Coming Across a Shark While Diving

Divers are much less likely to get attacked by a shark than certain other individuals in the water.  But there are still a few things that you should take into consideration if you are planning a dive.  There are several things to look out for if you are looking to avoid a shark during your dive, and there are several things to look out for if you find a shark while snorkeling, we’re going to explain them below!

Pay attention to where you are going to be diving.  You should know the environment that you are choosing to dive in.  If there are birds or dolphins around, that usually means there is food for them, which mean there is likely blood from their food near.  This will attract sharks, if they aren’t already there. 

Make sure the area you are diving in isn’t murky and doesn’t have low visibility.  This includes dusk, dawn, and night swimming.  Many sharks are crepuscular, and feed at night.  Sharks are much more likely to inspect moving objects in water by taste rather than eyesight in these conditions. 

If you do see a shark during your dive, it’s important to know what kind of shark you’re interacting with.  So know the species that are native to the area you are going to be diving in.  If you do come across a shark, keep still, breathe, back away using any reef or rocks as cover.  The more motionless you can become will often allow a shark to lose interest or satisfy its curiosity and leave you alone.

If you come across a shark while diving, allow it to approach and investigate you on their own terms.  Never chase a shark, this can scare it away or make them panic and defend itself, as it might perceive you as a threat.  Remain calm and try to remain as calm and motionless as possible.  Avoid eye contact, but do not lose sight of the shark.  Even when the shark leaves, be sure to remain alert.

Observe the sharks behavior if you come across one.  If a shark is swimming in a fluid manner and its body is relaxed, then the shark should be at ease.  A shark that circles or approaches while relaxed is more than likely curious.  If the shark’s movements are jerky, sit’s pectoral fins are held stiffly downward, and an arched posture or generally increased muscular tension, the shark is agitated.  Increase the distance between yourself and the shark and remain as still as possible, allowing it to relax and most likely go back to what it was doing before noticing you. 

If you approach the shark, touching or grabbing its tails or fins is the fastest way for its behavior to change, and one of the easiest ways to get attacked.