Scuba diving with sharks can be both exhilarating and terrifying, but maintaining your composure is key to staying safe and enjoying these majestic creatures.
Keep in mind that the majority of shark attacks on humans are simply the result of them mistaking you for another animal.
These cases of mistaken identity can make you a statistic and give sharks a bad reputation. But, again, by knowing what to do and what not when scuba diving with sharks, you can fully enjoy the experience.
Photo Credit: WIlly Volk
Remember, too, that the majority of sharks you'll see on a scuba dive will keep their distance from you and behave non-aggressively.
Other sharks may instead be curious and approach you. If you do encounter a shark that begins exhibiting (aggressive) behavior, how you respond will make the biggest difference with regards to the outcome of your encounter.
Continue reading for five basic guidelines when it comes to safely scuba diving with sharks.
No Shiny Things Allowed when Scuba Diving With Sharks
Any scuba gear that's brightly coloured, shiny, or flashy in any way should be avoided when swimming in an area that could have sharks in it.
Shiny materials can attract sharks that end up mistaking you for a fish with shiny scales glistening against the rays of sunlight in the water. Stick with dark or matte metals, as well as black or blue wetsuits and gear.
Always Stay Calm When Scuba Diving With Sharks
It's vitally important that you remain as calm as possible when scuba diving with sharks, especially since erratic movements can actually get a shark's attention and provoke it.
Therefore, swim gracefully and calmly, just as you would if you were only surrounded by schools of small fish and coral. This will ensure your safety as you observe the sharks in their natural habitat without disturbing them or drawing attention to yourself. Follow the scuba code of conduct and you'll be safe and sound.
Never Spearfish Around Sharks
Spearfishing around sharks is a bad idea, as it will draw attention to you, especially as the blood comes out of the fish you're catching. If you begin Spearfishing without sharks in the area, but your activities draw them in, it's best to let go of whatever you have caught and head back to the surface and onto your boat.
Planning a scuba trip? Then you should download the ultimate scuba dive checklist just like 5000+ other divers already so you will not forget to bring anything.
Swim with Purpose to the Right Areas
If you spot sharks in the water, you want to avoid the water column and the surface, as this is where the majority of sharks will hunt. Swim with speed and purpose to the bottom of the dive site or to the reef. After your scuba dive adventure is over, you should do the same to get out of the water.
Swim with purpose and enough speed to move to the surface, and then exit the water as quickly as possible if there are sharks in the water. This doesn't mean, however that you should ignore the safety stop or the maximum rate for a safe ascent.
Don't Follow Sharks
Always respect sharks and give them plenty of space. Do not, no matter how tempting it may be, pursue a shark from behind, as he may turn around, viewing you as a predator, to attack you in self-defence.
It doesn't matter how badly you want that great photo or video clip; just let the shark go on its way. Always follow up advice and local requirements when it comes to scuba diving with sharks.
Use solid judgment and common sense and you'll enjoy scuba diving with sharks without any problems.
Remember that scuba diving with sharks isn't a risky venture as long as you know how to behave around them.
Read more blog posts we wrote: about sharks
What are your thoughts on scuba diving with sharks? Would you like to do so or would you pass on the opportunity? Let us know in the comments below.
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Article written by Rutger Thole who is an avid scuba diver and loves to travel, dive and write about scuba diving. Based in Amsterdam he runs bookyourdive.com and at least twice a year he plans a dive trip of the beaten track.