Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Back to Captain's Blog

What To Do If You Encounter Sharks While Snorkeling

a fish swimming under water

It’s no surprise that a shark is one of the most dangerous creatures one can encounter in the ocean. That’s why it’s important to know what to do when snorkeling in case something like that happens to you. In this article, we’ll provide you with helpful tips and information so that you can keep yourself safe while enjoying the snorkeling experience.

What Should You Do If You See Sharks While Snorkeling?

Even though shark attacks in Kauai are not common, the possibility of you being attacked still exists. In case you detect this dangerous fish approaching you, do the following to prevent an attack while in the water:

Go For the Nearest Safety

Going for the nearest safety doesn’t necessarily mean heading toward a beach; you can also swim toward a coral rock or sandbar. It’s difficult for a shark to easily attack you on very shallow ground.

Swim Rhythmically

This can’t be an easy thing to do, but it’s worth trying if you are able to make smooth movements. Splashing can make you look as if you’re in distress, increasing the chances of being attacked.

Minimize Seabed Movement

Depending on how far safety is, it can be better for you to dive off and go along a seabed to a shallower ground if possible. These fish can see you much easier on a surface, making vicious attacks more likely.

Defend Yourself

In case you are lucky enough to have some kind of weapon with you, then great, you’ll be well-prepared for the attack and can make the fish go away. It can be difficult to read its body language if it’s your first time encountering it. In this situation, the best thing you can do is to punch a snout or the areas around the eyes or gills since they are the most sensitive areas for this fish.

Attack the Shark’s Eyes

Animals usually stop doing what they are doing or immediately flinch once their eyes are attacked. The three most likely shark attacks are the attacks of the bull, the tiger, and great white sharks, all of which have eyes in the same relative place. The eyes on all three of them are halfway along their jawline and six inches above. This means that stabbing and punching in this general area can cause the fish to reconsider the current course it has.

How to Minimize the Chances of Being Attacked by a Shark

Avoid Swimming Near Fishing Boats

Fishermen often throw cut-up bits of the fish overboard, which can attract sharks feeding on fish and seals, both of which are attracted to this area.

Don’t Swim Near Dolphins And Seals

Since dolphins, seals, and sharks are attracted to the exact same prey, anything that attracts dolphins and seals also attracts this dangerous fish. In other words, the presence of seals and dolphins may mean sharks are nearby.

Don’t Wear Reflective or Shiny Items

Items such as jewelry or watches reflect light well, which can seem like a distressed animal to the shark. So make sure to avoid wearing the watch or jewelry while snorkeling.

Consider Group Snorkeling

If you stay within a large tour group, the chances of being attacked are far less likely because sharks don’t usually attack large groups of people. This means that staying close to your fellow snorkelers can give you the protection you need.

Don’t Swim During Low Visibility

Bad floods and weather may cause turbulence in water which can limit visibility, allowing the shark to approach you without you being aware of it.

Don’t Consistently Swim on the Water’s Surface

Many people have been attacked on the surface while snorkeling, which makes it the most dangerous place for snorkelers. Try diving down to a seabed occasionally to break up this pattern.

Avoid Snorkeling During Dusk

When it comes to feeding, a bull shark has its own preferential timing which is around dusk. So be aware once the sun goes down.

Final Thoughts on Shark Encounters While Snorkeling

Even though the chances of encountering a shark while snorkeling is quite slim, it’s nonetheless important to know what to do if you are faced with such a situation. The tips mentioned above can help you avoid that danger so make sure to keep them in mind while exploring the coral reef.

Experience the Hawaiian Reef Safely with Kauai Sea Tours

Our favorite location in Kauai to go snorkeling is off the Na Pali Coast! Our team will take you to some of the best places around the gorgeous Na Pali Coast to see the coral reef and go snorkeling. We even provide the snorkeling gear and extra safety tips.

With a team that’s passionate about creating incredible adventures in paradise, we’re excited to explore the Napali Coast with you. Contact us about snorkeling next to the Napali Coast and exquisite dinner boat tours below the cliffs, and more.

  • Posted in: