Enjoy the unique chance to dive with these predators
Encounter with sharks
Consider yourself lucky if you get to meet a shark and enjoy the majestic sight! You will be thrilled! Nevertheless, never forget that the shark is a predator, and we dive into its element. We at Sharkproject would like to support you so that you know how to encounter a shark and assess the situations correctly.
Therefore, we would like to give you some recommendations to take with you into the water.
Many fears arise from ignorance about the shark. But the shark is definitely not a “man-eater”, otherwise it would not be possible to do so many water sports in the sea. There are many aerial photographs taken of beaches where bathers were unknowingly filmed in the vicinity of sharks. Accidents are devastatingly few in relation to the millions of water sports enthusiasts. More people are killed by other people than by shark accidents.
- Minimize shark accidents. The past has shown that often after shark accidents the animals, even those not involved, were hunted senselessly. This can go so far that any shark sighted is killed immediately.
- Relaxed encounters with sharks
- Ease fears of the shark
- Being able to correctly assess and know swimming patterns and behaviour
- Recognize dangers
© Christine Gstöttner
- Follow the dive briefing carefully and ask questions if something is not understood.
- Find out which shark species you might encounter and what behaviour the animals usually show in this region. The guides are usually very knowledgeable about the dive sites and their animals.
- Find out about emergency procedures. Insist on a safety diver when feeding, especially if you are photographing or filming.
- Never lose respect for the sharks. Be cautious and alert.
- Regularly do the look-around and also watch what is going on behind you. Even if there are no sharks around. They appear quickly, but are gone just as quickly.
- Take the right equipment with you: for shark feeding, a distance stick or a large camera housing. Wear gloves, a bonnet and all-black clothing without contrasts. Reason: strong contrasts can be mistaken for food during feedings, as fish meat is also light-coloured.
- Do not try to injure a shark with a knife, you will fail. An injured animal can become unpredictable and aggressive.
- If a shark approaches you directly from the front, stay calm and try to adopt a vertical stance. Keep eye contact with the shark and turn with it as it circles you.
- Remember: Sharks do not have reverse gear!
- Stay in the group. A close group of people has an intimidating effect on sharks.
- Always keep your distance - even if the macro shot of the bite on the bait box is tempting.
- Do not crowd sharks or touch them
© Christine Gstöttner
For snorkellers, swimmers and bathers
- Never snorkel in areas where sharks are being fed, directly or indirectly. Direct includes areas where sharks are fed with bait. Indirect includes around liveaboards (sharks attracted by kitchen waste), off estuaries (fish attracted by food washing ashore) or anglers or fishermen operating in the area (bait or light prey).
- Avoid splashing, clumsy and noisy movements, so train your fin stroke, with or without fins.
- Always snorkel or swim with buddies.
- Take the right equipment with you: Contrasts and colours don't matter here, as snorkelling is generally not done in feeding areas. But if you are still afraid, take a distance stick or a large camera with you. This is mainly for your own peace of mind.
- Swimmers/ bathers must wear swimming goggles or, like the snorkeller, a diving mask with snorkel so that the shark can be observed.
- Do not swim in areas where there is a strong current moving into the open sea (danger of drifting).
© Christine Gstöttner
- Never surf in areas where shark feeding for divers takes place or where sharks are natural hunting grounds (seals or schools of fish).
- Also avoid indirect feeding areas (estuaries, anglers or fishermen nearby).
- Avoid murky water, as the sharks' senses may be irritated due to poor visibility.
- Contrast and colour of clothing do not matter, as surfing is generally not done in feeding areas.
- Equipment: it makes sense to take or wear swimming goggles. Use an electronic defence system.
Recommendation for breaks in the sea: keep the body and extremities on the board. Do not let any parts of the body hang in the water.
© Christine Staacks
- Stay calm, don't shout or fidget.
- Do not swim away - this is how prey animals behave and you become interesting for the shark.
- Always watch the shark and turn with the body if possible.
- Do not lose respect
- Enjoy the power and beauty of the animal!
© Kurt Amsler
Publications & Guides
ADORE SANE, swim-on pattern according to Dr Erich Ritter
SSI Shark Diver Specialist
Hands OFF — Campaign and guide to dealing with sharks
Diving Guide, Egypt in 8 languages
2014 – 2021
Blind Dates — The Big Book of Shark Encounters
Gerhard Wegner and Christine Gstöttner