SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Despite some close encounters with sharks this summer, many people are out in our near shore waters on paddle boards, kayaks, surf boards and taking part in summertime recreational swimming.
There have been shark sightings, and warning signs posted.
There have been reports of a paddle board and a kayak both damaged by a shark bite, but not human injuries have been reported.
The owner of the Santa Barbara Sailing Center Skip Abed says he is not getting many questions about sharks and mostly has enthusiastic customers ready to get into the ocean on his kayaks or paddle boards. The center also operates the Double Dolphin for coastal tours, out of the eastern end of the Santa Barbara Harbor.
He says the west beach area near the bait barge is a prime site for sea lions, but he's never seen a shark there. "A lot of them will be basking in the sun," said Abed. "I have never seen any dolphin in the harbor."
NewsChannel 3 went out on a kayak for a first hand experience. Abed was in a small power boat nearby. He said, "this is their space and you want to keep your distance at least 50 feet away from all of these different animals that are out there."
The boaters share their sightings, whether it is a whale, shark or seals that might be in their usual paths. They use radio communications between the vessels. "If it's a sea otter off Hope Ranch beach or a pod of a thousand dolphins out by the rigs, we will definitely communicate with everyone because it is so great to see."