Great White sharks are not uncommon off the coast of New Jersey, but few people ever actually encounter one.

For Jim Piazza, it was a once in a lifetime event and perhaps a little too close for comfort.

After a day of fishing, Piazza, his son and a friend, were headed back to the dock in Sea Isle City. About a mile off shore his friend yelled, "Shark, watch out!"

This was no ordinary shark. It was a 12-foot Great White.

Jim Piazza via Facebook
Jim Piazza via Facebook


Piazza, who is from Pennsylvania and renting a home at the Jersey Shore, told, "The videos don’t do it justice."

In video he took of the encounter, you can see the beast just kind of lazing in the water. "Look at this beast," Piazza says on the video.

The shark is not being aggressive and barely seems curious about the boat. It doesn't even react when someone throws a fish at it.

Estimated to be about a thousand pounds, the shark swims up to the side of the 23-foot boat, then turns and heads away. As it turns, you can get a better appreciation for just how big this shark is and see the huge dorsal fin.

Jim Piazza via Facebook
Jim Piazza via Facebook

Great White sharks often appear off the New Jersey coast as they hunt schools of migrating fish.  It is extremely rare for them to come close to the shoreline.

The largest shark ever tracked off the Jersey shore was tagged by the group Ocearch. Mary Lee is a 16-foot female adult White shark and weighs over 3,400 pounds. She tagged in 2017 and has made frequent visits to New Jersey.

Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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