Beach closures due to shark sightings, DLNR reports

Beaches were closed from Kalama Park to Ulua Beach for a couple of hours Sunday afternoon, after a report that a shark bit the board of a stand-up paddleboarder, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The shark sighting at Keawakapu Beach was reported at 1:05 p.m. when the paddleboarder told a Maui County ocean safety officer that a 10- to 12-foot dark-colored shark had bitten her board, leaving teeth marks. She reported being approximately 500 yards from shore in murky water.

The unidentified woman left after informing the officer, and there was no confirmation of the presence of sharks by those there, according to DLNR.

Ocean safety officers on personal watercraft patrolled the area, with beaches closed for one mile in both directions from the reported sighting. No sharks were seen, and the beaches were reopened at about 3:15 p.m.

The shark sighting Sunday followed one at about 4:10 p.m. Jan. 30 when a visitor walking on the beach at Kamaole Beach Park I reported seeing a 6-foot-long shark swimming in the shallow waters approximately 10 to 30 feet from shore.

The shark appeared to be staying in the area, and the visitor immediately reported it to the ocean safety officers. The shark’s presence was confirmed by ocean safety officers, who closed the beaches at Kamaole Beach Park I, Kamaole Beach Park II and Kamaole Beach Park III.

While ocean safety officers patrolled on personal watercraft and all-terrain vehicles, two DLNR Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement officers assisted with closing the beaches. The shark was last seen at 4:45 p.m.

Beaches remained closed until sunset and were reopened the following morning.