Is Scuba Diving With Sharks Dangerous? – From Dr. David G. Delaney


Shark! (Photo credit: guitarfish)


Sharks are amazing and powerful animals. Although sharks are carnivorous, they do not preferentially prey on scuba divers or even humans in general. Sharks do attack humans, but such attacks are extremely rare. Since 2000 (2000-2010), there were an average of 65 shark attacks each year worldwide, and only 5 of them were fatal .These numbers include attacks on scuba divers, swimmers, surfers, etc.


Many Everyday Activities Are More Dangerous Than Diving With Sharks:


Scuba divers engage in far more dangerous activities than swimming with the occasional shark – such as sleeping in bed. In a single year, 1616 people died by falling out of their beds.This means that 323 times more people are killed from sleeping in a bed than from shark attacks each year. As another example, a person is more likely to die using a toaster than to die of a shark attack. An apparently benign piece of everyday equipment, toasters are responsible for killing far more people than sharks each year.


Deadly Boating and Driving Accidents Are More Likely Than Deadly Shark Attacks:


Most divers either drive a car or take a boat to a dive site. These activities are both more dangerous than anything else a diver does on a typical diving day. In fact, driving and boating are exponentially more dangerous than swimming with a shark. In 2009, boating accidents caused 736 deaths . 42,636 people were killed in automobile accidents in the US, which approximately equates to one death every 13 minutes. Annually, it is estimated that 1.2 million people are killed in automobile accidents around the world . In comparison, sharks fatally attack approximately 5 people each year globally, which on average equates to one death every 73 days.


Even Shark-Related Injuries Are Very Rare:


The argument has been made that while sharks do not kill many people, they injure quite a few. Again, this statement must be put into perspective. Sharks injure less than 100 people annually, but thousands of people injure themselves using a toilet each year — in the U.S. alone! Annually, it is estimated that 50 million people are injured in automobile accidents around the globe. As for scuba diving, approximately a 100 people die each year and more are injured, but people still scuba dive as often as possible. There is risk in everything we do, but we do not stop doing things we need to do or enjoy doing because of a small risk.