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shark attacks kayak

As shark populations bounce back, here’s how to be safe

Now, after years of conservation efforts, shark populations are bouncing back in the Pacific Ocean. That’s leading to more run-ins like the one that took place Sunday in Newport Beach.

“Basically two generations of Americans had unfettered access to the ocean. We eliminated all those predators 50 to 100 years ago and now that they are protected, they are coming back.”

There’s a lot we don’t know about white sharks, but thanks to scientists like Lowe who have studied their behavior and tracked their movements, we have some tips for avoiding shark encounters.

    1. BE SHARK AWARE:
      First, remember we share the waters with lots of creatures, sharks included. Since shark numbers were so low for so long, most of us aren’t use to looking for sharks. Keeping an eye out for them and thinking about risks is the first step in safety, says Lowe.

    1. STICK TOGETHER:
      Sharks tend to avoid heavily populated beaches. Sure, choosing to swim with the crowds might disrupt your solitude, but it’ll likely keep sharks away as well.

    1. AVOID EARLY MORNING AND NIGHT SWIMS:It’s nice to hit the waves in the early morning or evening, but if you are worried about sharks, you might chose another time of day. Lowe says these hours are when the greatest number of incidents occur.

    1. DON’T SWIM WITH SEA LIONS:Sea lions are a favorite meal for white sharks. If you are in waters near a clan of sea lions, chances are good there’s a white shark near by. Same goes for seals. It’s best to swim somewhere else, so you don’t get seen as another tasty snack.

If you see a shark, you should watch its behavior, Lowe says.

If it’s aggressive, say circling or coming close to swimmers, people should leave the water and warn a lifeguard. However, in many cases, Lowe said sharks will simply swim off on their own.

Source: As shark populations bounce back, here’s how to be safe | 89.3 KPCC

Have a read about an area utilizing drones to prevent shark attacks.

Lion fish envenomation

Lionfish Stings – Treating | iDive Blog

Here’s a great list of recommendations for dealing with a lionfish sting. As the invasive species continues to flourish in the Caribbean, diver’s are finding themselves running in to these guys a bunch. While we’re supposed to wipe them out (since they’re invasive), they are mesmerizing to look at and photograph. Typically, they’re well behaved and most cases of stings have completely understandable defensive reasoning by the lionfish. In other words, either people are being careless or hunting the lionfish. Either way, this quick read will give you some guidance to deal with it should you find yourself faced with the problem.

Lionfish Sting Guidelines

  • Remain calm. Notify your dive buddy and immediately terminate your dive.
  • Moment of lionfish sting, a diver can immediately start trying to squeeze or “milk”the venom out of stung area. This has helped other divers lessen the amount or distance of the venom spread. The diver can do this while signaling the other divers and while ascending.
  • Ascend slowly, observing all decompression stops, and surface as soon as possible.
  • Remove any foreign material such as lionfish spines. Add pressure to the wound to try and squeeze out the venom. Rinse the wound with clean water.
  • Soak wound (30 minutes) in heated, non-scalding, water as soon as possible. The lionfish venom is protein based and is neutralized by the hot water thus preventingthe protein from moving into the blood stream. The hot water is quite effective for controlling the pain.
  • Call 911 as soon as possible. The operators have all been instructed and are familiar with medical protocol for lionfish stings. They will immediately initiate preliminary assessment and treatment.
  • If not close to medical care, one could take BENADRYL (Antihistamine) and IBUPROFEN (Motrin or Advil). (Anti inflammatory). Medication will not only reduce the pain but more importantly reduce the swelling that can pressure the arteries, veins, and lymph ducts shut cutting off the bodies vital healing process to the area of the sting. The more swelling that occurs, the greater the wound and skin in the area suffers, turning grey as the swelling persists. The immediate care can dramatically reduce the damage to the affected area after a lionfish sting.
  • Monitor vitals, circulation, airway, and breathing. Lionfish victims commonly go into shock.
  • Your 911 operator will direct you to the appropriate medical facility. Get there as soon as possible.
  • No lion fish envenomation should ever be underestimated. Pain can be significant and secondarycomplications much more so. Get them treated to avoid any complications.
  • Additional information for your injury can be accessed by calling:DAN Emergency Hotline (+1-919-684-9111) orNon Emergency (+1-919-684-2948)

The injuries can be serious, and if there is hand involvement, special medical attention may be required.

lionfish sting

Learn more about lionfish envenomation and see more photos at:11 Recommendations for Treating a Lionfish Sting | Cayman Islands Diving | iDive Blog

Liked the information in this article?  Check out our blog on Jellyfish Stings.

diver faces charges in dive buddy's death

Diver faces charges in dive buddy death.

diver faces charges in death

A British scuba diver is fighting extradition to Malta where he faces charges of killing his partner and their friend during a holiday.Stephen Martin was diving off Gozo in June last year with eight friends.

This seems to be a crazy story. Stephen Martin wad diving with friends when he says that his dive partner and girlfriend of 5 years suddenly and unexpectedly dropped from a depth of 49 feet down to 114 feet. He quickly descended after her with another diver, but when they reached her, she was unconscious and limp. The second diver apparently panicked and ended up dying as well, although those details are unclear. Mr. Martin, who is a SCUBA instructor, brought his girlfriend to the surface and began administering rescue breaths. She was apparently foaming at the mouth and cyanotic (blue in color). Although he was an instructor, Mr. Martin was simply on holiday with friends; he was not conducting any form of SCUBA training and was not even serving as a dive master/leading the group.

Legal papers show that a Maltese investigating magistrate had concluded that Mr Martin was “negligent in his obligation” to keep a close watch on Ms Hooley, did not realise she had got into difficulties, failed to give first aid while under water and failed to check the weather forecast. Mr Martin is under night-time curfew and is banned from leaving the UK, but is supported by one of the world’s leading authorities on diving incidents.

It seems his extradition was approved by authorities in the UK and he will need to go to Malta to face charges in their deaths and up to 10 years in prison. He is currently appealing the extradition, with much support on his side.

I couldn’t imagine being in this position! What are your thoughts? Feel free to comment below and let us know what you think.

Source: Diver faces extradition over partner’s death in sea | The Times

strong currents at tiger beach

Tiger Beach Bahamas: When Currents Rip

Occasionally, the currents at Tiger Beach Bahamas can get pretty strong.  We try to plan our dives when the current is mild, but conditions have been known to change in a matter of minutes. Because the scent trail is moving fast, it can lead to some pretty amazing dives, but there are a few extra special considerations.

strong currents at tiger beach

Tigers line up in the strong current. Notice he sargasm on the bottom and how quickly the divers bubbles are carried away from them!

Weights.

extra weight tiger beach bahamasWe suggest packing on the pounds while diving at Tiger Beach Bahamas. It may be a strange concept for some, but an average of 20 – 30 pounds of lead is typical. Most of our dives are static, meaning that divers are positioned on the bottom and need to stay in place for the dive. When currents pick up, underweighted divers turn into tumbleweeds and can find themselves in some pretty precarious situations. Because the dives are shallow and subject to surface surge and occasional strong currents, there’s really no downside to carrying some extra lead. We know that once divers are done discussing how little air they breathe and how long a tank lasts them, the next thing to brag about is how little weight they wear. Forget that concept for diving Tiger Beach! Nothing will drain you tank faster than fighting against the current to keep your position on the bottom.

Moving Around.

As already mentioned, the dives at Tiger Beach Bahamas are generally static and divers should stay put once in position on the bottom. When it’s necessary to move, there’s definitely a right and wrong way to go about it if the currents are moving fast. We suggest dives stand and walk backwards along the bottom. This keeps your eyes focused down current which is where most of the shark action will be. It’s also very difficult to swim against the current in full SCUBA gear, wearing all that extra weight and possibly carrying a camera. This is especially true at the end of the dive, when your tanks are already low. Take a calm, leisurely stroll back to the boat rather than a tiring swim.

Ascending.

There’s two ways to do this: The easy way, and the hard way. Typically, the currents are running from the bow to the stern of the boat, especially when it’s moving fast. We suggest divers walk backwards along the bottom to about the midpoint of the boat. Once in position, make sure the dive ladder is free and begin your ascent from this point. While going up slowly, the current will pull you to the stern and you should meet the ladder as you surface. Nice and smooth! Ascending directly below the ladder, or worse yet, just popping up and trying to swim to the ladder, is a recipe for disaster. By the time you reach the surface, you could be quite a distance away from the boat. If this happens, hopefully you didn’t drain your tank in the struggle and can drop back to the bottom and start over. The boat will be anchored with other divers below and cannot simply unhitch to go pick you up. We always put out drift lines as a backup in strong currents, but divers should be aware of the proper technique for returning back to the boat.  Here’s a quick video showing the technique:

Tiger Beach Bahamas

divers alert network dive accident insurance

Do you really need dive accident insurance?

We highly recommends that divers carry DAN or other equivalent dive accident insurance for our dive expeditions in the Bahamas.  Our diving at each location is far from complete medical care and all but minor injuries would require evacuation off island for treatment.  Having dive accident insurance can be a huge money saver, as well as a life saver.  Here’s some information from DAN.

Do I really need dive accident insurance?  I have primary medical coverage

Your primary medical insurance may exclude scuba diving as a hazardous recreational activity and/or may not provide coverage when you are traveling out of the country. If it does provide coverage, it may pay only a minimal amount for chamber treatments. There are also often large out-of-pocket payments for deductibles and co-pays. These alone can total thousands of dollars.

The DAN Dive Accident Insurance Plans are recognized worldwide and can be confirmed 24 hours a day through the DAN Emergency Hotline (+1-919-684-9111). The DAN plans provide secondary coverage of up to $500,000 and pay 100% of eligible expenses.

What do Dive Accident Insurance Benefits Cover?

Medical Dive Accident Coverage

Covered charges include the reasonable and customary cost of medically necessary services and supplies provided for the care and treatment of a Covered Diving Accident when prescribed, performed or ordered by a Physician. This includes:


    • Hyperbaric Chamber Treatment

    •  Physician’s Charges for Hyperbaric Chamber Treatment medical care and surgical operations

    •  Ambulance transportation by ground, air or marine ambulance services to the nearest Hospital or Hyperbaric Chamber where prescribed care or treatment can be given

    • Hospital charges

Accidental Death and Dismemberment

This coverage is for loss resulting from a Covered Diving Accident.

Permanent & Total Disability

Permanent Total Disability must result from a Covered Diving Accident. Permanent Total Disability means that an Insured Person is unable to perform the substantial and material duties of any occupation, if employed, or if retired, all of the normal activities for a person of like age and sex in good health.

Extra Transportation Costs

If an insured person is prevented from using their purchased ticket to return home based on the written advice of the attending Physician because of a Covered Diving Accident, the coverage pays for the cost of transportation for the return trip home.

Extra Accommodation Costs

If an insured person is delayed from returning home based on the written advice of the attending Physician because of a Covered Diving Accident, the coverage pays the cost of extra accommodations for the duration of the delay.

Loss of Diving Equipment

Coverage is for diving equipment that is worn on the diver’s person that is “cut loose” and is lost or damaged as a result of a Covered Diving Accident. This coverage excludes watches, torn straps or buckles, or photographic equipment.

DAN also offers dive trip/travel and equipment insurance which is also a great idea.  This type of coverage could help recover costs from lost diving days due to luggage or flight delays, damage and even inclement weather.

Looking for more information on Dive Specific Insurance coverage?  Check out this post on Dive Travel Insurance, which provides coverage for travel and weather related trip interruptions.

tiger beach brian skerry tiger shark

Shark Diving Safety Tips & Tricks

Shark dives can be some of the most rewarding and thrilling underwater experiences for divers. The Bahamas national marine sanctuary, established in 2011, is home to a huge number of shark species. Divers have incredible opportunities to experience relaxed diving in calm, crystal clear, warm water. Epic Diving offers expeditions focused on Oceanic Whiteitp Sharks, Tiger Sharks, and Great Hammerhead Sharks. The dive format is different for each species and location. Here are a few of the general concepts to keep divers safe while on one of these seafaris. A more detailed shark diving and boat safety briefing are given on each expedition.

Keep calm.

This is the single most important thing divers can do to ensure their safety. Sharks have an extra sense, one you and I don’t, and it’s sole purpose is to pick up on the distress signals given out by sick, dying, or injured animals. Anxiety mimics many of these signals and could clue a shark into that fact that you, in particular, are standing out from the crowd. Ensure all your equipment is in good working order before your trip. Complete a full buddy check before entering the water. Ensure that you are calm, rested, and hydrated before starting the dive. Alert your divemaster if you will need extra attention or anticipate any problems.

Keep Calm. This is the single most important thing divers can do while shark diving to ensure their safety.

Dark Dive Gear.

This is not the time to try out your brand new fluorescent pink dive fins. Shark divers should get in the habit of wearing all black gear. Avoiding the high-contrast color schemes is best. Divers should leave all jewelry behind, as it may create a flashing glint of light that excites the sharks. We require all divers to wear full wetsuits (no shortys or plain bathing suits permitted) as well as warm water dive gloves. Hoods are recommended, but not required. Long hair should be tied back.

Do not chase after the sharks.

Dives at tiger beach and for the great hammerhead sharks are mostly stationary dives were guests kneel on the bottom and stay put. Dives with the oceanic whitetips are typically done as a open/blue water drift. For either scenario, we encourage divers to sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. There is no point to swimming after the sharks. While guests tend to do this to get closer to the sharks, this behavior only results in chasing the sharks away. Staying calm and quiet is the best way to experience the sharks up close. Also, this often leads to divers getting fatigued and burn through their air more quickly.

Surface with enough reserve in your tank.

We expect all divers to return to the boat with a minimum of 500psi/50bar in their tanks. In some cases, there may be strong current and divers are often carrying heaving dive gear and cameras. Although you may be having the best scuba dive of your life, plan to return to the boat with enough air to allow for a calm, slow, safe ascent.

Whether your encounters are on SCUBA or just freediving, these simple safety precautions can give you a better experience underwater. Pay attention to the dive crew and boat captain at all times for updates on dive conditions, weather, and all safety concerns. Please let the crew know if you’re not feeling well or need extra assistance during your shark dive. The staff is available to help if you ask. More thorough briefings will be given on location. For more information including helpful tips preparing for your shark diving expedition, visit us online at www.EpicDiving.com or email your questions to [email protected]

Shark Diving

Interested in diving with some amazing shark species? Click here to learn more about our Bahamas shark diving expeditions.