Shark Week: Essential Gear to Swim with the Fishes

Gear Guide — By Tyler Renaghan on August 6, 2009 at 11:36 am

Keeping with this week’s theme of Shark Week, I thought I’d put together a short list of essential gear to keep you safe while swimming with sharks!  Just because the late great Roy Scheider wrestled Jaws with his bare hands doesn’t mean we all can.  Check out these tips and stay safe my friends:

  1. Impenetrable Armour

    Impenetrable Armor

    Shark Suit – While it may look like Sir Lancelot’s armor suit, this medieval style protection, worn over a neoprene wetsuit will protect you from the razor sharp teeth of a hungry shark.  The tightly woven steel or titanium rings will prevent the shark from puncturing the skin, because some shark’s bites are so powerful, it is still possible to suffer broken arms and legs…but at least you’ll keep those sometimes useful limbs.

  2. Chum – If you’re going out to see some sharks, you’re going to need something to grab their attention.  Chum is the perfect solution.  Typically comprised of fish parts and blood, chum is the best way to tickle the taste buds of a starving shark.  NOTE:  Chumming is illegal in many parts of the world, so please consult with a professional before heading to the nearest beach with fish parts in your pocket.
  3. View from inside a shark cage

    View from inside a shark cage

    Shark Proof Cage – If checking out a shark from a boat is too boring and free diving with a tiger shark isn’t your idea of fun, then try taking a dip in a Shark Proof Cage for an up close and personal, and safe, shark experience.  Cape Town offer’s a fantastic SCUBA Cage Diving Experience, pretty much guaranteeing you a chance to go face to face with a Great White!  If you’re headed to South Africa for next year’s World Cup, take a break and have a swim with Bruce, the Great White in Nemo.

  4. Knowledge – Did you know, that if you flip a shark on its back, it goes into a near catatonic state?  The scientific term for this phenomenon is, Tonic Immobility.  Tiger sharks reef sharks are quite susceptible to being flipped on their back and paralyzed, but Great Whites…not so much.  If you find yourself in a situation where you’re feeling a little uncomfortable with a shark swimming nearby, just flip it on it’s back and swim away!  After all, knowing is have the battle.  (Actual results may vary)

This is just a short list of gear essentials and tips you should take with you when exploring the underwater world of sharks.  Be sure to check out the Discovery Channel for more info than you could ever imagine about sharks.

Have any other tips or suggestions?  Leave a comment below.

Chainmail photo by OZinOH/Creative Commons;
Shark cage photo by KTesh/Creative Commons;
Great White photo by david_salvatori/Creative Commons.
Tags: Cape Town, chum, great white, NileGuide, shark gear, shark suit, shark week


  • Alexi says:

    Also recommended: Fake shark fin to wear on your back. This one’s really a win-win, because either you fool the sharks into thinking you’re one of their own, or you scare the bejeesus out of your buddies on the beach/boat.

    And that’s always funny.

  • meredith says:

    hmmmm…# 4 not so sure of. I can’t imagine anyone being able to flip a great white over. I’ve heard of poking their eyes or fins out, which is a little more realistic. Also, I think you should add #5 a “buddy”… push in front of you so the shark eats them instead of you.

  • Lynn M says:

    My good friends swam with the sharks in a cage in Maui and enjoyed it, but my DH and BIL were just as jazzed when they swam by mistake with a shark in Kauai. They were having a scuba lesson at the Tunnels on the north side, investigating the caves in the morning – the whitetip reef shark was an arms length away in the cave but not interested in them. They talked about it for days!


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