What should you do if sharks come too close?

Reviews of the JBL shark workshop are now online on the JBL website: www.jbl.de/en/expeditions: JBL Shark Workshop Bahamas 2018

The participants of the JBL Shark Workshop learnt what it was like to be surrounded by large numbers of sharks, to be jostled by them, to feel their cautious test bites, to see curiosity and caution in their behaviour and to understand them. It was a range of unexpected and unforgettable experiences. The well-known shark researcher, Dr. Erich Ritter, trained the 22 participants how to behave towards the sharks and how to interpret their body language.

There is a clip on You Tube of a recent shark attack on a diver in the Red Sea, in which all the diver’s mistakes are quickly discernible to the shark expert. There are too many divers in the water and the shark feels “surrounded.” The shark is no longer swimming calmly. It is swimming quickly and jaggedly. The behaviour of one of the divers is particularly erratic. He isn’t maintaining a vertical position and keeps looking away from the shark. This swimming behaviour indicates his nervousness and he will almost certainly have an increased heartbeat. This is what rouses the shark’s curiosity and causes it to attack from behind. This example clearly shows that dive guides need to brief their divers better beforehand.

The JBL shark workshop featured up to 20 very curious sharks and the participants learned to use their hands to guide (push) them to one side when they came too close. Dr. Erich Ritter has even tried this on 6 m long great white sharks - and it works! We can recommend Ritter’s SharkSchool courses to anyone interested in this topic.

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