Egypt : 10 tips for diving with sharks in the Red Sea

Ahram Online, Saturday 11 Dec 2010

“Remember, you are entering the realm of highly evolved and perfectly adapted open-ocean predators who should be treated with respect and caution”, alerts a HEPCA report issued after recent shark attacks Sharm El-Sheikh


HEPCA or the Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association, a leading NGO in the field of marine and land conservation, has developed a list of ten tips to assist divers who choose to swim with sharks.

  • Feeding and baiting sharks is illegal across the Egyptian Red Sea. Do not enter the water if there is any sign of this kind of activity in the vicinity.
  • Only enter the water if you are comfortable with the situation and confident that you can stay calm.
  • Generally, sharks are more reluctant to closely approach groups of divers than single ones.
  • Avoid any quick, jerky or erratic movements. If you want (or need) to leave the water, do so in a calm and orderly fashion.
  • Try to avoid quick ascents, especially with a shark right below you.
  • Be aware that you are most vulnerable on the surface. So descend promptly after entering the water and watch your buoyancy throughout the dive.
  • Most shark species that are inquisitive enough for close approaches are found in open water, not along the reef. Staying next or retreating to the reef should help avoid a close encounter. If conditions allow it, surface next to the reef and wait to be picked up by zodiac.
  • Do not try to touch or in any way harass any shark. This includes not closing off an escape route for sharks you find underneath overhangs, in caves or crevices in the reef wall.
  • Do not be alarmed by a shark calmly circling you; just make sure you turn with it and keep it in sight
  • Stay alert and look around you from time to time to see if another shark is approaching you from behind/underneath/above. As predators, sneaking up on unknown objects is part of their natural behaviour.
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