A 5-foot sand shark spotted at the Jersey Shore this afternoon prompted lifeguards to briefly close a beach on the Barnegat Peninsula for the third time this month.

Lifeguards in Seaside Park called bathers out of the water about 2:30 p.m. after the shark was seen swimming 10-feet off shore. Beach patrol officials followed the shark as it swam from the northern end of town to the south. Swimmers were allowed back in after the shark made its way out to sea, said a spokeswoman for Seaside Park Beach Control.

"Sand sharks are pretty common because they're out there all the time feeding on dead fish," she said. "This one just happened to come in closer than normal."

On July 12 sharks were seen off Ocean Beach north of Seaside Park. On July 15, two sharks off Midway Beach, directly south of Seaside Park, caused lifeguards to suspend swimming for several hours.

Barnegat Peninsula is separated from Long Beach Island by Barnegat Inlet. Shark attacks are rare and there has not been a confirmed fatal attack at the Jersey Shore since 1926.