I've Dived With Sharks Over 40 Times — Here's What I've Learned

Hey, I'm Marisa! I have a passion for snorkeling and diving and have dedicated the past few years to exploring the world of sharks. In 2020, I had a life-changing experience during a family trip to Mexico where I encountered 30-foot whale sharks. This encounter sparked my desire to push my limits, and I started seeking opportunities to dive with every shark out there. If there was a shark near me...I was swimming with it!

Three people in scuba gear on a dock. A woman in the center wearing a pink tutu guard looks up and smiles. A man in black scuba gear stands next to her
Marisa Martinez / Via BuzzFeed

During my first dive with a tiger shark, I had to redirect the shark and, in my mind, I confidently pushed her away. In reality, my hand was shaking and I may have almost cried. It took some time to become accustomed to these amazing creatures, but along the way, I've gained valuable knowledge.

Divers photograph a shark swimming under a large boat in clear blue ocean water
Marisa Martinez / Via BuzzFeed

Throughout my shark diving journey, I've gained some insights that have not only increased my understanding of sharks and their behavior, but have also made my diving experiences safer and more fulfilling. Some of the discoveries even surprised me!

A shark swims while smaller fish swim near the shark
Marisa Martinez / Via BuzzFeed

Here are some of the most useful things I've learned while swimming with sharks.

1.Sharks Are Very Curious

A single shark swims gracefully toward the camera in clear ocean water

When humans enter a shark's habitat, it's common for these creatures to display curiosity and approach to investigate. Therefore, it's not unexpected if a shark swims up to greet you and perhaps even bump into you. Sharks have no boundaries!

Marisa Martinez / Via BuzzFeed

2.Learning How To Redirect A Shark Is Important

A scuba diver encounters a large shark underwater; another diver with a camera is in the frame

When redirecting a shark, it's crucial to push down and away from your body, rather than pushing up on their head, which would cause their mouth to open! By pushing down, you can guide the shark to swim around naturally.

Marisa Martinez / Via BuzzFeed

3.You Shouldn't Wear Yellow Or White When Diving With Sharks

Divers, equipped with underwater cameras, are photographing sharks swimming around them underwater

The vibrant colors in the water, like yellow or white, can attract sharks as they often associate these hues with brightly colored fish. Due to this association, sharks may occasionally mistake yellow or white fins for potential prey.

Marisa Martinez / Via BuzzFeed

4.When Diving With Sharks, Get In The Water ASAP

A large shark swims underwater in a clear blue ocean

Sharks are extremely curious creatures. They won't give you time to check if your gear is ready or if you are prepared. You need to be alert and aware of your surroundings once you're in the water. The key is to look down immediately so you can have a good view from all angles.

Marisa Martinez / Via BuzzFeed

5.Don't Splash And Look Like Prey

A person swims with a shark and several smaller fish

6.Maintain Eye Contact With Sharks At All Times

Scuba divers interact with sharks underwater

It is important to assert your dominance and appear large to the shark by maintaining eye contact and following the shark with your body and eyes. Following the shark all the way through until it swims away is vital, since it can quickly turn the second you drop eye contact.

Marisa Martinez / Via BuzzFeed

7.Be Aware

Two scuba divers swim underwater among several sharks. One diver is in the foreground, and another is farther back. Bubbles and fish are seen in the background

8.Keep Camera Equipment Detached From Your Body

A scuba diver swims underwater near a large shark, appearing to reach out as the shark approaches. Bubbles rise from the diver's breathing apparatus

9.Don't Look For Shark Teeth Where The Sharks Were Just Fed

A hand holding two small, white shark teeth against a light-colored wooden background

It's exciting to discover a shark tooth. If you're searching for shark teeth, it's crucial to limit your search time to a few seconds at a time. Staying alert is one of the most important tips for shark diving, so looking for teeth shouldn't be your main focus.

Marisa Martinez / Via BuzzFeed

10.If You Want To Dive With Sharks — Start With Whale Sharks

A large whale shark swims gracefully in deep blue water, accompanied by a smaller fish swimming close by

The whale shark, a gentle giant of the sea, is undisturbed by human interaction. Despite their imposing size, these magnificent creatures are slow swimmers, allowing for safe and amazing interactions. Many dive companies offer guided experiences, ensuring a memorable swim with them.

Marisa Martinez / Via BuzzFeed

11.Sharks Recognize People — Especially The Shark Feeders

Multiple fish, including a shark, swimming in deep blue underwater scene, with sunlight filtering from the surface above

12.Check In On Your Dive Buddies

A view from a boat deck at sunset with scuba diving equipment in the foreground and the ocean extending to the horizon

13.Remember, They Are Predators

A shark swimming in the ocean over a sandy seabed

14.Lastly, Don't Be Afraid!

Scuba diver interacts with a shark on the ocean floor

Would you ever dive with sharks? Let me know in the comment section below!