Great White Shark Spotted off Southern California Coast

Santa Barbara Waterfront Department

While Shark Week plays on the Discovery Channel, the California city of Santa Barbara may be having its very own G reat White Shark Week.

Officials said an experienced young surfer off the coast of Leadbetter Point spotted what may have been a great white within feet of where he was in the water Tuesday evening.

"All the details from his sighting were enough for me to decide this was a credible one," said Harbor Operations Manager Mick Kronman.

It was reported that the shark's dorsal fin and tail fin were both out of the water when spotted.

The reported color, girth and six- to seven-foot spread between the shark's fins lead officials to believe it was a great white.

The city's Waterfront and Parks and Recreation departments have taken necessary precautions by posting warning signs at 14 locations near city beaches, and one on each of five lifeguard towers between Leadbetter Point and East Beach.

"When there is a sighting, we post the beach for 72 hours stating that people can swim at their own risk," said Waterfront Facilities Manager Karl Treiberg.

If there are no other sightings or evidence of shark attacks on marine life, the signs will be removed by the end of the week.

According to officials there have been three attacks by sharks on marine life in nearby waters since April 27.

"Two of the attacks took place in Santa Barbara waters ending in the death of two sea lions, and a third attack on a harbor seal in Carpenteria left the mammal injured but still alive," said Kronman.

Sharks rarely attack human beings. Officials said the beaches would be completely shut down in the event of a shark attack on a person.