Sharks are magical, fantastic beings that, if you get the privilege to dive with them, you will experience many different emotions. Being in close proximity to a shark is becoming increasingly rare because of the fishing industries that kill around 100 million sharks every year!
What’s more the media frequently describes sharks as “dangerous” and “man eating” monsters, developing this idea that surely it would be ludicrous or crazy to be near a shark, let alone dive with one.
Although in reality, going to organised, baited shark dives that are expertly put together and run ethically will show you that actually, the sharks are the ones that are timid and cautious when near us humans, not the other way around.
Diving with sharks is much safer than you assume, and is not the ultra-dangerous activity that it’s often considered to be. While it is true that there is some risk of harm, like with anything when diving with sharks, but statistically, the risk of something life-threatening is exceptionally tiny, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stay aware and safe.
Sharks are apex predators by nature, so like with any wild animal, you need to treat them with the utmost respect and be safe. Here are just some ways to stay safe whilst diving with sharks.
How to safely dive with sharks – What you need to be aware of
1. Have a Responsible Diving Buddy
Choosing the right diving buddy for your diving experience is super important. So make sure that you investigate all options and diving centres and check that the operator you are choosing is qualified, environmentally aware and adheres to the correct practise codes.
Find a responsible diving buddy that you can trust and behave with the sharks and treat them and the environment with the respect they deserve. They should not practice any behaviours that would cause annoyance or misconduct.
2. Choose The Right Time to Dive
Like any wild animal, sharks get hungry. So timing when you dive is vital to see the sharks safely and not put yourself in an environment with the shark’s perfect hunting conditions.
The dusk and dawn are the shark’s prime time to hunt, so that you might see more sharks at these times, but there is also more the risk of them mistaking you for prey. Trying to stay out of cloudy or shallow waters during these times is also essential, especially if you want to see bull sharks. They hunt in these conditions and could again mistake you for prey, leading to a potential attack.
3. Be Smooth & Respectful
Being relaxed and steady underneath the waves is the safest way to see sharks without startling them or provoking a defensive response from the sharks. This begins when you enter the water; getting into the water gently by either using steps or a seated entry will avoid any loud crashes or splashes, which could scare or startle the sharks.
In the same light, make sure that you limit the number of times you resurface because sharks could mistake you for a distressed or dead animal floating on the surface. When getting out of the water, stay as quiet as possible and slowly get onto the boat, minimising any splashes or noise to ensure there is as little disruption as possible.
4. Always Remember The Basics
Diving alongside sharks is an incredible experience that can be beautiful and profound when done correctly, so to ensure you can enjoy the dive as much as possible, always check and remember your diving basics:
- If you are filming your dive, don’t get distracted and frequently check yourself and your surroundings whilst using your camera.
- Stay with your chosen buddy and group; going alone or splitting away from your group could be dangerous and lead to an accident.
- Keep an eye on your diving equipment, including the gas consumption, decompression limits, depth and ascent rates.
- Lastly, stay calm and keep your cool throughout the dive. Panicking or getting distressed can scare the sharks or lead to an accident, so if you feel uncomfortable, quietly and calmly leave the water to protect the sharks, the environment and yourself.
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