Worldwide Shark populations are being slaughtered on an unprecedented scale and Shark Reef Marine Reserve is one of the few places left where one can regularly observe several species, some of which in impressive numbers.
Some of the Sharks you will observe are rightly considered to be largely harmless, like the Tawny Nurse Sharks, the Whitetip Reef Sharks, the Blacktip Reef Sharks and even the Sicklefin Lemon Sharks which we have found to be extremely placid despite of their size, reputation and teeth-studded grin.
You will be diving without the protection of a cage and in close proximity to the animals.
Accordingly, one of the most-asked questions we are being asked is: how safe is it?
Safety is our main concern and we believe that we have devised a set of procedures aimed at preserving the unique experience of being with the water with these charismatic animals whilst making The Shark Dive as safe as we possibly can – both for you, our valued customer, but also for our feeders who interact with the Sharks on a daily basis.
These procedures include:
• All clients must participate in our detailed and exhaustive Dive Briefing where we explain the dive site and dive, our procedures and where we address any questions and concerns.
• All participating divers must be fully qualified and divers with less than 30 open water dives must be specially supervised by one of our Dive Masters.
• We shall allow no more than 20 customers on any such dive.
• The Shark Dive is essentially a show where you will be led and positioned to witness the feeders interacting with the Sharks. We do not allow personal exploration and all participants are required to observe the same dive profile and bottom times.
• By the same token, we do not allow any personal interaction with the Sharks. When conditions permit, selected clients will be escorted closer to the Sharks in order to enable them to capture images. The decision to do so resides exclusively with us and each client will be supervised by a member of our staff.
• Everybody is required to wear dark, full body wetsuits and black gloves (provided by us) and all shiny or brightly coloured gear is not allowed.
Our rules are being constantly reviewed and adapted to new insights or changing conditions.
As an example, the ever increasing numbers of Bull Sharks have prompted us to re-design the layout of the “Take Out”, to change the feeding routine whereby the feeder is now flanked by “bodyguards” and to completely discontinue the routine of letting anybody position himself in the “pit”. That location is now exclusively reserved for professionals, and that only on “mellow” days.
Shark Diving however is not SCUBA diving and will always carry a special risk that cannot be excluded by even the most stringent safety measures. You will be diving with wild and potentially lethal predators and the unexpected can happen at any time.
Whereas we shall do our utmost to always try and keep you out of harm’s way, it will ultimately be your decision, and thus your assumed risk, to engage in this potentially dangerous activity. You will be required to act responsibly, to remain vigilant and to alert us to any problematic situation that may arise.
We have blogged extensively about our protocols, Shark diving and the complex issue of feeding and conditioning Sharks and we invite you to go and read those posts for more about diving with sharks.
About our procedures: Diving with Sharks
About baiting, feeding and conditioning: Pundits and The same old Allegations
About Shark diving: Quo Vadis, Shark Diving?
About diving with macro predatory Sharks, also: Totally agree!
About interactive Shark dives: Touching the Sea and Stupid
About our newest procedures: Swamped!
About the Shark Diving Industry, also: Bon Appetit!