Avoiding and surviving a shark attack

If confronted by a potential shark attack, stay calm as possible. Sharks are curious creatures and will often investigate you then leave without incident.

If the shark becomes aggressive, possibly rushing at you, back hunched with it’s pectoral fins pointing downwards – exit the water as soon as you can. maintain eye contact at all times and ascend with your buddy partner back to back.

If an ascent isn’t possible, position yourself against the reef or structure that may be available, so the shark attack can only come from the front.

However an overwhelming majority of divers do not see the attacking shark before it strikes. It is dangerous and foolish to assume that just because you can’t see any sharks swimming close by that there are none in the area and that you are safe from a shark attack. In some cases an attacking shark will strike a diver only once, inflicting a devastating bite, leaving the victim to bleed and weaken. Only then will it come back to devour its prey.

Stealth and surprise are its greatest weapon as a shark may only have one opportunity to bite the diver. Because once a diver realizes he is bitten, survival mode kicks in and he will do anything possible to escape from the shark attack.

So if the worst happens and you are the intended victim of a shark attack, fight back as violently as you can. Fend it off using anything you may have, a camera, dive knife, torch, speargun or your hands if nothing else is available. The eyes and gill openings of a shark are very sensitive – poke or claw these areas and try to inflict damage.

Once the shark attack has ended, exit the water as quickly as you can and be aware that with an aggressive shark a repeat attack is likely.

Copyright © Al Dickman 2006 About us