Nico Schwarcz and companions on a fishing boat say a great white shark at least as long as their 18-foot vessel circled their craft Thursday afternoon and left its mark, KTLA reported.
The group told the news station that the shark bit part of the boat's motor and left teeth marks on part of the engine.
A video posted on YouTube is said to show the shark circling the small boat off of Venice Beach as the boat's occupants look on in disbelief.
- Watch: Video shows great white circling Schwarcz's boat. (Warning: the video includes excessive swearing and f-word.)
Although the sighting is not the first great white shark sighting in the Santa Monica Bay this year, marine biologists say there is no cause for alarm.
"It is not unusual or really unheard of to see the occasional great white shark here in the Santa Monica Bay," Brent Scheiwe, a marine biologist and director of SEA Lab in Redondo Beach told Patch. "I wouldn't think it is of major concern," he said.
As far as reports of the shark circling Schwarcz's boat and biting the motor, Scheiwe said that the great white was most likely trying to discern what the boat was.
"They can be inquisitive and sort of mouth something to try and get a feel for it," said Scheiwe. "They have a lot of sensory organs in that area and they are really just trying to work out what that is."
“Depending on what they were doing on the boat, if there was a smell of fish or a smell of something that would also attract the shark, that would definitely keep it interested in looking around," Scheiwe added.
According to Scheiwe, great white sightings are common this time of year as the species gives birth in California waters.
"They are moving around feeding on bait fish, baby sea lions... whatever food source they can find," said Scheiwe, pointing to the healthy sea lion population in the area. "A lot of small ones do show up down in this area around this time of year."