Swim Safely & Responsibly!
Best Practices to Swim with Whale Sharks


Whale sharks are the biggest fish in the sea. With some of them measuring over 18 meters, getting to swim with them is commonly at the top of most divers’ bucket lists. Although whale sharks are not considered aggressive or a threat to humans, it is important to remember that they are still a wild animal. As a result, it is important to follow some guidelines when you swim with them, so you can keep yourself and them safe.

Have your equipment ready to go! Make sure you have your snorkeling gear on correctly and do not forget your life vest.

Enter the water as gently as you can. Do not jump or dive since this could scare the whale shark.

Once in the water, swim towards the whale shark calmly and gently. Do not splash too much.

KEEP YOUR DISTANCE from the whale shark. Stay at least 4-5 meters away from their head and body, and at least 5 meters away from their tail. In case the whale shark does any sudden movements, keeping your distance will prevent you from getting hit and consequently hurt.

Stay calm and do not try to chase whale sharks or get in their way. Approach the whale shark from its side.

When observing the shark, position yourself at the whale shark’s side and ideally behind its pectoral fin. Do not position yourself above, below, in front of or at its head or tail. 

Let the whale shark control the encounter. Do not restrict their movement and do not do anything to cause the shark to change its  direction or behavior.

If you see that the shark starts to bank (rolls over and shows its back) or rolls its eyes, this means that the shark is feeling uncomfortable/distressed. Immediately stop what you are doing and make some distance between you and the shark

DO NOT TOUCH. Never even attempt to touch a whale shark or ride one. This can not only get you hurt, but it can also distress the shark

Taking photos is fine but make sure to remove the flash beforehand

Most Importantly: ALWAYS follow the instructions of your guide

And just a friendly reminder: Use biodegradable sunscreen, do not throw trash, do not remove anything from the ocean (unless it is trash), and do not feed the fish.

Do not miss this once in a lifetime experience, join Pro Dive International’s Whale Shark Safari from Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen and other locations along the Riviera Maya; or contact them for more info and guidance!

 

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