A random shark encounter whilst out freediving in the open water can be one of the most thrilling experiences of your life. However diving with sharks has inherent risks and the shark encounter can quickly become dangerous if you don’t behave correctly. Adreno have compiled a list of tips for dealing with unexpected shark encounters.
Make sure you are prepared
What types of sharks you are likely to encounter in the location you are freediving? Make sure you know the types of sharks you’ll be diving with and their behaviour. The ocean is more dangerous than most shark encounters so it’s important to dive within your limits.
Use common sense
Under no circumstances chase, corner, poke, attack or attempt to touch the shark as it’s a wild animal and will defend itself if it thinks you are going to harm it. When diving with sharks it is best to let them approach you and instigate the shark encounter. In most cases if you ignore them, they will ignore you.
While this should go without saying, NEVER feed or bait a shark during a random shark encounter or whilst diving with sharks as it will change the shark’s behaviour and could make it aggressive towards you.
If a shark is acting aggressively, however, a forceful poke to the nose will often surprise and deter it from further action. Yelling and blowing bubbles at the shark is also a useful tactic. But remember that you should only show aggression if the shark is displaying signs of aggression first, as it may otherwise cause it to act out in self defence.
Alternatively, Adreno sells shark shields which will give you confidence when spearfishing in sharky waters as the electronic pulse released from the shark shield will deter the shark to coming closer than 6m.
Never lose site of the shark
While diving with sharks make sure to never lose site of the shark and keep alert even after the shark has left and the shark encounter is over as there is a chance it will return.
Stay together and always dive with a buddy
Sharks usually see a group of divers clustered together as a single, larger entity which makes the shark nervous.
If you or your buddy is bitten
Obviously, get out of the water as quickly as possible. Your float line may be used as a tourniquet to tie off on the person above the bitten area, thus restricting blood flow. In many cases, such action has stopped bleeding enough to save the person’s life.
Try to have fun
Above all, enjoy the experience. You will almost certainly remember the shark encounter long after the shark has forgotten you.