Shark Week: Swimming with the sharks in Florida

 

It’s Shark Week again! This year marks the 30th anniversary of Discovery Channel’s decision to dedicate seven days of programming to exploring the ocean’s most infamous aquatic predator. While many people are content to sit at home and just watch videos of sharks on their TVs or computers, you may be feeling a bit more adventurous. After all, being a traveling nurse means diving into experiences that most don’t get the chance to indulge.

Now, obviously if you’re in Wyoming or Nebraska, you may not have direct access to sharks (in which case we recommend going to an aquarium to see one in person). If you’re stationed in Florida, however, you’re in real luck! According to Florida Shark Diving, the sunshine state is home to the best shark diving in all the U.S. and some of the most incredible experiences found anywhere on the globe.

However, diving with sharks isn’t anything like your average swim. If you’re going to undergo this amazing encounter, it’s best to thoroughly prepare yourself ahead of time. While sharks aren’t the monsters that movies make them out to be, they can be dangerous wild animals – and you’re swimming on their home turf.

Knowing when to dive
For starters, diving safely around sharks means swimming at a time when most aren’t feeding. Sharks are largely nocturnal feeders, they are more aggressive and more active during the night. So, unless you’re an expert diver in a well-equipped group, don’t go diving with sharks after sunset.

However, nighttime is not the only period when you should be avoiding sharks. Dusk and dawn are periods of transition. For sharks, it is when they either begin or conclude their hunting activity. As Shark Trust pointed out, this can cause even disinterested species to behave in an aggressive manner. Larger sharks sometimes venture closer to shore during these times as well.

Going with a group
You can’t be too careful with sharks, especially if you’re not an experienced diver. Going with a group is the best way to guarantee your safety. Florida offers a plethora of shark-diving services. We recommend reading the reviews beforehand so that you know you are working with a group of trained professionals.

If you want to play it very safe, the Florida Aquarium offers in-house diving services that allow you to swim with sharks in a completely monitored environment.