GULF SHORES, Ala. (WKRG) — When you step into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, you’re stepping into the home of thousands of marine species, including shark species. Beachgoers have always known this, and sharks are frequently sighted all along the Gulf Coast, including this recent hammerhead shark sighting in Orange Beach, Ala.

But forget Hollywood movie tropes: sharks pose little risk for swimmers. Since 1900, there have been about 1,600 “unprovoked” shark attacks in the United States, or about 13 per year, according to

To better understand these most-misunderstood ocean dwellers, WKRG News 5 is taking a closer look at some of the most prominent species that swim in the waters of the upper Gulf of Mexico. Some of these sharks are more common in the waters from Dauphin Island to Destin than others, but any of them might be spotted along our local beaches, including Gulf Shores and Pensacola Beach.

WKRG will being featuring eight different shark species during Labor Day weekend as part of WKRG’s Shark Week. The series will kick off with the tiger shark Saturday morning at 8 a.m. and will conclude Monday with the blacktip shark Monday at 5 p.m.. Follow along at and our Facebook!

Sean Powers, director of the USA School of Marine and Environmental Studies, joined WKRG News 5’s Caroline Carithers to tell us more about these fascinating Gulf denizens. Check out these videos below to learn more:

Tiger Sharks

Sandbar Sharks

Ridgeback Sharks

Hammerhead Sharks

Great White Sharks

Bull Sharks

Bonnethead Sharks

Blacktip Sharks