Scuba Diving with Sharks: what to do

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Scuba Diving with Sharks and Reef Life

Here in Hawaii, our oceans are filled with life. The bright colors of fish and coral bring people from all over the world to scuba dive with us. One of the most desired underwater interactions is also one of the most feared: sharks, or mano in Hawaiian. Here in Hawaii we have lots of kinds: gray reef sharks, galapagos sharks, blacktip reef sharks, sandbar sharks, tiger sharks, whitetip reef sharks, even great white sharks, whale sharks and scalloped hammerheads! Except for the whitetips and galapagos, sharks in Hawaii tend to avoid humans. Scuba diving with sharks is actually a rare experience. 

Shark Attacks?

Bull Sharks, Oceanic white tips, blue sharks, silvertips and makos which do attack humans are not encountered around Hawaii’s shallow reefs where you’ll be diving. Most victims of shark attacks are surfers, fishermen and spearfishermen. Since 1995 there have been zero shark attacks on scuba divers in Hawaii. When diving with us at Hawaii Eco Divers, you should feel safe. Ask your divemaster or instructor about sharks if you’re nervous. 

Instructions for Encounters

But if you do see one, here’s what to do. Stay calm and maintain your position. Enjoy the experience!  You get to be with one of earth’s most beautiful predators. Stay with your group and give the shark its space. Sharks are curious, but if they get a little too curious it might be time to exit the water. 

If it’s making rushes at you, hunching its back, swimming in a rapid zigzag course or rapidly up and down, back up against a structure, reef or rocks, reducing the angles at which a shark can approach you. In the case you’re open water diving, ascend slowly with your partner back to back. If you’re shore diving, descend to the bottom to find cover. Keep your eye on the shark and do not panic. Research has even shown tank banging repulses them. Safety is our priority at Hawaii Eco Divers and we can tackle any problem in or out of the water. You’ll never have to worry with us.

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