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Amid shark fears, pool companies on the Cape say business is going swimmingly

It’s enough to make you consider a pool: A shark warning sign on Nauset Beach in Orleans. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

During a summer filled with beach closures because of shark sightings — at least 40 since the beginning of August — some Cape Cod residents are turning to swimming pools as an alternative to beaches, according to several pool construction businesses.

Craig Panaccione, the owner of Crossroads Landscape and Pools in Orleans, recounted receiving a call Monday from a woman who had finally had enough.

The woman had been walking on Head of the Meadow Beach in Truro when she received a notification from Sharktivity, Panaccione said. Sharktivity is an app from the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy that alerts users to beach closures and shark sightings.


The woman called Craig and said she was fed up — with the beach, with the sharks, with the closures. She asked to meet with him Friday and said she was ready to commit to installing a pool at her home.

The contractors say the people who have gotten too scared of the sharks to enjoy the water are talking about getting their pools built by next summer.

David and Penelope Rich, owners of Cape Cod Pool Company in Orleans, estimated that sales have increased about 40 percent this summer.

“They have told us that it’s because they’re afraid of the sharks,” Penelope Rich said. “They want to go to the beach and feel the sand on their feet and feel the water, but then want to go home to their pools.”

David Cavatorta, owner of Seaside Pool Service in Yarmouth, estimated his sales have increased 20 percent to 30 percent.

“It’s been kind of crazy, to be truthful,” he said, adding that people are calling weekly.

Seaside typically builds about 30 pools a year, Cavatorta said. He thinks the boom is because people are becoming more aware of the sharks because of the Sharktivity app and media attention.


“I think more people are ready to say, ‘You know what, I want to hang out at the house, I want to put some money into it,’ ” he said.

Matt Wester is the owner of Aqua Pool Company, a pool servicing company in Orleans. He said he’s noticed that vacationers are using their pools more, leading to an increase in demand for his cleaning and upkeep services.

“Sharks are good for business,” he said.

Panaccione said the prospective customers calling him include people who rent out their houses during the summer. Their customers are coming for the beautiful beaches but are sometimes instead faced with shark sightings and beach closures.

So the owners are looking to offer their customers the option of gathering around a glittering pool, not far from a fridge, a couch, and a flat-screen.

Shark fears on the Cape have been heightened since a shark killed boogie boarder Arthur Medici, 26, of Wellfleet last September. It was the first shark death in the state since 1936. A month before Medici’s death, a New York doctor swimming off Truro was also seriously injured by a shark bite.

Other types of Cape businesses have been concerned about the possible negative effects of the sharks’ increased presence. Olaf Valli, owner of SICKDAY, a surf shop in Wellfleet, told the Globe he had already seen a drop in business because parents no longer want their children in the water. People are debating what to do to protect beachgoers and the Cape’s tourist economy, the Globe reported.


Panaccione, a Cape resident himself, said the sharks have affected his own mental state. He still goes to the beach to picnic and wade into the water but no longer goes into the deep water as he once did.

Wester said that when he stops by the beach himself, he notices that “there’s hardly anyone in the water anymore.”

Maria Lovato can be reached at maria.lovato@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @maria_lovato99.