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Posted on: 29 Jun 2024

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Sam Kennard

A shark has been spotted approaching Royal William Yard in Plymouth, much to the surprise of swimmers, paddleboarders and onlookers.

With its distinctive dorsal fin cutting through the water, the sizeable shark swam along the coastline, before turning to head inland towards Firestone Arch at Royal William Yard. The appearance drew a crowd, who were captivated for more than an hour by the unusual sight – and it was all caught on video.

The shark is one of many expected sightings at Royal William Yard over the coming weeks… because today marks the start of Shark Month!

In reality, the ‘shark’ spotted along the Plymouth shoreline was actually a custom-made model, created by the team at Royal William Yard and sailed underwater by Caroline Robertson‑Brown​​​​ from the Shark Trust, who donned scuba diving gear for the occasion.

The stunt took place to launch Shark Month in style and draw attention to the work of the leading international conservation charity, which is based in Britain’s Ocean City. Spectators were reassured that the water was safe and many entered into the spirit of the performance, swimming or sailing alongside the shark.

Shark Month will take place across Royal William Yard throughout July and will feature an extravaganza of art, entertainment and advocacy for everyone to enjoy. The packed programme of events starts with an art exhibition and ends with a trip on paddleboards with shark experts – with everything from a shark quiz to a Jaws screening in between.

"There are often assumptions and misconceptions when it comes to sharks. This was certainly the case with the shark spotted at Royal William Yard! While the British coastline is home to many species of shark, this was not one of them. However, we’re thrilled it caught people’s attention, because seeing a shark is a special and memorable moment. That is precisely why we want to celebrate these incredible creatures, highlight the need for conservation, and ask for help to safeguard their future."
Paul Cox, CEO of the Shark Trust

Key dates:

  • 1st-31st July: Oceanic 31 Exhibition at Ocean Studios. Witness oceanic wonders showcased through an enthralling exhibit of art inspired by marine conservation
  • 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th July: Families are invited to unleash their creativity at Family Art Activity sessions each Saturday at Ocean Studios
  • 7th July: Joining forces with Royal William Yard Good Food & Craft Market, the Shark Trust Activity Day promises a day filled with educational fun and exciting activities
  • 11th July: The Great Whites Wine Tasting at Le Vignoble. Savour wines produced in regions where Great White sharks are found [waiting list only]
  • 13th July: Test your knowledge at the Shark Quiz Night at Steel Brew, where teams can compete in a battle of wits for a chance to win fantastic prizes. Book your tickets here
  • 18th July: Letterpress Poster Workshops with Alan Qualtrough at Ocean Studios, using the recently restored 19th-century Albion press
  • 18th July: Renowned artist Marc Dando and Shark Trust CEO Paul Cox will hold a Sharks and Art Talk at Ocean Studios, exploring the intersection of marine life and artistic expression
  • 21st July: Film enthusiasts won't want to miss the screening of Jaws - the most iconic shark film ever made – at Everyman Plymouth, followed by Q&As with shark experts
  • 26th July: Adventure seekers can embark on an exhilarating Shark Trust Paddle with South West SUP, taking to scenic waters while learning about shark conservation.

For more details about Shark Month, visit www.royalwilliamyard.com/shark-month where all events are listed along with booking details. To learn more about the work the Shark Trust does to protect sharks through positive change, head to www.sharktrust.org