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The Ultimate Guide to Shark Diving

Where to dive with sharks and how to get the most out of this heart-pounding encounter.
By Alexandra Gillespie | Published On August 9, 2020
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The Ultimate Guide to Shark Diving

Plunging headfirst into water teeming with the ocean’s apex predator is most people’s nightmare; for divers, it’s a dream we’ll save for years to afford. What can we say? We’re just wired differently.

Whether you’re planning your first shark dive or your fiftieth, there are a few things to ask yourself: What kind of sharks do you want to see? Where in the world do you want to dive? Do you want to go cage diving or in open water? How do you feel about dives where the sharks are fed? Do you want to spend your time admiring sharks, or becoming a shark citizen scientist?

Get Ready, Get Set...

Once you’ve set your priorities, make sure you prepare. Scuba Diving magazine has a host of resources so you’ll be set before getting on the boat:

  1. Make sure you’re ready to dive with sharks by running through this checklist: Thinking About Shark Diving? Here's How To Know If You're Ready. You've got to be certain you'll still like the idea of a shark when you’re face-to-face in their territory!

  2. Then, check out our tips for scuba diving with sharks safely. (Pro tip: avoid colors that could get you mistaken for a fish). A successful shark dive is grounded in respect that the animals do not aim to hurt you, but accidents happen, so you need to approach the encounter with maturity.

  3. If you want photos to make the trip last a lifetime, read up on the best ways to get good shark photos. When you’re done, share your favorites with us on Instagram using #ScubaDivingMag!

  4. Finally, ensure you know how to get the most out of your shark dive experience! Simple things like mastering your buoyancy will help you enjoy the encounter infinitely more.


You’ve done your research and honed your photography skills. Now that you’re ready to take the plunge, explore our guides to diving with nine different kinds of sharks around the world:

two blacktip reef shark

Blacktip reef sharks are small—they usually top out at five feet and 30 pounds. Santa Maria
Great White shark pokes nose in cage during diving

Found in temperate waters, great whites usually weigh 5,000 pounds—the only ocean animals that pose a threat to it are orcas and larger sharks. Kotouc
Close up shot of a lemon shark's head

Named for its uniquely yellow tinge, the lemon shark lives in shallow waters like coastlines, corals and mangroves. Wiktor
An underwater photographer hovers behind a bull shark.

Bull sharks live around the world in warm, shallow waters and have no natural predators.
A sand tiger sticks its head into a coral tunnel.

A sand tiger will go to the surface to gather air that it stores in its stomach, allowing it to float motionless in the water to watch for prey. Pircher
A mako shark swims through the ocean.

This endangered shark lives in tropical waters and loves to chow down on cephalopods. Walter
Two hammerheads circle near the frame with a school of fish in the background.

Hammerheads tend to school during the day, an unusual habit for sharks. They consider stingrays a delicacy. Rush
A diver photographs a whale shark.

The world’s largest fish was recently categorized as endangered on the IUCN Red List. Preferring the open ocean, it has occasionally been recorded to dive up to 5,900 feet deep. Odziomek
A tiger shark swims low to the sand.

Second only to great whites in the number of recorded shark attacks on humans, a tiger shark would still prefer a sea turtle to a diver as an afternoon snack.

If you’re interested in more of shark diving’s greatest hits rather than seeing a specific species, check out the 25 best places to go scuba diving with sharks! (No cage required.)

Not enough adrenaline for you? Then have you considered night diving with sharks?

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