How to Find Out Where Tagged Sharks Are Roaming the Ocean

Shark attacks are exceedingly rare.

An online map shows the whereabouts of sharks tagged with tracking devices — and some of them are lurking off the most popular beaches in the United States. The devices have batteries that last for five years and show the last location they were pinged.

Inside Edition found 16 sharks swimming off Long Island and the Hamptons on the map, created by Osearch, a data-centric organization built to help scientists collect previously unattainable data in the ocean. Three sharks were sending out pings along the Jersey Shore, including a 10-foot great white dubbed "Miss May," who was captured and tagged in 2019. Scientists use the devices to study the sharks' behavior.

"It's very normal to see white sharks off the Northeast and the Atlantic Coast right now as they move north," said Osearch Director Chris Fischer. "They start moving north in June. The real meat of the movement is around now." 

There has been a steady increase in the seal population along the Northeast due to a federal law that bars the slaughter of marine mammals. Experts believe a recent shark attack off the coast of Maine may have been the result of a shark mistaking the victim, who was wearing a black wetsuit, for a seal.

Julie Holowach was vacationing with her family and had gone for an afternoon swim with her daughter when she attacked from below.

"Wearing a wetsuit does present some dangers," said shark expert Joe Yaiullo. "As long as you're aware of your surroundings and what's going on, you should be safe."

Shark attacks are exceedingly rare. The lifetime odds of dying from a shark attack are about 3.7 million to 1, according to the International Shark Attack File.