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Local News

Great White Shark Sighting Off Leadbetter Beach Prompts Warning to Swimmers

Signs posted along Santa Barbara waterfront; Free Methodist Church shifts ocean baptism closer to shore just in case

Santa Barbara’s city beaches were posted with warning signs Sunday after a reported great white shark sighting at Leadbetter Beach, according to the Harbor Patrol.

A great white shark sighting was reported at about 10:30 a.m. and warning signs, informing swimmers that they were entering the water at their own risk, were posted along the shoreline from Leadbetter Beach down to East Beach, Harbor Patrol Officer Larry Nufer said.

City beach guards were working in the lifeguard stands this weekend and informed anyone they saw in the water.

Denny Wayman, pastor of Free Methodist Church of Santa Barbara, was among those getting that message Sunday.

In a Facebook post late Sunday afternoon, he described an unexpected — and unusual — interruption of his congregation’s beach baptism service.

“Had a first today after 38 years of ministry,” Wayman wrote. “We were having a baptism service in the Pacific Ocean here in Santa Barbara when a lifeguard ran over and told us they had spotted a great white shark and were warning us!

“We completed the Sacrament, but did move in a little closer to the shore!”

Nufer said the shark warnings usually stay up for 24 hours after a reported sighting. 

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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