When you become a lifeguard, you anticipate that you're going to be rescuing humans. But a lifeguard in Belmar, New Jersey found that his skills came in handy for saving an animal of a different species: a shark.
Beach lifeguards have surfboards they may use to reach swimmers who are in trouble far from shore. They can reach the person faster on the board than they could just by swimming to them.
In this case, the lifeguard noticed there was a small shark washed up on the beach, and he decided to use his surfboard to do the opposite: to bring the rescue back out to the ocean.
The lifeguard put the shark on the board and paddled out into the ocean. A beachgoer snapped a picture and posted it on Facebook.
It's unclear how long the shark had been on the beach or why the guard chose to use the board to rescue the shark.
Facebook/Belmar Beach NJ
Belmar Beach shared the photo of the rescue on its Facebook page but did not disclose the name of the guard or give any more details about what happened.
We can only speculate. Perhaps the lifeguard thought it was best to get the shark into deeper water so it would not wash up again. Perhaps he felt safer putting the shark on the board, or it could have been a combination of both.
It's difficult to tell from the picture what type of shark was rescued. It's obviously small, but it could be a juvenile. The rescue happened on a New Jersey beach, and there are many types of sharks found off the coast of New Jersey: bull sharks, blue sharks, basking sharks, shortfin makos, porbeagles, threshers and even great whites.
Whatever type of shark it was, let's just be glad that a lifeguard took the time to save it. You don't need to wear a cape to be a hero.