Shark diving has been practiced safely and successfully for the last 25 years without major incident. Guidelines were formalized in 2001 by the Global Interactive Marine Experiences Council in the "Florida Guidelines and Management Programs for Interactive Marine Experiences" which are available industry-wide. These guidelines include: safe environmental practices; staff training for interactive marine experiences; marine animal feeding practices; participant preparation and education; marine animal conservation efforts; safety considerations for interactive marine experiences; location of interactive marine experience program sites; risk management and awareness; establishing an emergency procedures plan; and appointing an administrative officer and safety officer for interactive marine experience programs.
DEMA strongly encourages dive operators to review their interactive marine experience practices to ensure their adherence to the guidelines that have been established to reduce the likelihood of an accident happening in the future. While any type of diving inherently involves some level of risk, pursuing safe, recreational diving experiences will greatly reduce that risk. This particular incident last weekend appears to have been an extreme form of the sport involving some of the more aggressive shark species.
For more information about interactive marine experiences, or to receive a copy of the safety guidelines, please contact DEMA at 858-616-6408.
DEMA, the Diving Equipment & Marketing Association, is an international organization dedicated to the promotion and growth of the recreational scuba diving and snorkeling industry. For more information on DEMA, call 858-616-6408 or visit www.dema.org