Enjoy the unique chance to dive with these animals
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. That's why Sharkproject has some recommendations that we would like to give you.
We are happy to support you so that you know how to encounter a shark and assess the situations correctly.
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 ignorantly filmed near sharks. Accidents happen at a devastatingly low rate relative 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
- A good guide will tell you at the briefing which sharks to expect and how to behave.
- If you are diving with sharks, a good guide will tell you about emergency procedures. This should be mandatory at the first briefing anyway, even without sharks!
- If your hobby is photography or filming, ask your buddy or guide to keep an eye on you. But still keep the all around view and not only the "camera view".
- Keep the respect, sharks are wild animals. Touching is a no-go! Just like harassing or feeding.
- Turn around regularly and look behind you. Quickly the shark can be there unnoticed, but just as quickly gone again. Even if none are visible.
- Put on gloves, a head hood, and dark clothing with no contrasts when diving with large sharks that are attracted to fish bait. This is because light contrasts could easily be mistaken for prey.
- Don't touch or approach the bait, even if that's where the action lures for good photos.
- Leave the water when open feeding or hand feeding.
- Stay away from the scent line. (Watch the current line!)
- If a shark swims toward you, stay calm, maintain eye contact and turn with it as it circles you. Assume a vertical posture.
- Sharks always swim forward, they cannot reverse.
- Stay with your group and keep such a small distance that a shark cannot swim in between.
© Christine Gstöttner
For snorkellers, swimmers and bathers
Be aware of your surroundings and do not snorkel in areas where there are large sharks if ...
- ... sharks are attracted by fish in your snorkeling area (e.g. by anglers, at piers where fish waste is thrown into the water or where kitchen waste etc. might be dumped into the sea, e.g. by safari boats).
- ... there is a river mouth nearby and the water is turbid and agitated.
- ... Sharks are baited or fed for divers.
- Practice your fin stroke to avoid splashing sounds at the water's surface.
- No matter with or without fins: Make sure you glide through the water like a mermaid. Splashing is interesting to sharks, like wriggling prey.
- Snorkel together with your buddy.
- It is advantageous if you wear or have with you swimming goggles/diving mask with snorkel, so that you can observe the shark, what it is doing and where it is. Here applies: Keep eye contact.
- Find out about possible currents and avoid them. The sea has an enormous force and can drive you into the open sea.
© Christine Gstöttner
- Do not surf in areas that are shark hunting grounds. Seal, sea lion territory or schools of fish.
- Shark feeding areas for divers should also be strongly avoided.
- River mouths, anglers or fishermen nearby may attract sharks, so also avoid them.
- Murky, choppy water with surf can irritate sharks' senses. Therefore, it is also not recommended to surf there.
- We recommend to take swimming goggles with you.
- If you are tired and need a break, do it completely on the board. Do not let extremities hang in the water.
© Christine Staacks
Remember when there's a shark near:
- Enjoy this unique encounter.
- 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.
© 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