Choosing an Operator

Guidelines For Choosing A Shark Diving Operation

shark diving

Shark Angels does not certify diving operations, and it is not our place to organizationally pass judgment or dictate what is right or wrong in terms of method. Like all dive environments, each situation has any number of variables (species, conditions, location, timing, frequency, amount of sharks, etc), and responsible and capable operators are experienced with managing these conditions. However, the key here is responsibility – for both divers and operators.

Part of that responsibility, as a diver, is making an educated choice regarding the operation you choose to dive with. Rather than providing a redundant list of best practices for operators (that most likely already employ), we've compiled a list of considerations to help divers differentiate between operations that may be more thorough in their preparedness than others.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Dive Operator:

• How long have they been operating in the area? What kind of infrastructure do they have? (Ideally the operator should have a long history with the species and area – and not operate temporarily.)

• What is their safety history? Any incidents? What were they? (Dive operators should be open and also have a good record of responsibility and respect.)

• Are they operating in the areas that protect sharks and/or benefiting local communities?

• Do they follow all local and national regulations regarding feeding, protected species, marine protected areas, diving, tour operations, etc?

• What types of diving do they support? Freediving, scubadiving, etc?

• Do they operate with or without cages?

• How many divers do they typically take – and how many dive guides?

• What level of certification and experience do they require?

• Do they prepare their divers thoroughly prior to diving with sharks? Ensure their divers not only know the risks involved, but are also taught how to behave and how to respond in various situations so as to minimize the likelihood of a negative incident? How?

• Do they provide an extensive briefing about the behavior of the species divers can expect to / or may see on the dive, as well as all procedures and rules?

• Is there structured, accurate, balanced shark education and conservation information available to customers before and after the dive?

• Do they instill a healthy respect in their divers for sharks as wild animals and ensure they remain vigilant while enjoying their dive?

• Are divers, freedivers or snorkelers properly kitted? What do they consider that to be?

• What conditions are divers taken out in? Are divers taken out in conditions that are borderline? For instance, very low visibility or very dangerous weather.

• Is the entire staff is well trained with strong knowledge of their local environment and shark behaviors?

• What are the qualifications and experience of their guides? Are they responsible, highly experienced and trained to manage respectful shark interactions while making sure that divers follow all instructions? What are their certifications?

• How do they interact with sharks? They should not engage in behaviors that are harmful, agitating, or unnecessarily disruptive to sharks. These could include inducing lunging onto or into boats, poking or prodding sharks, taunting, etc.

• What are others online who have gone out with them saying about them?

• How do they attract sharks? Do they use responsible baiting and chumming techniques?

• Do they bait in areas where mixed-use activities in the water occur?

• Do they take care in choosing their bait and avoiding the use of any threatened species – including other sharks? Do they take measures to avoid directly feeding sharks with the bait?

• What are their rules and regulations for the dive?

• Are they environmentally respectful? Do they actively participate in the regional protection of local shark species and marine habitats? How and what groups do they support?

• What is their marketing material like? Avoid operators who use the "Jaws" myths to target adrenaline junkies and instead support operators who market respectful and non-invasive shark interactions.