Do Sharks Attack Scuba Divers? The Truth About Shark Attacks: Rare but Possible




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Ever wondered if scuba diving puts you on a shark’s dinner menu? Despite popular beliefs, attacks on divers are extremely infrequent, with only 3% of all shark attacks involving them.

In this article, we will delve into the misunderstood world of sharks and scuba diving, and debunk myths surrounding these majestic creatures. So stick around for an enlightening dip beneath the surface!

Key Takeaways

  • Shark attacks on scuba divers are rare, with only 3% of all shark attacks involving them.
  • Mistaken identity is a common factor in shark attacks on divers, as sharks may confuse them with their preferred prey like seals or sea lions.
  • Sharks do not intentionally target scuba divers as prey and are more curious than aggressive towards humans.

The Truth About Shark Attacks on Scuba Divers

Shark attacks on scuba divers are rare but possible, often occurring due to mistaken identity rather than intentional aggression.

Attacks are rare but possible

Shark attacks on scuba divers do happen, but they’re very rare. Your chance of being bit by a shark is only one in 136 million. Out of all shark attacks, just 3% involve scuba divers.

Most sharks are not looking to eat humans. They hunt near the top of the water and sometimes mix up people for prey like seals. Shark bites usually happen when sharks get too curious or when people feed them.

So while you could face a shark attack while diving, it’s not something that happens often.

Mistaken identity is a common factor

A scuba diver explores an ocean near a seal colony, capturing wildlife photography in a bustling atmosphere.

Sharks are known for their keen sense of smell, which helps them locate their prey. However, sometimes they mistake scuba divers for something else. This is because the shape and size of a diver underwater can resemble that of a seal or sea lion – one of their preferred meals.

Sharks rely on visual cues too, so if a diver is wearing equipment like fins or wetsuits that resemble these animals, it may trigger an attack response from the shark. It’s important to note that sharks do not intentionally seek out scuba divers as prey; they simply misidentify them due to similarities in appearance.

Sharks do not view divers as prey

A scuba diver explores a vibrant coral reef, capturing underwater photographs with high-quality equipment.

Sharks do not think of scuba divers as tasty prey. They are not interested in eating humans when they go diving. Sharks have their own preferences for food, like blubbery seals and fish.

Humans are not on their menu. So if you’re out scuba diving, there’s no need to worry that sharks will see you as a meal. They simply don’t view divers as something worth hunting.

In fact, the chances of being attacked by a shark while scuba diving are incredibly low. Shark attacks on divers are extremely rare – only 3% of all shark attacks involve scuba divers specifically! The odds of a diver getting attacked by a shark are about 1 in 136 million.

That means it’s more likely to win the lottery than be attacked by a shark while diving!

Tips for Scuba Divers to Avoid Shark Attacks

Scuba diving is a thrilling adventure that allows you to explore the underwater world. While shark attacks are extremely rare, it’s important to take precautions to ensure your safety. Here are some tips for scuba divers to avoid shark attacks:

  1. Dive in groups: Sharks are less likely to approach a group of divers as they prefer solitary prey. Stick together with your fellow divers and maintain a close formation.
  2. Avoid brightly colored gear: Sharks may mistake bright colors for their natural prey, such as fish. Opt for neutral or dark-colored gear to avoid attracting unnecessary attention.
  3. Don’t wear shiny jewelry: Reflective objects can catch the attention of sharks and potentially trigger their curiosity. It’s best to leave any shiny accessories on land when you go diving.
  4. Stay calm and relaxed: If you encounter a shark during your dive, it’s crucial to remain calm and avoid sudden movements. Sharks are more likely to be curious than aggressive, so maintaining a calm demeanor can help de-escalate the situation.
  5. Respect their space: Keep a safe distance from sharks and avoid touching or chasing them. Remember that they are wild animals and should be observed from a respectful distance.
  6. Be aware of your surroundings: Stay vigilant during your dive and keep an eye out for any signs of shark activity, such as sudden fish behavior changes or unusual water disturbances.
  7. Follow local guidelines: Different dive locations may have specific rules or recommendations regarding diving with sharks. Familiarize yourself with local regulations and abide by them for your own safety.


A diver and a shark peacefully coexist underwater, captured in a stunning wildlife photograph.

In conclusion, while it is possible for sharks to attack scuba divers, these incidents are extremely rare. Sharks do not view divers as prey and most attacks occur due to mistaken identity or when sharks are baited.

By following safety guidelines and understanding shark behavior, scuba divers can minimize the risk of shark encounters and enjoy their underwater adventures safely.


1. Are shark attacks on scuba divers rare?

Yes, shark attacks on scuba divers are rare but possible, whether they’re a school of divers or a solitary individual.

2. Do sharks show overtly aggressive behavior towards scuba divers?

Not all sharks show overtly aggressive behavior towards scuba divers. However, great white sharks and tiger shark attacks have been recorded.

3. What can influence a shark to attack while I am diving?

Factors like provoked and unprovoked actions of the diver could bring about a response from the shark’s defense mechanisms leading to attacks.

4. Is it safe to go scuba diving in waters known for sharks?

There are risks in diving in such waters, however understanding shark behavior during scuba diving and taking proper safety precautions can greatly lower the danger.

5. How do I prevent encounter with a Shark while Scuba Diving?

Knowing tips such as avoiding areas where there have been records of previous encounters or attack incidents can help prevention.

About the author

Tony is a Scuba enthusiast and has published many works on Scuba Diving. He created ScubaDiveCentral to share fascinating insights into the captivating world of scuba diving from a place of passion and integrity.

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