Are There Sharks In Bar Harbor Maine? (Full Guide)

Bar Harbor is a hot touristic destination and is visited by tourists from all around the world. Gateway to the Acadia National Park, one of the most beautiful in the US, some people wonder if there are sharks in Bar Harbor, especially after the fatal Great White shark attack in Maine in 2020.

There are eight species of shark in Bar Harbor, Maine. However, there are only two shark incidents ever registered in Maine. The most common sharks in Bar Harbor are the Spiny Dogfish, Blue Shark, Basking Shark, Shortfin Mako, Porbeagle, Thresher, Sand Tiger Shark, and Great White Shark.

As Maine is located in the North Atlantic, more shark species may be passing through or even living on the coast of the Pine Tree State, as it’s hard to keep track of all the sea animals in a region. However, those are the sharks that are confirmed Bar Harbor and Maine dwellers.

Keep reading to learn all about sharks in Bar Harbor and details of a fatal Great White shark unprovoked attack in Maine.

Are There Sharks In Bar Harbor? (Bar Harbor Maine)

Are There Sharks In Bar Harbor?

In the past years, shark sightings are becoming more common in Bar Harbor and all over Maine. Sharks (including Great Whites) have always been common off the Maine coast and in the Gulf of Maine. But after a woman was killed in an unprovoked attack in the region of Harpswell, public vigilance increased.

However, it is extremely unlikely that you will encounter one of these sharks, and the risk of a shark attack is still extremely low.

There are 8 species of shark in Bar Harbor, Maine, including Great Whites. However, despite a recent fatal attack, shark incidents in Maine are rare. The most common sharks in Bar Harbor are:

  • Spiny Dogfish
  • Blue Shark
  • Basking Shark
  • Shortfin Mako
  • Porbeagle
  • Thresher
  • Sand Tiger Shark
  • Great White Shark

Those are the most common species of shark that are known to be living in Bar Harbor, all over the state, and in the Gulf of Maine. Still, it’s important to notice that Maine is covered by the waters of the North Atlantic Ocean, where there are way more than eight species of shark. Therefore, it’s perfectly possible for more of these gigantic and ferocious sharp teeth friends to be around Maine’s coast.

Related Article: Are There Sharks In The English Channel? (Full Guide)

Species Guide: Sharks In Bar Harbor

In this section, you can find a more in-depth description of the shark species recorded in Maine through the years, including the fastest, the second-largest and the most aggressive species on Earth.

  • Total Number of Shark Species In Bar Harbor: 8
  • Most Frequently Seen: Great White Sharks
  • Most Dangerous/Aggressive Species: Great White Sharks
  • Biggest Sharks Found In Bar Harbor: Basking Sharks

The gigantic Basking Shark is one of the most incredible species in Bar Harbor. Basking sharks are the second-largest in the globe, reaching up to 12 meters (almost 40 ft). Another interesting species is the Shortfin Mako, a super strong and the fastest known species of shark, reaching up to 46 mph.

Also, the Great White, considered the most aggressive and dangerous species of shark is the most common shark in Maine. Even so, the chances of an unprovoked incident in Bar Harbor are extremely low. In the following table, you can find information about all the sharks found in Maine.

SpeciesScientific NameMax SizeAggressiveness
Spiny DogfishSqualus acanthiasUp to 1.2 m
(4 ft)
Not Aggressive
(Potentially Dangerous | Poisonous)
Blue SharkPrionace glaucaUp to 4 m
(13 ft)
Not Aggressive
(Curious, Approach Humans)
Shortfin MakoIsurus oxyrinchusUp to 4 m
(13 ft)
Not Aggressive
(Potentially Dangerous)
Basking sharkCetorhinus maximusUp to 12 m
(40 ft)
Not Aggressive
PorbeagleLamna nasusUp to 3.6 m
(12 ft)
Not Aggressive
(Potentially Dangerous)
ThreshersAlopias vulpinusUp to 7.6 m
(25 ft)
Not Aggressive
Sand Tiger SharkCarcharias taurusUp to 3.2 m
(10.5 ft)
Not Aggressive
(Potentially Dangerous)
Great White SharkCarcharodon carchariasUp to 7 m
(23 ft)
Very Aggressive
(Extremely Dangerous)

Related Article: Are There Sharks In Barbados? (Detailed Research)

Fatal Shark Attack In Maine

In 2020, a sad episode happened in Maine when a New York City woman was killed in the state’s first fatal attack. Julie Dimperio Holowach, 63, was swimming and was fatally bitten by a shark.

Scientists were able to later identify the shark as a Great White using a tooth fragment, state officials said. Holowach was swimming with her daughter off Harpswell’s Bailey Island when she was attacked. Fortunately, her daughter was not hurt.

The Maine Marine Patrol said a witness saw Holowach swimming off the shore of Bailey Island when she was bitten. Two kayakers helped her get to shore and an ambulance provided further assistance, but she was pronounced dead at the scene, the marine patrol said.

According to NBC, Stephen Arnold, a local resident, said he was working inside his home in Maine on Monday afternoon and looking out his window at the time of the attack. He saw the deadly encounter as it unfolded.

“I saw the two swimmers, right there at that rock ledge. They were actually splashing, and laughing, and talking with each other,” he said. “And then all of a sudden, I saw the trailing swimmer being lifted somewhat out of the water. And she started screaming.”

The tragic shark attack took place just 20 yards from shore. Finally, it’s important to notice that with the exception of a few places on Earth, shark incidents are very rare.

Shark Attacks In Bar Harbor

After an extensive research at every shark attack database available, I found out that there are no register of shark incidents, fatal or non-fatal in Bar Harbor specifically.

However, there are 2 unprovoked attacks in Maine. The most recent attack dates back to 2020, and unfortanetly resulted in the dead of a 63 years old woman, Julie Dimperio Holowach. Holowach was a NYC woman that was bitten by a 11-ft Great White shark while swimming with her daughter.

The other attack took place in 2010, and involved a 8-ft Porbeagle shark, that bit the video camera of Scott MacNichol, 30, that was scuba diving. Fortunately, Scott suffered no injuries.

DateAreaLocationActivityIncident TypeFatal?
23 Oct 2010MaineBurnt Cove, EastportScuba DivingUnprovokedNo
27 Jul 2020MaineBailey Island, Cumberland CountySwimmingUnprovokedYes

Related Questions

Are there sharks in Maine? There are at least eight species of shark living near Maine’s coast, but shark attacks are rare. The shark species recorded in Maine are Spiny Dogfish, Blue Shark, Basking Shark, Shortfin Mako, Porbeagle, Thresher, Sand Tiger Shark, and Great White Shark.

Are there any shark attacks in Maine? There are two shark attacks registered in Maine. Unfortunately, one was fatal when a 12-ft Great White shark bit an NYC woman in 2020. The other incident was in 2010 when a scuba diver had his camera bitten but suffered no injuries.

Do Great White sharks live in Maine? Great White sharks are the most common sharks living near the coast of Maine. Great White sightings are becoming more frequent in Maine, but despite a fatal attack in 2020, shark attacks in the Pine Tree State are rare.


André Bonassoli

What’s up guys. I’m André, and I've been passionate about Sharks for as long as I can remember! I’ve created this site to share different things with you that I’ve learned and am constantly learning. Whether you're just here with some simple questions or you're passionate about Sharks as well, I'm glad you're here!

Recent Posts