While people are slowly starting to embrace the fact that great white sharks don’t deliberately hunt or even like the taste of humans, it’s still incredibly important to ensure that people know how to avoid a shark attack. Often mistaken for seals or finding themselves in the middle of a hunting frenzy, people often find themselves in dangerous situations when misinformed or simply ignorant. When it comes down to it, knowledge is power – especially when dealing with nature; the best way to get yourself to safety and avoid danger is to know when you’re at risk.
If you’re planning on going shark cage diving in Gansbaai, it’s likely that you’ll be under the safe and watchful eye and expertise of a professional and accredited shark cage diving company. You can assure your safety by listening to your tour guides and ensuring that all your limbs are within the safety of the cage at all times. Don’t try to touch the sharks or tease them by sticking a hand in front of them. They are incredibly fast and will be tempted to bite you.
While people shark cage diving in Gansbaai will be in the safety of a steel cage, the same cannot be said for surfers, snorkelers and swimmers. Take the below tips into consideration to keep yourself safe:
- When the shark siren is going off, get out of the water immediately. While this might be a given, there have been far too many cases in South Africa where people have remained in the water and been attacked.
- If you are in dangerous waters, remain in a group; sharks are more likely to attack an individual than a group.
- Remain calm if you encounter a Great White Shark – panicked and erratic moves are likely to increase their curiosity, drawing them closer to you or even sending them similar signals to that of distressed or injured prey.
- Create a barrier between yourself and the shark. Use a surfboard, paddle, camera or even fin to separate you from it.
- Always alert others around you if you see a shark. They’ll be able to get themselves out of the water or understand what’s happening should there be an attack.
- If you come across a great white shark while scuba diving, stay as motionless as possible on the bottom of the ocean until the sharks move on. Stick together in a group.
- Only surf at beaches with shark spotters and familiarise yourself with their different flags and symbols so that you can be aware of any potential danger.
While these tips will keep risk at bay and help you avoid an attack, there are hundreds of other theories and tips which could potentially save you from danger. Great white sharks are incredibly clever; don’t try to outwit a shark – rather stay in the clear from the get go than try to avoid an attack. If in doubt, opt for shark cage diving with a professional company or steer clear of the beach when shark spotters have raised the alert. Use information and knowledge to your advantage and you’ll be safer than sorry.