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Shark Sightings & Attacks 2024

Find recent 2018 to 2024 Orange County shark sightings, detections and attacks on Google Maps including date, description of sighting and/or attack and any available video sightings. Over the last few years there has been an increase in shark sightings and attacks off the Orange County coast, Southern California and worldwide.

Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack by contacting us. Images and video are a plus!

Go to the map to see locations of shark sightings. Where available shark videos of the sightings are included.

Shark Sightings & Attacks

Shark Attacks

June 30, 2021 – A 15-year-old Boy Scout was airlifted to a hospital for surgery Wednesday, June 30, after a shark bit into one of his hands while canoeing near Parson’s Landing at Catalina Island.

October 6, 2019 – In the water near Catalina Island, A 19-foot Great White Shark bit into a scuba divers kayak, leaving two 2-inch long teeth behind. No one was injured in the event. 

September 29, 2018 – A 13-year-old boy was critically injured after being attacked Saturday by a shark off the coast of Encinitas, California and near Beacon’s Beach. The shark attack occurred about 150 feet off shore during the first day of lobster season and the boy’s first time lobster fishing. The shark was estimated to be 11 feet long but the type of shark is not known.

May 3, 2017 – A surfer who initially thought she was cut by the fin on her surfboard was bitten by a shark in shallow water off Sunset Beach, a doctor determined.

April 29, 2017 – At San Onofre State Beach a 10- to 12-foot shark sunk its teeth into woman’s leg and pulled her underwater. She survived. Shark victim video interview.

May 29, 2016 – A woman swimming at Corona Del Mar State Beach was bitten by a shark on her torso and shoulder. She was able to get out of the water and survived the attack. News coverage of shark attack.

Shark Sightings

December 17, 2023 – A rare sighting of an Orca pod occurred right off the Newport Beach coastline.

November 5, 2023 – Beachgoers saw aggressive shark activity in the water off the coast of Sunset Beach, and at 3:45 PM a juvenile whale was found beached near lifeguard tower 22 with bite marks. The whale was still alive and agencies including the Pacific Marine Mammal Care Center were notified.

April 26, 2023 – A rare white killer whale calf swimming with an orca pod was spotted off the Southern California coast. The white killer whale is named Frosty and has a genetic condition that causes his white colorings.

March 18, 2023 – A drone captured video of a great white shark swimming off Huntington Beach.

October 22, 2022 – A photographer, Jordan Anast, captured an image of a juvenile shark jumping out of the water behind a surfer in San Onofre during the San Onofre Surf Club contest.

July 18, 2022 – Three surfers spotted an 8- to-12 foot likely adult shark along the Huntington Beach shoreline. The beach was closed between closed on Sunset Beach between Warner Avenue and Anderson Street.

July 4, 2022 – Large shark swims up to a boat while boy is tubing off Newport Beach.

July 2, 2022 – Boaters off Newport Beach spotted a shark approximately five feet from their boat.

January 31, 2022 – Paddlers off Laguna Beach encounter and film a 4- to 5-feet long blue shark.

December 2, 2021 – A rare sighting of Orcas was spotted about four miles off Laguna Beach’s Abalone Point.

November 14, 2021 – A 6-foot great white shark spotted offshore from the San Onofre dog path.

November 12, 2021Pregnant Great White shark feasts upon dead Scarlett whale in Dana point.

October 10, 2021 – An approximately 6 to 8-foot long unknown shark was sighted near Trail 6 in San Onofre.

September 14, 2021 – A possible Great White Shark was spotted during the Rip Curl World Surf League Finals in Lower Trestles in San Clemente. The contest was stopped until it was confirmed that the shark had moved out of the area.

August 5, 2021Blue Sharks Feed on fin whale carcass in Newport Beach.

August 2, 2021 – An 8-10 foot shark was spotted at the end of the San Clemente pier in the afternoon, prompting a 2-mile beach closure.

July 7, 2021 – A fisherman off Doheny State Beach in Dana Point caught a Great White Shark. The shark was returned to the water.

June 11, 2021Tiger shark caught off the Seal Beach pier.

May 25, 2021 – Great White shark spotted in Dana Point swimming between Capistrano Beach and Doheny State Beach.

March 26, 2021 – 12 minute encounter with a very rare Salmon shark seen in this video about 7 feet in length off the Orange County coast.

February 13, 2021Leopard shark caught at Seal Beach pier.

February 8, 2021 – Fisherman catches an unexpected juvenile Great White shark on a sunny day at the San Clemente pier. The line was cut immediately so it could swim off.

November 29, 2020 – Leopard Shark filmed while scuba diving at Fishermans Cove in Laguna Beach.

November 14, 2020 – White shark spotted while surfing in San Clemente at Trail 4, appeared to be moving north along the sandbar.

October 23, 2020 – Shark seen thrashing at Trestles Beach.

August 27, 2020 – A group of kayakers told authorities they spotted a great white shark, about 10 feet long, off the coast of Huntington Beach, about 400 yards from shore. Officials posted shark advisory signs along the beach.

August 14, 2020 – A 3- to 4-foot thresher shark that appeared to have injuries consistent with being hit by a boat propeller was euthanized by animal control officials near the Balboa Pier.

June 11, 2020 – Whale watching boat the Newport Legacy saw a 10 foot Great White Shark just off of Newport Beach, CA

June 10, 2020 – Photographer Delaney Trowbridge filmed a neonate great white shark just off the coast of Newport Beach, California during a whale watch.

May 21, 2020 – Photographer Matt Larmand catches sighting of a great white shark near Capistrano Beach.

May 20, 2020 – Shark-sighting advisory signs posted at San Clemente pier warning visitors that one had been seen nearby.

May 19, 2020 – A surfer at Lower Trestles spotted a shark swimming nearby while he was waiting for waves.

April 27, 2020 – A stand-up paddle boarder got a nice surprise when this juvenile grey whale surfaced next to him.

April 26, 2020 – A Baby Humpback Whale ‘Popcorn’ Breaches Over 100 Times in Newport Beach, CA to him.

April 17, 2020Drone captures a gray whale off Newport Beach.

January 12, 2020 – Captain Steve Locken of RockenReel Sportfishing in Dana Point reported the recent appearance of dozens of Blue Sharks, including the catch and release of an 8-foot Blue Shark two miles offshore from Dana Point Harbor. 

January 4, 2020Breach captured via Surfline Camera – HB Pier, Northside. Clip was downloaded via Surfline App from 11:36 am.

December 16, 2019 – A 10-foot broadnose sevengill shark washed up on San Onofre State Beach just south of San Clemente and near Old Man’s Surf spot.

October 12, 2019 – According a reader lifeguards reported a 6 foot shark sighting at the San Clemente Pier around 4 pm. The lifeguards issued a verbal shark advisory over the loudspeaker, but did not put any signs up. About 1/2 the people stayed in the water.

September 7, 2019 – A camera set up on the south side of the Huntington Beach pier caught a Great White Shark Triple Jump.

August 21, 2019 – Several great white sharks patrolling the coastline off Dana Point (Capistrano Beach) today. The guys on hydro foils had no clue about the sharks until one guy on a jet ski noticed one right next to him.

August 21, 2019Epic sighting of a good sized great white, probably in the 7-8 foot range off Capistrano Beach.

August 20, 2019 – 10-foot hammerhead shark seen cruising the kelp paddies in the water near Camp Pendleton.

August 19, 2019 – RockenReel Sportfishing charters reported catching and releasing a 15 foot great white probably 1,500-2,000 pounds off Dana Point.

August 16, 2019 – Fishermen on the 41-foot charter boat San Mateo spotted a 16-foot great white shark swimming in the kelp paddies offshore from Camp Pendleton.

August 17, 2019 – Newport Coastal Adventure spotted a 10 foot mako shark patrolling the local coastline in the morning.

August 14, 2019 – A reader reported 3 baby sharks (12″ – 15″) spotted on a sandbar in the Santa Ana River on the east side of the PCH. Baby shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo. Baby shark!

August 8, 2019 –  Around 7 am a visitor to Sunset Beach reported two sharks about 100-150 feet from shore at the 10th Street beach access. Surfers were call in nearby.

August 2, 20196 foot thresher shark caught off of the San Clemente pier.

July 29, 2019 – Eastern Tropical Pacific killer whales were seen off San Clemente hunting dolphins.

July 29, 20196 foot thresher shark as captured from a drone off the coast of San Clemente, CA.

July 26, 2019 – Lifeguards closed two miles of beach in San Clemente from Poche Beach to the T-Street concession. Two surfers reported seeing multiple sharks including a 10-footer and two or three smaller sharks.

July 6, 2019Great white shark eating a sea lion off San Clemente Island.

June 19, 2019 – A 6-8 foot juvenile shark breached the water near Trestles in San Clemente, shutting down the USA Surfing Championships until the water was cleared.

May 20, 2019 – A basking shark, the second-largest living shark, after the whale shark, was spotted by a whale watching crew aboard Capt. Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari.

May 11, 2019 – Mako shark caught off Dana Point aboard RockenReel Sportfishing charters.

April 21, 2019Shark at Capo beach caught and released on shore.

April 13, 2019 – A thresher shark is caught off the Huntington Beach Pier.

April 9, 2019 – A leopard shark was caught and released off the San Clemente pier.

February 23, 2019 – Surfers spotted a 7 foot shark swimming within a few feet of them at Bolsa Chica State Beach.

February 18, 2019 – An approximate 6 to 7 foot shark bumped a surfer’s board and leg at Dog Beach in Huntington Beach.

January 27, 2019 – A gray whale rolling around in 10 feet of water in Newport Beach.

November 4, 2018 – At approximately 9:37am, a white or other type of shark, estimated to be about 10 foot in length was seen swimming 100 yards off the beach, and within 100 feet west of the Balboa Pier.

September 25, 2018 – Throughout the month of September Orcas were spotted off the Orange County coast. See the under water video of CA51 transient type Orcas off Newport Beach.

August 24, 2018 – A 14-year old boy was bumped by a shark while playing in the water around 8:00 p.m. south of the Huntington Beach Pier. The water was about four feet deep and the boy was not injured. They inspected the area and re-opened the beach the following morning at 11:00 a.m.

July 24, 2018 – An angler fishing from the shore at Capistrano Beach in San Clemente accidentally hooks and reels in a 6-foot great white shark. Four men helped remove the hook from the shark’s mouth and the fisherman pulled the shark back into the water to release it.

July 19, 2018 – An estimated 17 foot long adult great white shark ate a dead whale carcass floating offshore about a mile from the San Clemente pier as video captured by Allwater Charters out of Dana Point.

July 2018 – Great White Shark sighting captured on video by drone in Orange County.

July 2018Amazing video of a baby Great White Shark at Capistrano Park Beach. It was caught unintentionally and released.

June 6, 2018 – A young girl was body boarding in the waves in Huntington Beach when her mother spotted two black fins that were approximately 4-feet tall in the water behind her daughter. She said they were definitely not dolphins because of the shallow water and swimming motion. She removed her daughter from the water immediately.

May 26, 2018Thresher shark caught at Huntington Beach pier.

May 24, 2018 – The Newport Pier acoustic receiver detected a soupfin shark around 6:30pm. *

April 15, 2018 – Newport Pier acoustic receiver detected the same shark from 01/24/2018 two times around 4:20am. *

April 9-10, 2018 – Actors and film crew from the TV series Animal Kingdom reported 12-16 separate Great White Shark sightings at San Onofre State Beach (Surf Beach “The Point”). Great White’s spotted were as long as 12 feet.

March 29, 2018 – Newport Pier acoustic receiver detected different shark around 08:00am. This shark was originally tagged in Santa Barbara on 08/24/2017. *

March 28, 2018 – Two Great White sharks were seen swimming off the coast of Capistrano Beach in Dana Point in shallow water about 10 yards off the coast. Great White shark video.

March 24, 2018 – Newport Pier acoustic receiver detected a soupfin shark around 6:30pm. *

March 8, 2018 – Newport Pier acoustic receiver detected a white shark two times around 9:00am. This shark was originally tagged in Belmont Shores on 05/17/2017. *

March 12, 2018Juvenile shark caught off the Huntington Beach pier.

March 5, 2018 – A shark possibly longer than eight feet was spotted off the San Clemente Pier prompting a beach closxure.

February 2018 – A juvenile five-foot white shark was a regular off the coast of Huntington Beach.

January 24, 2018 – The same white shark from 1/14/18 was detected by the Newport Pier acoustic receiver two times around 11:30pm. This shark was first tagged in Belmont Shores. *

January 14, 2018 – Newport Pier acoustic receiver detected a white shark three times around 4:00pm. *

November 22, 2017 – A 6-foot great white shark was snagged off the San Clemente Pier this week, before it was able to break free from the line and swim away.

September 13, 2017 – Balboa Pier acoustic receiver detected a white shark three times between 8:05am and 8:11am. *

August 31, 2017 – Balboa Pier acoustic receiver detected a 6′ white shark at 1:15pm. *

August 27, 2017 – A woman filmed a 10-foot great white as it casually cruised next to the San Clemente Pier.

August 9, 2017 – A four-hour ocean closure occurred after about 10 people spotted an estimated 10-foot shark from the San Clemente Pier.

August 8, 2017 – Not a shark but a juvenile Gray way swims near the shoreline next to unsuspecting swimmers in Aliso Beach at Laguna Beach.

August 5, 2017 – A surfer reported seeing a shark close to the Linda Lane beach shore in San Clemente prompting a beach closure. The shark was estimated to be about 10- to 11-feet.

August 2017Fisherman shark fishing off the San Clemente pier and filleting them.

July 28, 2017 – Kayak fishing in Newport Beach for thresher shark when caught shark attacks as seen on video (go to 3:50).

July 16, 2017 – At 7:40 pm a great white shark breaches on the northside of the Huntington Beach pier and caught on video.

July 12, 2017 – A 6-foot white shark was detected at the Newport Pier several times between 7:30p.m. and 7:37p.m. There was one detection for the same animal at the Balboa Pier at 8:27p.m. *

July 2017 – 5 foot shovelnose shark caught off the San Clemente pier POV video.

June 11, 2017 – Shark sighted 1.25 miles off the Santa Ana River mouth. *

June 3, 2017 – Paddle boarder collides a with shark. No attack occurred.

June 2017Great White shark caught in Dana Harbor.

May 22, 2017Fishermen at San Clemente Pier wrangled with a 10-12 foot shark that tried to take their bait. The beach was closed following this incident.

May 12, 2017 – A six to seven foot shark was seen swimming in the water below the Huntington Beach Pier at 11:00 a.m. A recording of the shark was taken.

May 11, 2017 – Police helicopter spotted and captured on video numerous sharks close to beachgoers in San Clemente.

May 2017Video of Great White shark swimming off Dana Point, CA.

May 2017 – Kayakers mixing it up with great white sharks in the surfline in San Clemente on video.

May 2017Shark filmed swimming near a boat in San Clemente, California.

May 2017 – A boater on a skiff films a great white shark circling the skiff in Dana Point.

April 30, 2017 – A group of sharks were spotted off Capistrano Beach.

April 19, 2017 – Corona del Mar acoustic receiver detected a soupfin shark. *

April 12, 2017 – Balboa Pier acoustic receiver detected a white shark. *

April 2017 – Great White Shark surprises solitary surfer at Trails and he captures it on video. Surfing at the Bluffs Campground in San Onofre State Park San Clemente / Camp Pendleton in Southern California.

April 2017Pregnant great white shark feasts upon a whale carcass near Dana Point.

March 27, 2017 – Balboa Pier acoustic receivers detected a white shark. *

March 13, 2017 – An estimated six-foot shark was seen swimming near 56th Street at approximately 3:10 p.m. and again at 36th Street at 3:45 p.m. The shark was approximately 100-yards off shore. The shark was not acting aggressively, but as a precaution, Newport Beach lifeguards closed ocean access between the Newport Pier and Tower 65 (near Prospect Street). *

March 8, 2017 – An estimated eight-foot shark was seen swimming near 36th Street approximately 200-yards off shore. It was not acting aggressively, but lifeguards closed ocean access between the Newport Pier and 56th Street. *

February 2017 – San Clemente Pier Fisherman catches Leopard Shark and captured on video.

February 24, 2017 – A 12-foot shark was seen swimming in the water about 100 yards out at 10:45 a.m. in Sunset Beach. Sunset and Bolsa Chica State Beaches were closed due to the shark sighting.

February 21, 2017 – A fisherman on the Huntington Beach Pier caught what appeared to be a baby great white shark about 7 feet long. Instead of cutting the line per fishing laws, they gaffed the shark to bring it onto the pier and they took photos with the shark.

February 21, 2017 – Two fisherman accidentally reeled in a 7-8 foot shark in Sunset Beach, CA. The released the shark immediately

February 14, 2017 – A fisherman began to reel up what he thought was a 7-foot great white shark on the end of the Huntington Beach Pier. The fishing line broke and the shark swam away.

January 13, 2017 – A surfer saw a six foot Great White jump out of the water 100 yards past the breakers at Huntington Beach, CA. He and his friends got out of the water immediately.

January 6, 2017 – A 9-10 foot shark was spotted off the pier Sunday in the ocean off Huntington Beach Pier which led authorities to shut down a surf contest.

City of Newport Beach log of recorded shark detection from the acoustic receivers and/or confirmed sightings in Newport Beach’s ocean waters. Newport Beach has deployed three acoustic receivers at the Newport Pier, the Balboa Pier and in the swim lines off the shore of Corona del Mar. These receivers record any previously tagged marine animal, including sharks, which come within 500 yards of the receiver (depending on the animal’s transponder).

Contact us if you would like to report a shark sighting in Orange County, CA.

Shark Safety Tips

With the increase in shark sightings, it is important for people to know what to do in the event of a shark attack. Here are a few tips:

  • Don’t swim alone.
  • Avoid swimming at twilight and in the dark.
  • Avoid swimming near marine life such as seals, otters and sea lions.
  • Don’t wear shiny jewelry in the water.
  • Do not go too far from shore.
  • Do not enter the water if you are bleeding or wounded and exit the water if bleeding.
  • Patterned wetsuits, bathing suits, surf boards and body boards may help not look like shark food. Sharks are visual predators.
  • Avoid murky waters.
  • Look for any post shark warning signs.
  • Observe nature’s signs circling birds, splashing water, dead whale or shark fins.
  • Avoid known shark hot spots in Orange County: San Onofre, Seal Beach, Sunset Beach.
  • Fight back by hitting the shark in the nose and eyes.
  • Do not “play dead.”
  • Claw at the sensitive gills.

Shark Resources

According to the Shark Research Committee there were 9 authenticated unprovoked shark attacks (all believed to be Great White Sharks) reported from the Pacific Coast of North America during 2017, with none fatal. Activities of the victims were; Kayaking 4, Surfing 2, Paddleboarding 1, Freediving 1, and Swimming 1.

Spring is shark pupping season and it’s likely more juvenile sharks will be close to shore through the summer. Newborn sharks are not thought to be dangerous to humans, sticking close to shore to feed on stingrays and other small fish. It’s only when they get older and bigger that they start investigating and feeding on larger mammals like seals and sea lions.

Water temperature can affect shark migrations. For instance, if water temperatures stay warm than older sharks may decide to stay through the fall and winter seasons.

The City of Seal Beach Shark and Ocean Safety page has useful information.

Learn about shark behavior at the CSULB Shark Lab.

Learn about shark attacks world wide at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Orange County Sharks

  • Basking shark
  • Bat Ray Shark
  • Bigeye thresher shark
  • Blue shark
  • Broadnose Sevengill Shark
  • Dusky Shark
  • Hammerhead shark
  • Horn Shark
  • Leopard Shark
  • Mako Shark
  • Pacific Angel Shark
  • Pelagic thresher shark
  • Salmon shark (rare)
  • Shortfin mako shark
  • Soupfin shark
  • Thresher shark
  • Smoothhound Shark
  • White shark

The Great White sharks are the only confirmed shark attacks in Orange County. The two main population centers for adult Great White Sharks is the Farallon Islands off of San Francisco and Mexico’s Guadalupe Island. White sharks are protected from being caught in California since 1994.

According to the Guinness Book of Records, the two largest great white sharks ever found were 36′ and 37′ feet long.

Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack by contacting us. Images and video are a plus!

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Monique McArthur
Monique McArthur is a mother of two, writer, and creator of delicious recipes. In her spare time she enjoys exploring all that Orange County has to offer, traveling, shopping, running with her dogs and spending time with family.