Diving with sharks – Everything You Want to Know

Diving with sharks? Such a dive is always accompanied by excitement and an accelerated heartbeat. For most divers, the mere possibility of meeting a shark is already exciting, and it is very common to choose places where you can meet these majestic predators.

Of course, there are also those divers who are not fond of encounters in the deep with sharks. So what is the first association that comes to mind for most of us when we hear the word “shark”? The melody and images from the movie “Jaws” for a very long time caused sharks to be perceived, and often still are, as bloodthirsty beasts.

What is it like diving with sharks?

What does this look like in reality? Sharks are born killers, they deal with their victims quickly, agilely and dispassionately, but unprovoked attacks on humans, and thus on divers, are extremely rare or almost nonexistent.

Shark in the ocean

Experienced divers, as well as those who deal with sharks, know very well that the common perception of sharks, precisely that from the movies, is completely false. These animals are obviously wild and dangerous, and humans would theoretically not stand the slightest chance with them. So why, when faced with a more or less real threat, do we choose to come into close contact with sharks?

The answers are many, of course, as each of us is driven by different motivations. One of the most obvious would be the notorious adrenaline rush that many seek in various areas of life on the edge. Others should be sought in the human desire to push the limits of one’s abilities.

My motivation is the desire to interact with sharks in their natural habitat. Ideally, this would be in the least frequented reef possible. Encounters with these animals are among the more interesting ones, the ones with a thrill, because in the end you don’t know how the individual will behave. It is known, of course, that you should not start your first ever dive with an encounter with sharks….. Leave it for later. And start your diving adventure with Discover Scuba Diving.

Is shark diving dangerous?

When we start the adventure of diving, everything seems complicated, and a higher level sometimes seems unattainable. However, with experience everything turns out to be easier and easier, until finally we dive at the level we dreamed of. The same is true of exploring the underwater world in the company of predators, because the relationship between humans and sharks is not at all as obvious as it might seem.

Diving with sharks expedition costa rica
Snorkeling with sharks

And here is the place to make it very clear that sharks do not eat people. Despite movie visuals and comic book exaggerations, sharks do not eat humans.

All the situations you’ve heard about where a shark has attacked a diver or surfer are purely due to mistakes and are not intentional. This is due to the imperfect body structure of sharks. They have very poor eyesight and must rely only on their sense of smell and electroreceptive abilities, which allow them to detect changes in electric fields.

Diving accidents with sharks

Despite the bad reputation they have gained in movies or on television, sharks are generally not cannibals. Most species are not dangerous to humans – with the exception of the most predatory ones, such as the white shark and the tiger shark. Sharks feed mainly on fish and, compared to crocodiles, for example, are quite predictable in their behavior.

They do not attack other individuals for fun. So far, only a few isolated cases of shark aggression against humans without provoking the animal first have been reported. Even in open water, these animals generally do not show aggression towards divers. In 2017, a total of 155 cases of shark attacks on humans were reported, but only in 3 of them the victims were divers.

Statistically, the most at-risk group of athletes are surfers and swimmers. It is interesting to note that although water sports are practiced by almost as many women as men, the victims of attacks are overwhelmingly men. Could it be that testosterone, like blood, can also be sensed from a greater distance?

scuba diving with sharks
Scuba diving with sharks

Safety when diving with sharks

Scuba diving is a generally safe form of recreation, and we have already talked about general safety in scuba diving on our blog. In addition to these general rules, when preparing to dive with sharks, it is worth familiarizing ourselves with guidelines for our behavior when interacting with a predator.

Do not touch the sharks, make sudden movements, run away or swim towards them. Above all, stay calm and observe their behavior, and keep your hands to yourself. Despite the fact that sharks practically do not attack humans at all, general caution should be taken in their company.

We can also list several factors that can increase the risk of accidentally attacking a person, these include:

  • bright, light-colored clothing.
  • cuts – sharks can smell blood from a great distance.
  • diving at night – sharks feed between dusk and dawn
  • low visibility
  • diving alone or in a very large group – it is safest to dive in pairs.

Shark Cage Diving

Cage diving with sharks is a fairly popular way to admire these predators. Popularization is, of course, fostered by the media and movies, in which cage diving is often shown as an incredibly extreme sport. And the truth is that you too can try this type of diving and enter an underwater cage surrounded by sharks.

There are several places in the world where tourists are offered to dive with sharks in a cage. Only that a human sits in the cage, and the shark swims up to look at us. It looks a little different than in a zoo. In any case, the solution offered by dive centers, allows you to undoubtedly feel much safer in the presence of a predator.

shark cage diving tour
Shark cage diving

The diver enters the cage, the cage plunges underwater on a strong rope. In front of the cage the sharks are attracted by dripping blood fragments of fish to swim up and taste. Sometimes such a shark will swim up to the cage and check its tightness and the thickness of the bars. Sharks are curious and this should also be kept in mind. Even more so, it is better to keep your hands close…

Scuba diving with sharks – let’s recap

Diving in itself is very exciting and has really a lot to offer. It’s not that you have to do extreme things, dive deep or swim among huge sharks. There is something for everyone in scuba. However, if you dream of seeing these large predators up close, then by all means do it, and it will surely remain in your memory forever.

It is also not as dangerous as the mass media paints it. It’s just that when diving with sharks, you should follow the rules and use common sense. But first, find a good dive center that has experienced guides and knows how to deal with sharks. Have fun!