There’s no better place on earth for tiger shark diving than at Tiger Beach in the Bahamas. It is the longest and most established tiger shark diving hotspot available and divers have been traveling there for 2 decades. While the tiger sharks are certainly the headliners, there are a number of other shark species. Reef, Lemon, Bull, Nurse, and Great Hammerheads all make appearances creating one of the best shark dives you can find!
The warm, clear waters of the Bahamas and shallow dive sites also make it an ideal shark dive for underwater photography. But don’t be fooled by the relatively easy conditions. There are a few mistakes we see commonly that can have big consequences. Here’s a list of the 5 most common mistakes we see while tiger shark diving in the Bahamas at Tiger Beach.
Most divers visiting Tiger Beach for the first time are shocked when they hear our instruction of how much weight to strap on for the shark diving. It’s not what you would normally think of coming on a warm water dive trip. You’ll just have to trust us. We recommend most people wear approximately 25 – 30 pounds of lead, depending on the thickness of your suit and your own natural buoyancy characteristics. For the most part, we’re not swimming around and the extra weight will help to keep you nice and stable on the bottom. If the current picks up, the added weight can mean the difference between enjoying your dive, having to abort the dive, or worse yet, getting carried off by the current.
Taking safety for granted
It’s true, shark diving in the Bahamas is incredibly safe. But that’s because the shark dive operators are paying close attention to the animals, the weather, the dive conditions, the divers, and the animals. We have specific protocols in place to ensure that everyone remains safe. We depend on divers doing their part at keeping safe, and first and foremost, that means following the rules. The most important thing is to never take your own safety for granted. If you are not going to look out for yourself, you should consider taking up another hobby. Not only are there the challenges of scuba diving (sea conditions, visibility, current, etc.), but you will be surrounded by very large predators that are not trained pets. They are habituated to our routine and things go smoothly when we stick to it. Please pay attention to your surroundings at all times and never let the sharks make contact with you.
That tiger didn’t go crazy, that tiger went TIGER!— Chris Rock
Okay, most people traveling to Tiger Beach in the Bahamas are coming with underwater cameras for the shark diving. We love taking photos too! You have to accept that no picture is worth an injury and remember to make safety your priority, not photography. If you have good situational awareness, the photos will come naturally and easily. You have to have excellent peripheral vision and judgement before putting on the blinders and focusing in on only one shark in front of you. Sometimes the closer shark, better picture, and bigger threat, is behind you. Don’t get tunnel vision. Regarding selfies, operators absolutely hate them. ABSOLUTELY. To take your attention off a shark that is behind you and close enough to consider taking a selfie is a dangerous move and won’t be tolerated. If you want a picture with you and a shark, ask a friend or crew member. More people are killed each year taking selfies than by sharks, but put the two together and it’s an accident waiting to happen.
Just Keep Swimming
No, STOP Swimming. For our typical shark dives such as classic Tiger Beach, there’s no need to swim around. It stirs up sand ruining visibility, confuses the sharks with commotion, divides everyone’s attention, and wastes energy. Stay solid on the bottom and enjoy the show, that simple. If you find yourself on a dive with strong current, this is especially true. Despite specific instructions in our briefings, we see divers struggle trying to swim against strong current to get back to the boat. This can lead to a very dangerous situation of fatigue, breathing down your tank with potential out of air emergency, and getting swept away. When the current is ripping, simply crawl along the bottom back to the boat when the dive is over. Remember to watch your air consumption and make sure you have plenty of air to make it back to the boat taking the current into account.
Tempted to Touch
The tiger sharks at Tiger Beach in the Bahamas have been in the game a long time. They are generally not too shy about getting close to divers. While we feel it is imperative to protect your personal space and never let a tiger shark touch your body, it doesn’t mean you need to touch or push away every shark that passes by. If a shark is not on a collision course, then there is no need to reach out and touch. It only creates potential danger.
Hopefully these quick tips help you to have a rewarding experience tiger shark diving in the Bahamas at Tiger Beach. The crew gives detailed instructions and goes over all the shark diving protocols in the briefing. Safety is our top priority and we’re proud of our shark diving safety record so far!