark - basking sharks are the second biggest fish in the world after the whale shark. Although basking sharks may be intimidating in size they live off plankton and are not dangerous to humans.

We also get the occasional seasonal visitor, these include the blue shark and shortfin mako, very rarely but it has been known for us to get a visit from the smooth hammerhead and frilled shark.

Some of these much rarer shark species could potentially be dangerous to humans, however, there have been no unprovoked shark bites in British waters since records began all the way back in 1847.

Large shark spotted at Bournemouth Beach
Basking sharks are found in British waters


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