Great White Sharks In North Carolina: Everything You Need To Know

Last Updated on September 14, 2023 by Amin Tawar

Are there Great White Sharks in North Carolina?

Great White Sharks In North Carolina

Great white sharks, scientifically known as Carcharodon carcharias are the biggest predatory fish in the ocean. White sharks labeled off Cape Cod have been found in the North Carolina waters, where they normally stay offshore but sometimes can be seen close to the shore. 

White sharks occur all year round in North Carolina waters but are very common in the early spring and winter. With their radiant white bellies, big black eyes, and huge triangular teeth, they are easily differentiated from other species. White sharks can reach lengths of over 11-16 feet and can weigh over two tons. 

How Many Great White Sharks Are In North Carolina?

According to OCEARCH, an organization that follows shark movements and other marine species, at least over 10 great white sharks, have been tracked recently near the coastal regions of North Carolina this March. A ‘Ping’ occurs when the animal tag hits the water surface, sending data to the organization’s website. 

The exact number of great white sharks in the North Carolina waters is difficult to estimate as these sea creatures are found away from the shores. This great white shark population makes annual migrations between the southern and northern regions of their habitat range.

Why Are There So Many Great White Sharks In North Carolina?

The barrier islands on the shores of North Carolina waters are believed to be a site functioning as a gathering and mating spot for great white sharks. The coast is home to a huge variety of sharks that travel in the Atlantic Ocean. 

As sharks show a seasonal movement in their habitat range, great white sharks can be seen looking for warm climates and prey in the winter months. Also, the currents going south and north hit those waters, carrying prey. Thus, many great white sharks along with other juvenile sharks can be seen spending time in this region. 

How Common Are Shark Attacks In North Carolina?

Great White Sharks In North Carolina

In summer, many people visit North Carolina shores to enjoy water activities like swimming, waterboarding, and surfing. During these times people are likely to see sharks when diving into the deeper ocean.

But, most shark attacks on humans are issues of mistaken identity. Surfers, swimmers, and others in the North Carolina waters may show visual targets that deceive the shark, forcing people to mistake it for prey. 

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says great white sharks are not dangerous to people, as humans are not a part of their diet. Since it’s harder to see below the water’s surface, many think more sharks are looking to attack when they are in the water. Sharks attack only when human activities disturb them or when felt threatened by modifications in their surroundings.

Only a dozen of the shark species have been involved in human attacks. Most shark attacks occur in near-shore waters, between sandbars, or around drop-offs where sharks forage. Possibilities of encountering a white shark in the waters of North Carolina is very low, thus shark attacks in north carolina are not common. 

Also, Check Our Guide On Sharks In Orange Beach

What Is The Largest Shark In North Carolina?

The largest shark in North Carolina is named Breton. This sedan-sized white shark weighs over 1,500 pounds. It can be seen crossing the North Carolina waters from time to time. OCEARCH has been following Breton since 2020 when it was tagged. 

The latest ping from Breton’s tracker in North Carolina was on March 25, on the eastern shore of Avon Island, Pamlico Sound. Breton, is a male white shark that measures over 13 feet and weighs over 1,437 pounds. The white shark is always seen making its way up to the coast of North Carolina after spending its winter in the temperate coastal waters of Florida.

Is It Safe To Swim On North Carolina Beaches?

Yes, it is safe to swim on North Carolina beaches as they are exceptionally safe. North Carolina beaches maintain lifeguards, who make swimmers aware of currents and other water issues like wildlife to protect the safety of visitors. 

When it comes to water and beach safety, one can be cautious as anything can happen. From surprising currents to sharks and severe weather, North Carolina beaches have everything prepared for their visitors’ safety.


And that was everything you need to know about the Great White Sharks In North Carolina. I hope this article answered all your queries.

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