Though Diving with Sharks is a memorable experience, never compromise on safety.
Diving with Sharks can be an exciting experience. It’s one of those moments in life that will live with you forever. However, when in the presence of wildlife, there are some basic points to note so this fantastic experience doesn’t turn into one of those “I Survived” stories – or worse.
Things like maintaining your composure and following basic instructions are fundamental to enjoying your time in the midst of these fantastic creatures.
Veteran divers report that the majority of sharks they meet in the water tend to keep their distance from humans and they act non-aggressively too. But, there will sometimes be one or two individual sharks that are curious and will approach you.
Whatever the species whether hammerheads, makos, or even great white sharks, and so on, typically, they won’t act aggressively. In the event that they do, knowing how to respond will determine how the experience plays out.
At this point, it’s worthy to mention that it’s advisable to opt for cage-diving with some species like the great white.
Here are 7 tips you absolutely must keep in mind for a safe diving with sharks experience.
7 Tips For Safe Diving With Sharks
1) Always Stay With A Group
Avoiding diving alone with sharks. Stay in and with a group. You could appear like an easy bait when the shark spots you alone.
But when you are in a group, it is very unlikely that a shark would attack you. Make sure there is an experienced diving instructor with you at all times. Always follow his/her instructions and do not try to be smart or a wiseguy/girl. Keep your eyes on the other member of the groups and don’t stray away from them.
2) No Shiny, Bright Colored Or Glowing Stuff
When you are all set to dive, make sure to avoid wearing or carrying anything that is bright in color, like shiny metal or things that glow.
Though sharks are considered color-blind, colors that contrast with the background attracts them. Also, they might mistake the shiny reflections for fish scales. It is always better you wear something dull blue or gray, or any other color that easily blends in with the surrounding water.
Keep the color of your tools or diving equipment sober too.
Yellow may be particularly interesting to sharks and it’s often called the “yum yum” color.
3) Stay Calm And Relaxed
While diving with sharks, always be calm with your movements and stay relaxed.
No thrashing about or sudden movements. Just maintain a steady pace and try not to make any sort of noise. Some people may panic, get scared and try to move away from the group which could become potentially dangerous.
You must prepare yourself before you step foot into the water. Read and learn as much as you can so you know what to expect. A qualified and licensed instructor will teach you how to behave during the dive.
If not, make it a point to ask him/her about it.
4) Stay Alert Always
Sometimes, a large shark may appear and suddenly you don’t see it anymore. Be on the lookout because it could reappear again when you least expect it.
If you, or someone else in the group notices a particular shark (especially very large ones) behaving erratically or showing persistent interest in the group, it may be time to end the dive.
5) Avoid Dawn and Dusk
Most sharks are crepuscular in their feeding habits (they mainly feed at dawn and dusk). So, that’s when they are actively searching for food. Avoid diving with sharks during dawn or dusk.
At mid-day under bright sunlight is an ideal time for shark diving. Sharks usually keep a distance from groups during this time.
6) Sharks Need Their Space Too
We cannot emphasize this enough: you are going into the sharks’ territory. Respect their space.
Just like humans or any other animal, when a shark sees something approaching it, it may attack out of self-defense. If you swim towards a shark and it moves away from you, leave it alone!
When a shark swims away from you do not follow it. Do not try to get closer to it out of excitement. Do not risk getting hurt because you want a “cool” picture.
Maintain a safe distance always and whatever you do, don’t pet them on the head or close to their jaw area. This is not a circus monkey or a pet dog. Sharks want their space and it is very important that you give that to them.
Let the shark move on its path undisturbed in any manner. That said, do not try to take pictures with a bright flash.
7) Avoid Large Mammals Or Spearfishing
Don’t free-dive or snorkel around large sea mammals (e.g. seals) where sharks abound. Obviously, you could get caught if sharks arrive for a feeding.
The same goes for spearfishing around sharks. This will definitely draw attention to you, especially as the blood comes out of the fish you’re catching. In the event you begin spearfishing without sharks in the area, but your activities attract them, calmly leave what you were doing and get back to your boat.
The Issue Of Feeding Sharks: Yea Or Nay?
Some, if not the majority, of ecotourism businesses feed sharks as a way of drawing them out for visitors to see them.
This is a very controversial subject. In fact, this is one of the most debated issues among shark lovers. While some are of the opinion that feeding sharks alters their natural behavior, others say it’s necessary to give people an opportunity to see the creatures first hand.
Well, we do know that there have been instances of sharks attacks that were directly traced to people feeding them.
Therefore, we advise that you do not use “bait” or try to draw them out by feeding while underwater. Feeding can radically change a shark’s investigative behavior, and it may endanger you if more sharks appear and get “excited.”
The whole experience could turn dangerous in a heartbeat.
Something to also consider is who are the people you are diving with? And your instructor, how good are they at what they claim to do? If you are in doubt at any point, discuss it with them before you follow them into the water.
With a bit of solid judgment and lots of common sense and composure, you’ll enjoy diving with sharks. It’s one of those moments in life that can be truly described as epic.