In some far off exotic, crystal clear, ocean your name is being called. Come for an exciting, adventurous dive! It’s the kind of vacation most are too scared to dare.
I’m talking about a shark dive. It may sound outrageous and frightening at first, but there’s a lot you can do to ensure a safe dive.
First, a scheduled shark dive will always be with a trained and qualified crew. They will operate a boat with the appropriate equipment and facilities.
But don’t just select a company at random. Be sure you do your research first.
Things to consider…
1. How long has the company been around? Has the company been in business only a few months, a few years or more? Experience tells you that the company probably has a plan in place for emergencies.
2. What’s the company’s reputation? Google works wonders for this. Do they have problems with keeping appointments? Do they have a good safety track record?
3. Where do they operate and are they close to help? Obviously if you’re on vacation you’ll probably want to go someplace you’ll enjoy. You not only need to make sure they can operate near there, but that they also have a route to help if something should happen.
4. Is the crew qualified? Do they have solid experience? Are they medically trained? Do they have qualified dive masters on board? Are they properly licensed? Do they carry liability insurance or any other kind of bonding that may be required in their area?
5. What kind of equipment do they operate? Most will operate a boat and a shark cage. How big is the cage and how current old is it? What kind of amenities do they offer on board the boat? Do they offer enough wet suits to comfortably fit your party?
6. What kind of photography do they allow? Some companies will handle photography for you, others will have a place where you can take some yourself. Make sure this matches your style. If you’ll be going in the water you’ll not only want an underwater camera but you’ll probably want to bring a friend that can sit above and take pictures from the surface too. Sharks tend to be surface feeders so you’ll get a lot of good photos from above.
7. What are their rates? Are their rates affordable and competitive? I’ve seen prices vary from a few hundred a day to a few thousand a day depending on the scale and quality of the encounter.
They’ll know where to go and how to get the sharks attention. When you get there make sure you follow any instructions you’re given. Keep the weather in mind too, sudden shifts in the weather can make diving hazardous and may preclude you from being able to go on your scheduled day.
Most places will run thru a basic training program with you if you’re planning to dive. This will cover how the breathing apparatus works and some basic information about shark behavior. Some places may require you be a qualified scuba diver, so be sure to ask for that ahead of time and assure that you meet the qualifications as necessary.
Once you do go underwater you’ll be in for an experience few will ever experience. But exercise some common sense too. Don’t poke or grab approaching sharks. Once the shark is swimming beside the cage you can sometimes reach out and pet it, but be careful and keep your hands and feet inside the cage whenever you’re uncertain.
But most of all… have fun! Once you get relaxed you’ll begin having a lot more fun.