Swimming with sharks is an adventure of a lifetime. Shark tourism generates about $314 million annually, according to SharkSider. When people hear “swimming with sharks,” they think of the great white shark from the motion picture Jaws circling around. The fact is, not all sharks have bad attitudes. As a matter of fact, some species are actually curious and friendly. Understanding simple rules about swimming with sharks will help you take the plunge and stay safe.
Slow and Steady Is the Name of the Game
Sharks are curious and would like to get a better look at you. If this happens, fully face the shark, but do not make sudden movements that can spook them. Move quietly without making jerky motions. Remember you are on the sharks’ turf and a guest, so you must follow the protocol they prefer.
Stay With Your Group
Sharks view a group of divers as one organism. It is safer if everyone stays together. It makes it more difficult for the shark to single out an individual if everyone stays together in the diving group. You should also keep a low profile when swimming with sharks. You never want them to feel threatened by your presence.
Leave the Shiny Objects Home
Sharks can see contrasting colors and can see shiny objects very well. They have keen eyesight that is tuned into noticing things that are different or shiny. They may mistake your wedding ring on your ungloved hand for shiny fish scales. Do not wear contrasting clothing or gear, and do not wear anything that can cause a reflective shine. You do not want negative attention from a shark.
Be Aware of Potential Risks
It is imperative that you become familiar with a shark’s behavior and how to recognize when a shark is becoming agitated or aggressive. If you notice a change in behavior that indicates the shark is becoming aggressive, slowly and calmly get out of the water.
Never swim alone. Always have at least one other person with you. Stay aware of your surroundings and where your dive partner is while you are swimming with sharks, so you can make a quick exit if you need to. Following these rules will ensure a successful adventure.