Potenial Risks When Scuba Diving

People are often worried about the risks involved with scuba diving. Like with all sports there are inherent risks with scuba diving, however with the proper training and diligence scuba diving is one of the safer recreational sports.

Sharks

Usually when people think about the risks involved with scuba diving they think of sharks and shark attacks. Steven Spielberg did an excellent job of instilling fear in our minds with his 1975 movie Jaws, however the likelihood of coming in contact with a shark or any other large sea animal is actually quite small. This isn’t to say it is non-existent.

Scuba divers who brave the open waters on a regular basis should consider purchasing a Shark Shield. Shark Shields are a shark deterrent system that creates an electric force field around the diver which will scare sharks away so that they will never come close to you even if they are around.

Click here to read some frequently asked questions about sharks and shark shields.

Common Injuries

The more common scuba diving injuries include small cuts or scrapes from fish, coral or debris that you encounter whilst underwater. To avoid these minor abrasions scuba divers need to have great situational awareness of their surroundings and be sure to keep a mental note of the current direction.

Dangerous Times

The most dangerous stage of your scuba diving life will be before or during the early stages of your learn to dive training and certification. Extra care and attention should be taken while learning to dive to ensure that the risks associated with scuba diving are avoided at all costs.

A New and Different Underwater World

Scuba diving opens up the underwater world for you to explore, however the environment and temperature is different to the surface waters and can add dangers whilst diving. When scuba diving the change in pressure while descending can cause ear aches, however this is only a minor medical risk associated with scuba diving.

Other Risks

Not all the risks involved with scuba diving happen whilst you are out diving. The first thing you should do after scuba diving is clear your ears of any water otherwise you may cause permanent damage that could leading to a hearing impairment. Most scuba divers develop a somewhat compulsive habit of constantly clearing their ears.

So now you know about some of the potential dangers associated with scuba you shouldn't be discouraged and shy away from the sport. As mentioned earlier there are dangers associated with all types of sport and activities. Just remember that with proper training most of the dangers can be easily avoided.

Sharks

Do sharks attack humans?

Sharks attack humans very rarely; shark attacks on humans are extremely minimal in relation to how many sharks there are in environments we dive in. Any shark attacks on humans are usually cases of mistaken identity or an attempt to protect themselves.

How big can sharks get?

Sharks can grow in size depending on which species, they can be anything from small reef fish under a metre to harmless whale sharks that can grow up to over 6 metres.

How do you defend yourself against a shark attack?

There are many stories and techniques of how to fight sharks off, usually the best idea is to avoid the shark attack in the first place, have respect for them when you are in their environment and always dive safely in areas you know well.  Alternatively there are shark deterrents such as shark shields which produce an electric current which operates on a frequency sharks dislike, therefore deterring them.

Where in the world are sharks most common?

Again, this depends on what species of shark, sharks are found anywhere from the colder waters of northern America and Europe to hot tropical climates such as the south pacific and Africa.

Can sharks be found in fresh water?

The main known species of dangerous shark that can be found in fresh water is the bull shark, these sharks are scavengers, so can be found in river mouths and estuaries and have been found 30 to 40 kilometres up river.

What is the most dangerous shark?

There are conflicting views on what is the most dangerous shark in relation to humans, these include bull sharks, tiger sharks, and great white sharks, and although none of these sharks will intentionally attack humans they are just known as the larger and more aggressive of sharks.

What attracts sharks?

Sharks will naturally be attracted to any blood, or remains in the water but they are also very sensory animals so will be able to detect any panic whether it be human or other wildlife.

Can I dive with sharks in Southeast Queensland?

In southeast Queensland we are very lucky that there are many different types of sharks that use our waters as their habitat, in the winter, it is especially popular to dive with grey nurse sharks that migrate up the coast with the cooler waters. You can usually find bull sharks, carpet sharks, leopard sharks and wobbegongs to name a few on most dive sites in south east Queensland.

Is the shark population increasing or decreasing?

In countries such as Australia where conservation is considered extremely important you will find that shark numbers are growing, but sadly globally, shark populations are diminishing due to long line fishing, and increased popularity of shark fin soup in some cultures.

Is it likely to encounter a shark?

In Australian waters it is uncommon to encounter any large sharks when scuba diving, unless specifically diving in areas that they frequent. However, it is likely you will see smaller species of shark such as harmless leopard sharks, carpet sharks and wobbegongs.

Shark Shields

How long does the battery last?

Shark shields rechargeable battery lasts for up to six hours when fully charged.

How does it work?

Shark shields emit a small electrical pulse at a frequency that is sensitive to sharks; the pulse has a range of 5 metres and is emitted from an antenna that trails from the unit that is about 1.5 metres long.

Does it ever give you an electric shock?

Older units in the past had been known to give slight shocks however as the technology has advanced in general, users will feel very little effects. The only time you might feel anything is if you place your hand over the electrodes which may cause some stimulation of the surface muscles of the skin.

How much is a shark shield?

A shark shield retails at $595

Which one should I purchase the scuba unit or the free dive unit?

It depends on the application, if solely used for scuba diving, the scuba unit is advised as it is simply fitted to you tank. If you wanted to use shark shield for scuba diving and water sports in general than the freedom 7 is advised as it is more versatile.

Does it scare fish away?

no

Will it protect me from all types of sharks, including great whites?

Yes, all predatory sharks such as great whites, bull sharks, mako, grey nurse and hammerhead sharks just to name a few are repelled by the use of a shark shield. Some of the non dangerous species of sharks such as wobbegong, and carpet shark have their ampullae of lorenzini located in a different position to the predatory sharks and therefore are not as affected by shark shield.

Will it protect people around me?

The shark shield unit has a 5 metres radius so anyone within that area is protected.

Does the shark shield harm sharks?

The shark shield has undergone many tests by a team of marine biologists from South Africa whose research shows that the electrodes emitted from the shark shield causes a slight discomfort which does not leave any detrimental effects to the shark.

What is the depth rating of the shark shield?

The maximum depth for using a shark shield is 45 meters.