Shark cage diving is a thrilling activity that allows people to come face to face with these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. While it’s an adrenaline-pumping experience, there are risks associated with it. One of the most common concerns that people have is whether a shark cage has ever dropped, and what happens when it does. In this article, we will explore this topic and discuss the history, the safety measures in place, and whether there have been any incidents of cages dropping.
The History of Shark Cage Diving
Shark cage diving became popular in the 1980s when entrepreneurs in South Africa began offering cage diving experiences to tourists. The activity quickly caught on and spread to other parts of the world, including Australia, Hawaii, and Mexico.
It involves lowering a steel cage into the water, typically attached to a boat. Tourists enter the cage, and the cage is lowered into the water, allowing the tourists to come face to face with sharks swimming nearby. The cage is designed to protect the divers while giving them an up-close view of these magnificent animals.
Shark Cage Diving Safety Measures
Shark cage diving operators must adhere to strict safety guidelines to ensure the safety of tourists and sharks. Before diving, participants are briefed on safety procedures, including how to enter and exit the cage, how to communicate with the crew, and how to use the provided equipment.
Cages used for shark diving are constructed of heavy-duty steel bars and reinforced with cross bracing to withstand the weight and pressure of the water. They are also equipped with multiple escape hatches, ensuring divers can quickly exit the cage in case of an emergency.
In addition to safety procedures and cage design, shark cage diving operators must comply with regulations set by local authorities, which include rules on cage placement, the number of people allowed in the cage, and the distance the cage must be from the boat.
Incidents of Shark Cages Dropping
Although incidents of shark cages dropping are rare, they do happen. In most cases, these incidents occur due to equipment failure or human error. However, in some instances, it’s due to rough sea conditions or unexpected shark behavior. It is also heard that sharks don’t attack divers.
One of the most well-known incidents occurred in South Africa in 2012 when a cage carrying a group of tourists dropped to the ocean floor. The cage had been lowered into the water when a large wave hit the boat, causing the cage to detach and sink to the ocean floor. Fortunately, all tourists and crew members were safely rescued.
In 2015, a video went viral showing a great white shark breaking through the bars of a cage in Mexico. Although the shark made its way into the cage, the divers inside were unharmed, and it eventually freed itself and swam away.
Another incident occurred in 2017 in Hawaii, where a cage carrying a group of tourists dropped to the ocean floor. According to reports, the incident was caused by rough sea conditions. Fortunately, all tourists and crew members were safely rescued.
In 2018, a shark cage carrying a group of tourists dropped to the ocean floor in South Africa. The incident was reportedly caused by a technical malfunction. Again, all tourists and crew members were safely rescued.
What Happens When a Shark Cage Drops?
When a shark cage drops, it can be a terrifying experience for those inside the cage. However, the safety measures in place are designed to ensure that all passengers can safely exit the cage and return to the boat.
When a cage drops, the first priority is to assess the situation and ensure that all passengers are accounted for. Te crew will then work to lift the cage back to the surface using a winch. In some cases, the cage may need to be cut loose and left on the ocean floor if it cannot be safely recovered. Once the cage is back on the boat, the crew will evaluate the cause of the incident and determine if any repairs or replacements are needed.
In the event of a shark cage drop, it’s essential that passengers remain calm and follow the instructions of the crew. While it can be a frightening experience, the safety measures in place are designed to ensure the safety of all passengers.
Shark Cage Diving Regulations
Shark cage diving is regulated by local authorities in most countries where it’s offered. These regulations are designed to ensure the safety of both the tourists and the sharks. Rules typically include guidelines on the placement of the cage, the number of people allowed in the cage, and the distance the cage must be from the boat.
In addition to local regulations, shark cage diving operators must also adhere to industry standards set by organizations such as the International Shark Diving Association (ISDA). These standards cover a range of topics, including cage design, safety procedures, and environmental protection.
The ISDA requires all members to undergo regular safety audits to ensure they are complying with their safety standards. They also offer training courses for new operators to ensure they understand the safety guidelines and regulations.
Shark cage diving is a thrilling experience that allows people to come face to face with sharks in their natural habitat. While there are risks associated with this activity, the safety measures in place are designed to ensure the safety of all passengers. Incidents of shark cage drops are rare, and most are caused by equipment failure or human error. When a cage does drop, the safety procedures in place are designed to ensure that all passengers can safely exit the cage and return to the boat.
If you’re considering shark cage diving, it’s important to research the operator and ensure they have a good safety record. You should also familiarize yourself with the safety procedures and regulations in place to ensure you can enjoy the experience safely. With the right precautions, shark cage diving can be a thrilling and unforgettable experience that allows you to get up close and personal with one of nature’s most magnificent creatures.