The Maine Marine Patrol has confirmed that a great white shark was sighted Thursday swimming off Wells Beach, just outside the jetties at the mouth of Wells Harbor.

Several people at Wells Beach informed lifeguards that they saw fins in the ocean at around noon. The lifeguards were preparing to use jet skis to investigate, but the Wells harbormaster told them the Maine Marine Patrol had confirmed that a great white had been seen in that area.

The shark was estimated to be about 9 feet long, Wells police said in a Facebook post. Lifeguards immediately cleared swimmers from the ocean at Wells Beach and nearby Drakes Island Beach, also in Wells.

Lifeguards asked people to stay out of the water, or go no further than knee-deep if they chose to go in.

No one was harmed and the shark was not seen again after the first sighting. Harbormaster Michael Yorke said he plans to increase shoreline patrols in the coming days.

Fears have increased among beachgoers since a great white shark attacked and killed a retired fashion industry executive who was swimming near her summer home on Bailey Island in Harpswell last month.

Julie Dimperio Holowach, 63, was the first victim of a documented shark attack in Maine history. Holowach also lived in New York City and Naples, Florida. She died July 27.

Since then, there have been several confirmed great white sightings along the Maine coast.

In late July, swimming restrictions were imposed at several state park beaches after a shark was spotted off Popham Beach State Park in Phippsburg. Lifeguards reported that they saw a shark chasing a seal, a favorite food item.

Scientists say there have always been sharks swimming off Maine, but this year more great whites are coming close to shore where they prey on seals.

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