Main Menu
Join Undercurrent on Facebook

The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975 | |
For Divers since 1975
The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
"Best of the Web: scuba tips no other
source dares to publish" -- Forbes
September 2022    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 48, No. 9   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
What's this?

How to Avoid a Shark Attack

from the September, 2022 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

A rather silly story has appeared in the New York Post, explaining what to do if you are attacked by a shark while scuba diving. It tells of a 'steely-nerved' scuba diver who demonstrates a fool-proof method for defending herself against these man- and woman-eaters, gently fending off a slow approach by a tiger shark by simply redirecting it by pushing it away.

What's not mentioned is that it happens daily at Tiger Beach in the Bahamas and other places, but Hawaiian resident, Kayleigh Grant is using it to promote herself on TikTok. Tiger sharks move ponderously and are inquisitive, but they can be sneaky and creep up on an unsuspecting diver.

However, there are hundreds of shark species, and I think Kayleigh would be out of luck if she tried to do this with an oceanic whitetip, for example.

Sharks make a slow approach but can move with a sudden burst of speed. When in French Polynesia, I failed to see the moment a reef shark bit another diver because it happened in the fraction of a second that the mirror flipped up on my DSLR. I was photographing both him and the sharks. It happened that fast.

Shark expert Dr. Erich Ritter (RIP) was injured by a bull shark, witnessed by television cameras, in a similar attack that happened in a moment.

Kayleigh gives sound advice about not looking like prey in the water, but different species have different feeding habits and are attracted to different prey.

Tigers have catholic tastes when it comes to scavenging carrion, and when their bellies have been cut open, fishermen and scientists have found pots of paint, car tires, coal, unopened cans of salmon, small barrels, nuts and bolts, and boat cushions, according to Alessandro De Maddalena in his book Sharks, the Perfect Predator. So try not to look like any of these items.

I have been grabbed more than once and swum off with by a large tiger while photographing one and not paying attention to a second that sneaked up behind me and had a predilection for my scuba tank. No harm came to me, and I was twice saved by Stuart Cove, who simply pushed the animal off me. You can read about that and other experiences with sharks in my book Shark Bytes.

"What you actually want to do is not splash or turn around, face the animal, and maintain eye contact," Kayleigh, the TikTok influencer, advises, analogizing the technique to what you should do to prevent a bear attack. She explains, "With tiger sharks, you can place your hand on the top of their head, push down gently, and that will redirect them away from you."

To that, Stuart Cove would say, stay away from the sharp part.

- John Bantin

I want to get all the stories! Tell me how I can become an Undercurrent Online Member and get online access to all the articles of Undercurrent as well as thousands of first hand reports on dive operations world-wide

Find in  

| Home | Online Members Area | My Account | Login | Join |
| Travel Index | Dive Resort & Liveaboard Reviews | Featured Reports | Recent Issues | Back Issues |
| Dive Gear Index | Health/Safety Index | Environment & Misc. Index | Seasonal Planner | Blogs | Free Articles | Book Picks | News |
| Special Offers | RSS | FAQ | About Us | Contact Us | Links |

Copyright © 1996-2024 Undercurrent (
3020 Bridgeway, Ste 102, Sausalito, Ca 94965
All rights reserved.