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Diving with sharks, shark safety, shark behaviour    

Diving with Sharks and Shark Safety
A short Marine Conservation Article by Paul Courtnage (Project Ocean Vision)

Sharks are potentially dangerous, wild animals that remain very difficult to predict accurately. Jacques Cousteau said, "The only predictable thing about sharks is that they are unpredictable". Diving with sharks is a wonderful experience and a few, logical guidelines can make the experience more likely to happen, more enjoyable and safer. Keep in mind that sharks are are predators and they can only hunt successfully if they are healthy and uninjured. For this reason, sharks are generally very reserved and cautious about approaching something large that they do not understand. They will tend to stay away from divers because we are difficult to mistake for something they recognise as prey. What sharks do not know is that, despite our size, we're pretty vulnerable in the water and can't bite back - so they will be naturally wary of us.

I should point out that this is really for people that want to go diving with sharks. If diving with sharks isn't for you, fear not; your chances of seeing one are pretty small anyway - just don't dive in known shark areas. If you do see one during a dive, keep still, breathe, back away using any reef or rocks as cover. Lying motionless on the bottom will often allow the shark to lose interest or satisfy its curiosity and leave. Leave the water with as little fuss and disturbance as possible and tell your tale over a beer. No matter what your feelings about diving with sharks, this article is also relevant as a marine conservation piece. Even if you do not want to dive with sharks, you may find this article a useful source of shark safety tips. Always remember that just because you don't see a shark on a dive, it doesn't mean one (or more) didn't see you. So shark safety is always important.

If you do want to share a few wonderful moments with one (or more) of these beautiful creatures by diving with sharks, read on. These are my thoughts on the matter on shark safety and I offer them to you in good faith. They cannot assure your safety or guarantee that you will see your shark, but these guidelines seem to help me in every respect. I should add that the way you feel about the whole experience of diving with sharks is important and I shall refer to this throughout this article.

Diving with Sharks, shark safety and shark behaviour

Know the risk. Shark attacks on divers have happened, but are actually extremely rare - certainly much less frequent than attacks on certain other groups of water users. When diving and doing marine conservation work I certainly feel far less vulnerable underwater with sharks than I do at the surface, although I fully acknowledge that much of this is psychological as I cannot easily see what's below me while floating on the surface at the end of a dive. Given that statistically the risk of unprovoked attack by a shark on a diver is very low, the remainder of this article should allow you understand some of the factors involved with diving with sharks in order to keep that risk level as low as possible. I would say that you need to be a competent diver - deliberately diving with sharks is not ideal for the novice - but please still read this for the shark safety aspects.

Know the environment. The first step in shark safety. Before deliberately diving with sharks, find out what species of shark you are likely to encounter in the area you plan to dive and learn about their behaviour and habits. You may also decide if the local species are ones you want to be with. It is also important to understand the effects of likely environmental conditions - visibility, current, light - and consider the equipment you are carrying and the complexity of the tasks you will conduct whilst diving. We (Project Ocean Vision) spend most of our time in the water filming; two divers with video and stills cameras and a tight filming schedule makes good coordination, visual contact, lookout and communication vital. Whilst filming in poor visibility it would be all too easy to miss an approaching shark until it got very close. Maintaining diver safety becomes significantly more difficult with increasing workload and deteriorating conditions. If you are uncomfortable with the conditions, abort the dive and leave the water. Come back tomorrow when conditions are in your favour. Put shark safety ahead of your pride.

Dark or Murky Water. If you're unhappy with the level of risk, stay out of the water at night, dusk, or dawn. Many sharks species are crepuscular in their feeding habits and are often most active at night, dusk and dawn. The presence of food in the water provokes a very different kind of behaviour that may become dangerous to divers. Stay out of polluted or murky (turbid) water. Sharks in these conditions are much more difficult to see and are likely to be more inclined to investigate living objects in the water by taste than by eyesight. Harbour entrances and sewage outfalls are best avoided on a number of grounds, not just shark safety!

Bloody Water. We know that sharks are attracted to blood in the water and can detect it at very low concentrations. Many dive and tour boats are known to use chum or bait to attract sharks deliberately for their customers, but again this is likely to stimulate feeding behaviour in the sharks, completely changing the experience of diving with sharks. Never use bait or attempt to feed a shark whilst underwater - this pretty well precludes the shark feeding dives you will have seen advertised or featured on television; I disapprove of this on the grounds that it increases risk directly and encourages the sharks to associate humans with food. Moreover, using bait or chum does not only place those using it at risk, it increases the potential danger for other divers in the vicinity - this is believed to have been the cause of an attack in the Red Sea in June 2009.

If you must go on a dive that does shark feeding, follow the guide's instructions to the letter, stay still, don't be the one feeding any shark and don't be down-current of the bait. I say again, the introduction of food into the sharks' environment can completely change the dynamics of diving with sharks and shark safety.

Similarly, stay away from areas where fishing boats are operating and you should probably not go diving with sharks if you are bleeding – there has been very little research into women diving during menstruation, so I shall have to leave that one up to you. Be wary of birds or dolphins that are feeding; these indicate the presence of fish (prey species) and blood in the water. Spear fishing (especially on an ebb tide) is probably one of the highest risk sub-aqua activities when it comes to provoking shark attacks.

At the surface. As I have mentioned, divers appear to me to be less at risk from sharks than snorkelers, swimmers or surfers. There are many reasons for this, probably beyond the scope of this article, but as an example, it is thought that Gereat White sharks may sometimes visually misidentify surfers as prey species, possibly seals or sealions. Whether deliberately diving with sharks or not, I always try to minimize the time I spend at the surface and I dive, not snorkel. Being at the surface leaves you vulnerable from below – the reason that many people do not feel comfortable here. As discussed later, I often try to surface either close to the reef of near my dive boat – for many good reasons, including shark safety.

Work quietly. If you decide to go deliberately diving with sharks or dive in water where sharks are likely to be around, enter the water quietly using a controlled, seated entry rather than a giant stride; less likely to frighten away any nearby shark or to provoke a defensive attack – and better for your photographic and video equipment! As soon as it is safe, orientate yourself in the water, organize your team and start your descent, start looking immediately. Some divers choose a negative buoyancy entry, but know what you're doing with this before you try it. Once in the shark's realm move quietly and calmly, allow sharks to approach and to investigate you on their own terms. Do not try to approach or, worse, chase the shark; this will almost certainly alarm the shark and scare it away or force it to defend itself if it perceives you as a threat. During a shark encounter remain as motionless as you can, preferably on or near the bottom or close to (not touching) the reef. Control your breathing and try to become a part of the environment. Large or rapid movements will startle a shark. Keep calm and enjoy the experience.

Avoid eye contact. If you want a shark to approach, avoid staring directly at it, rather watch it from the corner of your eye – using a camera helps if they cannot see your eyes, but strobe lights are not a good idea. That said, do not lose sight of the shark. After the shark has apparently left, stay alert for at least 5 minutes to be sure that it has actually gone. Better still, remain alert all the time! I have found that the principle of avoiding eye contact applies to all manner of wildlife, terrestrial as well as marine.

Reduce your vertical profile. Crouch down on or near the bottom or align yourself horizontally; sharks seem more unsettled by height than length, probably because sharks' normal prey species, such as seals and fish, tend to be aligned horizontally. Lying on a sandy bottom works well too and is a reasonable position for filming – make sure you know what you’re kneeling or lying on! Find a bare area of sand so that you won't damage any corals or other marine creatures and be sure there isn't anything buried there that might sting you when you kneel on it - it is a stingray's automatic defence mechanism to sting if you tread or kneel on it. Trying to improve your shark encounter is not a good excuse for damaging the environment or getting yourself injured.

Keep diver numbers small. Sharks appear to perceive a large group of divers in close proximity to each other as a single, large animal and a correspondingly greater threat. Remain with your buddy, but relatively farther away from other buddy pairs to increase your chances of a shark approaching closer - I do not recommend solo diving with sharks; sharks appear to be more likely to attack lone individuals. If your shark gets too interested or you do not feel comfortable with the situation, get back with your group - or indeed anyone's group. Where shark safety is concerned any group will do.

Be a bit interesting. Keep the shark curious by humming quietly into your regulator or tapping very gently on your tank. A brightly-coloured camera housing or diving gloves may also arouse a shark's curiosity, but a balance is required here - don't be too interesting. Camera strobes or rapid gesturing while wearing brightly-coloured gloves will certainly startle a shark and may provoke undesirable behaviour – see “work quietly” above. Choosing dive gear in neutral or dark colours appears to be the best idea from a shark safety perspective – I certainly do not wear brightly-coloured kit or shiny jewellery - think also about minimising contrast. My preference is to be as invisible to the shark as possible, but I do occasionally hum to them if I want them to come closer. The choice of tune is yours!

Observe the shark’s behaviour. This is another important shark safety point. A shark swimming in a fluid manner with pectoral fins nearly horizontal and its body relaxed is, by and large, at ease; its body language says it all. A shark that circles or approaches while relaxed is probably curious and often offers the best photo opportunities to people like us. The signs of an agitated shark are jerky movements, pectoral fins held stiffly downward, an arched posture or generally increased muscular tension (behaviour varies greatly between species). If a shark appears agitated back off, make sure you are not the obstacle between the shark and its escape route and never approach a shark from above. If you feel uncomfortable leave the water immediately. Increasing the distance between you and the shark will normally allow it to relax and either escape or return to its normal behaviour - I would say never closer to the shark than 5 metres, although I must admit to breaking my own rule on this whilst filming on occasions.

If you want to take great pictures of anything underwater, you need to get close to your subject; the closer the better. How close you want to get to a shark will depend on all the factors discussed here, how you feel about being close and, of course, what the shark will let you do. I start filming as soon as I see a shark, always assuming that this is the best I'm going to get from this encounter - if it all ends there, at least I got some footage. Then, if all goes well, I start slowly trying to improve the situation for my cameras by gently working my way closer and, if possible, moving round to make best use of light and background. All the time, I watch the shark's behaviour and keep track of my buddy - who hopefully has me between her and the shark, as briefed. Unless a shark appears very relaxed, I generally turn off video lights and strobes, maybe saving them for later, once I've done the best I can without them. Firing a strobe can sometimes be the trigger that makes the shark leave; I have seen film of a firing strobe provoking an attack - not a bad attack, but then I would say that no shark attack is exactly good.

Here's another major shark safey point. Probably one of the fastest ways to alter a shark's behaviour is to touch or grab hold of its tail or fins. Even with a very placid species, such as a nurse shark, this is one of the best ways to get bitten by a shark. I know you probably think that I really don't need to tell you this, but I do because an enormous number of shark bites are the direct result of divers trying to touch or handle sharks. The golden rule here is do not touch. Really, people do!

Diving with Sharks and Shark Safety

Diving with sharks, shark safety, shark behaviour: Paul Courtnage filming a whitetip reef shark
Diving with sharks: Courtney filming whitetip reef sharks in the Red Sea 2009 - photograph by Carol, Project Ocean Vision.

Normal rules apply. Good diver practices become habitual, dare I say even a little lax, when everything is normal. But diving with sharks (or dolphins, big manta rays, etc) or filming can be very absorbing. It becomes easy to focus solely on this fascinating encounter and to forget the basics. When diving with sharks, keep doing the things you normally do: maintain buddy contact, check your depth, air and remaining no-deco time, keep your navigation going and keep looking around for more great things to see. I have seen a diver so engrossed in a small Blacktip Reef shark 20 metres in front of him that he was totally oblivious to the Oceanic Whitetip 10 metres behind him (Tiran Reefs, 2002)! Perfect neutral buoyancy is essential as it means you can remain still in the water and you are less likely to kick up sand with your fins, which will make the water murky (see above) and ruin a great photo opportunity. Finally, this is certainly not the time to push your air – it’s possible you’ll need more air than normal to get out of the water, not less, so this is not the day to stay that little bit longer.

Prepare yourselves as you would for any dive and make sure you have discussed your plan, including hand signals, entry and exit considerations and separation procedures with your dive buddy before the dive. In truth, you never know on which dive you will be diving with sharks, so this should all be standard on every dive. Dive safety and shark safety sit easily together in my dive routine.

Leave the water quietly. If you need to surface while a shark is in the area (or you think it may be), move slowly and deliberately; try not to lose sight of the shark. Swim directly to your exit point, avoiding a long surface swim if you can; swimming on the surface may leave you vulnerable to attack from below - even if it doesn't it will make you feel more vulnerable. Personally, I like to do a safety stop somewhere sheltered and then ascend to the surface against a reef wall or, better still, whilst swimming directly to the bottom of the boat’s ladder, making sure I’m ready to climb straight onto it when I reach it - plenty of people will tell you, quite rightly, why you shouldn't do this, but I rather like it whether there are sharks around or not. When you arrive at your exit point do not waste time; leave the water quietly, but quickly.

If you feel threatened. Clearly not every shark encounter will always be altogether peaceful, or you may not always feel comfortable with the experience - diving with sharks is not for everyone, maybe not for every day. What to do? Remain calm and control your breathing and buoyancy. Stay close to your buddy and join other divers to make a larger group if you can. A vertical profile will prevent you looking like a potential prey species. If possible, back against the reef and keep facing and watching the shark, but do not threaten it. Remember that you may have to descend to cover before heading for the surface. As they always tell you when you're flying, your nearest exit may be behind you. Make your ascent slowly, staying close to the reef. If you can surface on the reef plate (or flat), do so and get away from the drop off, if not, try to plan to surface at your (or another) dive boat. Above all, do not make matters worse by trying to frighten the shark; simply moving away may well be enough to make it lose interest.

Of course, it all can go horribly wrong. Diving with sharks is a wonderful experience, but it would be wrong of me not to mention the down side - the need to understand shark safety. Earlier in the article, I referred to a fatal attack in the Red Sea in June 2009. Here is part of the official report that illustrates the risks involved and highlights some of the points I have made here:

Egypt's Chamber of Diving and Water Sports (CDWS) can confirm that a woman died followed an attack from a shark which occurred on the morning of Monday 1 June at St Johns Reef in the southern Red Sea.

The French woman had been on a diving safari holiday on board the boat Lanotel when the incident took place. A number of boats were moored at a reef. A group of about 20 snorkellers was observing what is thought to be an oceanic white tip shark approximately 2.5 - 3m long. The woman is reported to have moved away from the group and some distance from the reef then ducked dived down towards the shark. On surfacing she was bitten on the leg and was still in contact with the shark as she was pulled onto the boat. Once on the boat, the casualty lost consciousness and died soon after.

Initial investigations revealed last week that two safari boats had been involved in feeding sharks in this area. Investigations by both the National Park and CDWS are already underway and if the allegations are found to be true, the boat operators will face severe penalties that may involve suspension from operating and heavy fines. Shark feeding is a serious violation of Red Sea rules, and an act that can severely disturb the sensitive marine eco-system and behaviour of marine animals.


The risks add up. I have said that I consider the risks of diving with sharks to be small, but have also mentioned that attacks do happen. I believe it is very important to understand that all of the risk factors work together. That is to say, if you do your best to reduce all the risk factors I have mentioned here, you should be reasonably safe whilst diving with sharks. However, the more risk factors you increase or ignore, the greater the potential danger. That's how my approach to shark safety works. In the report above, the woman separated from ger group, approached the shark and was attacked at the surface; shark feeding had been taking place. Let me illustrate using another shark(s) attack near Sharm el Sheikh in 1996.

A swimmer entered the water from a boat with friends in the late afternoon (near dusk) in deep water where he swam with a small group of dolphins. Many sharks species feed on the same prey as dolphins so the two can often be in the same area, especially at feeding time. He was reported to have been splashing about on the surface and this can often sound to sharks like injured prey. He was not wearing a mask so would not have been aware of the shark's proximity nor been able to observe and judge its behaviour. When his friends left the water, he elected to remain alone in the water and was attacked and bitten four times - probably by one or two tiger sharks. He was very badly injured, but survived.

Look at this incident and it is easy to add up the risk factors that he chose to increase: lone swimmer, at the surface, at dusk, indications of prey species in the area, splashing around, no means of being aware of what was around (below) him and the species of shark involved. Some commentators said this attack was almost inevitable; I don't really agree with this view as this set of conditions will have occurred hundreds, if not thousands, of times before in that area without incident. But I would say that this victim did a lot to increase the likelihood of this attack happening by stacking up multiple risks and compromising his shark safety.

Sharm el Sheikh 2010. On 1st December 2010, three Russian tourists and one Ukrainian were badly injured in separate shark attacks near the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. Virtually all watersports were immediately suspended in the area. Local authorities started a search for an Oceanic Whitetip shark, which was believed to have carried out the attacks. They caught a 2.25m Oceanic Whitetip and a 2.5m Shortfin Mako shark, but divers and local conservationists said the captured sharks were not the same anaimals that had been seen and photographed in the area shortly before the attacks. However, the Egyptian authorities reopened the beaches on 4th December.

On 5th December, a 71-year-old German woman was killed by a shark while swimming in Naama Bay near the Hyatt hotel. Water activities were again suspended, although scuba diving, being considered less prone to risk risk from shark attack, were allowed to resume.

So what happened and what are the important shark safety points here? First point is that none of the victims was a diver; all were on the surface or wading in shallow water. I have seen one Oceanic in the nearby Strait of Tiran, but both these species are rare in these waters and I can find no record of previous attacks here for which they have been blamed. They are more commonly found further south in the Egyptian Red Sea. So I looked for reasons for them being in the area and a sudden, highly-unusual cluster of attacks. A cargo ship had recently transited north through the area transporting sheep for slaughter during the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha; it is believed that the crew may have dumped sheep carcasses overboard, attracting sharks to the area. The sharks may then have be lured to the coast by tour and dive operators using bait to attract the sharks for tourists to see - I have already stated my views on this practice and this may have triggered feeding behaviour in the vicinity of swimmers and snorkellers. The head of CDWS suggested that a contributing factor may have been overfishing, causing the sharks to seek new food sources in coastal water although I find it highly unlikely that either species had deliberately targeted humans as food. We may never know for sure, but this sequence of events seems the most probable. At least, each of these would almost certainly be a factor.

While researching these incidents, I discovered that numerous sharks were caught and killed following the attacks. Retribution or an effort to regain public confidence and to protect the tourist industry? On the plus side, the local authorities issued new rules banning shark feeding. As a rediculous aside, there was actually a conspiracy theory that Mossad had used GPS to guide the sharks to the Egyptian resort in order, presumably, to provoke the attacks in order to damage Egypt's tourist industry. I love it!

Statistics. For reference, I include a graph of worldwide, unprovoked shark attacks for the period 2000 to 2010. Data is from the International Shark Attack Files (ISAF). In round figures, this shows an average of 65 attacks each year, 5 fatal, 60 non-fatal:

Shark Attacks. Diving with sharks, shark safety, shark behaviour

Keep in mind how many times people enter the sea for various purposes each year. Billions? And 65 of these result in an attack. Pretty good odds, I think. Out of interest, during those eleven years there were a total of 715 attacks recorded in the ISAF. I thought it useful to rank areas of the world in order to see where most attacks occur. The first few are (number of attacks in brackets): Florida (268), Australia (120), South Africa (41), Hawaii (41), California (32), South Carolina(32), North Carolina (28), Brazil (20) and the Bahamas(12). Of course, these figures don't show were a swimmer or diver is at greater risk of attack; they are more likely to show were most people enter the water or indulge in higher-risk aquatic activities. Statistics are only as useful as our analysis of them.

To keep the figures real, we have seen tha Florida appears to be something of a shark attack hot spot, yet you are six times more likely to be struck by lightning there than you are to be attacked by a shark. Many more people die in ski accidents in the Alps than are attacked by sharks throughout the world annually. Probably fewer than 5 of the attacks each year involve divers. I estimate that would mean an average of one diver fatality every 3 years (roughly). In fact, I read somewhere that there have only ever been around 40 divers killed by sharks - ever! Out of how many millions of dives?

On the other hand statistics suggest that over a half of all shark attacks are on surfers and spear fishermen. Personally, as I have said, I choose to dive; I don't swim, snorkel, spear fish or surf. I have been known to water ski, but it would take a fast shark to catch me doing that!

More importantly, on average, sharks kill about 5 humans each year. On average humans kill about 75 million sharks each year.

Know your sharks. For a general discussion on sharks, see my article An Introduction to Sharks. From a shark safety perspective, it is simply not possible to say which sharks will hurt you and which won't. It's just not that simple. Of the 350 or so species of elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) that have been named so far, there are five that I would consider potentially dangerous to humans - although almost any species could bite you if you provoke them enough and plenty of people have perfectly wonderful encounters with these 'big five' without incident. It is worth noting that when most sharks (with the exception of the Tiger) attack, it is usually to try to work out what its victim is. Often, a first 'taster' bite may be enough to identify a human (particularly one in a neoprene wet suit) as a non-prey species.

Bull Shark, Carcharhinus leucas: Length over 3 metres. Very stout body. Short snout. Small eyes. Large, pointed dorsal fin with deep base. Upper body smooth grey fading to paler grey below. Asymmetric caudal fin, upper lobe much bigger than lower. Warmer waters, adapted to fresh or brackish and murky water, so often enters river estuaries. Often found in shallow water. Potentially dangerous to humans, but do not normally attack divers unless they are spear fishing or shark feeding.

Tiger Shark, Galeocerdo cuvier: Length up to 5.5 metres. Distinctive tiger stripes on a grey body, lighter below. Stout head and snout. Found on reefs, coastal waters, river estuaries. Hunts in shallower water from dusk to dawn. Very indiscriminant feeder - will almost anything it can bite or swallow. Larger individuals may approach divers and have been known to attack, especially if there is chum or blood in the water. Treat with great respect; an attack by this species is much more likely to be fatal as, once it attacks it tends to finish the job. In my opinion, from a shark safety perspective, this is the one to watch out for.

Great White Shark, Carcharodon carcharias: Length up to 6 metres. Very stout body, conical snout and broad jaw with large, serrated, triangular teeth. Round, black eyes, no nictitating membrane. Long gill slits. Lunate tail, only slightly asymmetric. Upper body dark grey with distinct, ragged demarcation to pale underside. Prefers cooler water, uncommon in tropical seas. Usually close to coastlines, reefs and islands. Prey - fish, seals and sea lions, dolphins, carcasses, turtles, molluscs, crustaceans. Generally cautious of divers, but may approach closely. Most dangerous to spear fishermen or near seal colonies. Extreme caution.

Oceanic Whitetip, Carcharhinus longimanus: Length around 3 metres. Bronze or brown colouration, lighter below. Main distinguishing features are the broad, rounded dorsal and pectoral fins with blotchy white tips. Often escorted by black and white stripped pilot fish. Deep, open ocean. Preys on large, predatory fish such as tuna. Often very inquisitive and may circle swimmers or divers in search of a meal. Can be very unpredictable, especially larger individuals. Exercise extreme caution.

Short Fin Mako, Isurus oxyrinchus: Length 2- 4.5 metres. Upper surface is silver-blue to slate-grey, lower body very light grey. Very large dark eyes. Long conical snout. Lower jaw contains multiple rows of inward curving teeth. Rounded dorsal fin and symmetrical crescent tail. Warmer temperate to sub-tropical waters. Coastal and pelagic, prefers good visibility. Difficult to approach, but has been known to attack divers and swimmers. Its high-speed, close investigatory passes can be alarming.

Of course other sharks have been implicated in attacks. It is thought that Blue sharks and Bronze Whaler sharks have attacked humans, for expample. So the message is, 'treat them all with great respect'.

Bull Shark

Tiger Shark

Great White Shark

Oceanic Whitetip Shark

Shortfin Mako Shark

For your protection in the Red Sea. This neatly backs-up what I have explained in this article about diving with sharks and has an important marine conservation aspect as well as shark safety. HEPCA (The Hurgada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association) impose the following shark safety rules in the Hurgada area - these are mainly referring to Oceanic Whitetips:

No swimming or snorkelling in waters that large shark species are known to frequent

No deliberate feeding of sharks or dumping of waste from boats which may attract potentially dangerous sharks (both activities are illegal in Egyptian waters)

No SCUBA diving without an experienced dive guide in waters where large shark species are known to frequent

In areas such as the Far Islands, where large shark species are frequently observed, it is advisable that divers enter (and are retrieved from) the water as close as possible to the reef

In areas such as the Far Islands, where large shark species is frequently observed, it is illegal to be involved in any night diving activities.

Enjoy the moment. Sharks are becoming rarer at an alarming rate. All the more reason to enjoy every encounter while we can. If you are lucky enough to be diving with sharks, make a mental note of everything you can about the shark: overall size and bulk, shape and colouring, and fin configuration; if you couldn't be sure in the water, you will want to identify your shark after the dive. Watch its behaviour and try to understand its actions. Take pictures. In brief, enjoy the moment and always think about what you're doing. We would love to hear from you about your encounters. And remember, we all go diving with sharks far more often than we think. Just because you can't see them doesn't mean they're not there. I wonder how many ordinary dives are really diving with sharks without the divers knowing? For this reason, I use many of the techniques outlined here on every dive - you just never know...

Here is a great video about diving with sharks from The Underwater Channel. It's well worth clicking the full screen button bottom-left of the player, the quality is good enough for this. Running time 05:08. These are Tiger Sharks; note how relaxed they and the divers are. Maybe I should say that these guys are doing a number of things that I wouldn't: touching, feeding, hanging around the surface. Please don't make the mistake of thinking that seeing them doing it makes it OK. Remember what I said at the start, sharks are unpredictable.

For an introductory article about sharks, click the link below (Introduction to Sharks).

Contact Courtney

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