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10 Shark Diving Tips

  1. Learn from the experts.
    Ideally, the best way to go about swimming with sharks is to join an organized shark dive. Dive operators usually make available the services of a guide/shark expert, whose job is to provide safety briefs to participants. If, however, you decide to free dive with sharks, try to talk to the locals before doing so or get them to come with you.
  2. Do away with the bling.
    Shining, shimmering, and splendid, you may be, but underwater that equates to you looking like fish lure. Remember that you are not in a petting zoo, and that you are there to observe sharks in their natural habitat. So DO: Suit up, wear a helmet, and observe. And DON’T: try your damnedest to make these creatures think of you as their next meal.
  3. Avoid unnecessary movements.
    It’s natural to be nervous, especially when you’re in the presence of a predator. Though many shark species are actually timid, keep in mind that rapid movements can either frighten them into fleeing or startle them into launching a defensive attack. If you’re trying to get a glimpse, try to remain motionless and be a non-threatening part of their environment.
  4. Play the quiet game.
    In this case, less is really more. A splashy entrance can scare nearby sharks or worse, elicit a defensive attack. Remember that seals, sea lions, dead or injured fish – sharks’ favorite foods tend to concentrate on the surface and in mid-water. If for some reason you must surface while a shark is in your immediate vicinity, don’t lose sight of the shark and swim towards your pre-planned exit point.
  5. Know when to turn a blind eye.
    It’s official, sharks hate being stared at just as much as you or I do. Here’s the thing, if you want a shark to approach, batting your eyes won’t do the trick. Instead, use your peripheral vision and again, avoid sudden movements. The key here is to remain vigilant without being Captain Obvious.
  6. Open wounds are a no-no.
    Sharks, efficient hunters that they are, can detect even the smallest amounts of blood in the water from miles away. Call it 400 million years of evolution. If you’re bleeding in any way, it’s best to skip the shark diving altogether.
  7. Know your “enemy.”
    The enemy is our carelessness and ignorance. For a safe up close encounter with sharks, we have to do our research. The most dangerous sharks are bulls, tigers, Great Whites and Oceanic Whitetips. Bull sharks like murky water and attacks almost everything, while tiger sharks feed mainly at night. Great White sharks (read: Jaws) like to eat seals, while Oceanic Whitetip sharks are deep water predators.
  8. Get out of the water, it’s feeding time!
    Here’s the thing, when sharks get into a feeding frenzy, your chances of getting bit increases dramatically. Taking your chances doesn’t make you more macho, it just makes you, well, if not stupid then clearly lacking in common sense. Bottom line? Stay out of the water when it’s feeding time. Trust us, you wouldn’t want to find out if sharks can really discriminate between you and a school of friendly fish.
  9. To taunt or not to taunt?
    Definitely not. Heed your common sense and do not attempt to catch or prod sharks. Give them plenty of space and think twice before getting too close to them, even if you badly want a picture. Carrying a weapon such as a pole-spear or a spear gun is an option but do not, I repeat, do not provoke an attack or think that you can win against Bruce, Anchor, or Chum.
  10. Height versus length.
    It’s good to remember that sharks are more unnerved by height and length. So to reduce the chances of sharks perceiving you as a threat, try to reduce your vertical profile in the water. You can do this by crouching down (on or near the bottom) or by orienting yourself horizontally in the water column.

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