Shark Diving for Beginners: 6 Need-to-Know Safety Tips
Shark diving is one of the best ways to get up close and personal with sharks to appreciate their beauty. At Epic Diving, we take safety very seriously, so our divers and the sharks are protected. Responsible shark diving is important for preserving shark populations in the Bahamas and helping you have the most enjoyable experience.
Our experienced guides are always prepared and in the water to keep you safe. We’ve compiled a list of safety tips for scuba diving and shark diving for beginners to help you feel more prepared and comfortable when you enter the water.
Steady Your Breathing
One of the most basic scuba diving safety tips you’ll learn is to keep breathing steady and normal. Holding your breath while diving can cause serious damage to your lungs. You need to keep your breathing steady while diving because it allows excess air to escape your lungs. Otherwise, you can risk lung injury, such as pulmonary barotrauma, as a result of pressurization.
As you ascend and descend in the water, it causes your lungs to expand and contract. When your lungs expand during ascent, the excess air in your lungs needs to be released. Holding your breath while diving prevents the excess air from escaping.
Becoming excited or even slightly panicked when you see sharks while diving is normal. The important thing to remember is to remain calm. Panicking or excitement can put you in a dangerous situation if you’re unable to keep it under control.
Panic can cause humans to act irrationally and make it easy to forget essential diver safety protocols. Staying close to a diving buddy can help relieve some of the stress or nervousness you may have if you’re a shark diving beginner.
Even if you get excited about seeing sharks, you should remain relatively still. Quick movements can stir up sand, reduce visibility, and confuse sharks. Let yourself enjoy the experience by remaining calm on the bottom. This will also help you preserve energy needed to ascend safely.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Shark diving in the Bahamas is an amazing immersive experience that allows you to explore the wonders of the sea. Staying focused should be one of your top priorities when shark diving. You can still enjoy your entire experience and take all there is to see in while being aware of your surroundings and your own safety.
Some shark species rely on stealth to ambush prey. Always keeping an eye on sharks in the area can help reduce the potential risks of this type of behavior. Sharks are also curious creatures and may approach divers entering the water.
Turning your back on sharks could potentially put you and other diving buddies at risk. This is why staying with your diving buddy or group is also important. Extra sets of eyes are always helpful in scanning the area, and you can help alert others of potential dangers.
Keep Track of Your Air
Don’t forget to track your air supply! Managing your air supply is crucial for ensuring you have enough air to make it back to the surface. Planning your dive is a key part of air-supply management.
A common diving safety precaution to ensure you’ll have enough air is the rule of thirds. You’ll want at least one-third of your air saved for a safe ascent. Another third should be used while you’re adventuring.
The final third should be saved as a reserve if needed. You’ll need extra air just in case you need to ascend slowly, stop, or give air to a fellow diving buddy in need. This is a standard rule of thumb for cave diving, but it’s also useful for other types of diving.
Wear Proper Shark Diving Gear
Wearing bright-colored clothing should be avoided when shark diving. Dark scuba gear should be worn when diving with sharks because it prevents you from standing out to sharks. Although most sharks are colorblind, they can still see the contrast in color. Bright, neon-like colors can pique a shark’s curiosity.
Sharks might be more inclined to investigate divers wearing bright colors. For safety, jewelry should also be left behind when shark diving. Light reflecting off the jewelry metal can entice sharks and possibly confuse them into thinking it’s food.
Know Common Shark Behaviors
It’s important to remember that you’re entering a shark’s habitat when you’re shark diving. Learning about sharks’ common behaviors can help you better understand how they feel when you’re in the water with them. Sharks display certain body language as warning signs when they feel threatened or are about to attack. Common shark threat displays include lowering of the pectoral fins, hunching its back, and over-exaggerated swimming. Staying aware of your surroundings and keeping your eye on the sharks is important for assessing their behaviors and for your safety.