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Reasons to Take a Shark Diving Tour on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii

a shark in the water

Approximately 10% of all known shark species live in Hawaii’s waters. That’s 40 different types of sharks!

The archipelago’s bountiful coral reefs provide the perfect home for these creatures. The islands’ waters are even a popular mating destination!

Does that mean you’ll spot a shark in Hawaii? It’s highly unlikely. Only a few species ever come anywhere near the shore.

If you want to spot some of Hawaii’s best sharks, you have to go further out. Shark diving in pelagic waters is the only way to get up close and personal with these majestic creatures.

Oahu’s unique positioning makes it one of the best places to take a shark diving tour. Here are our top 3 reasons we think everyone should try diving off of Oahu’s north shore. Read on to learn more about these once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

1. Shark Diving Tours Protect Sharks

Sadly, it’s a common problem worldwide that animal tourism is bad for the animals in question. It often leads to mistreatment and overworking of the animals.

That isn’t the case with shark diving tours in Oahu. Shark diving actually helps to protect the sharks.

It may sound counterintuitive that entering their habitat is good for them. But it’s because shark diving stops a shark’s worst enemy: fishing.

Each year, 100 million sharks are killed by the fishing industry. But shark diving and shark fishing can’t take place in the same waters.

For a local government to outlaw or restrict fishing, the ocean has to generate another stream of revenue. The growing shark tourism industry is proving that sharks are worth more alive than dead. So much so that Hawaii officially became the first US state to ban shark fishing outright.

This was only possible because of the support shark diving receives. If you book a shark diving tour, you’re actively helping to protect sharks in Hawaii. Your diving keeps their waters as undisturbed as possible so the animals can thrive. 

But that doesn’t mean these sharks are a charity case! They give back far more than they get. Divers and snorkelers alike leave with life-changing memories. 

2. Shark Diving Is the Best Way to See Sharks

Why dive with sharks when you can visit an aquarium and see them up close – without being in the same water as them?

Aquariums undoubtedly play a crucial role in preserving marine life. Their breeding programs can bring endangered species back from the brink. They also allow people of all ages and swimming abilities to see the animals.

But for those fit and healthy enough to dive in the ocean, it’s the better choice by far. The experiences aren’t even comparable.

A shark that’s cooped up even in the world’s biggest tanks will never be able to display its natural behavior. To see what a shark is really like, you have to meet it in the ocean.

But what type of shark diving will give you the best experience?

Is Cage Diving or Freediving Better?

Shark diving has been a popular activity in Hawaii for decades. One of the most popular methods is cage diving.

In this activity, swimmers are lowered into the ocean in a metal cage. This allows them to be in the same water as the sharks with the comfort of a physical barrier.

Cage diving is safe. But it perpetuates the misconception that sharks pose a real threat to humans.

Cage divers also have no control over where they are. They can’t move around in the water, choosing to approach marine life if they wish.

Freediving is a far more special experience.

Equipped with nothing more than your snorkel, flippers, and a wetsuit, you’ll be able to swim up to and around these incredible animals. You can choose to approach them or watch them from a distance. 

And despite the lack of a cage, it’s just as safe to free dive with sharks. That’s because sharks don’t want to attack you! 

On top of that, the highly experienced crew that’s with you knows how to read shark behavior. Their job is to keep you safe at all times so you don’t have to worry.

This open-water, cageless experience is the best way to see sharks by far. 

3. Shark Diving is a Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience

Of all the things to do in Oahu, there’s nothing like diving with sharks. Even if you can only go once, you’ll remember this trip forever.

What makes pelagic diving off Oahu’s north shore so special is the number of sharks. You are sure to meet these incredible creatures on your dive.

But it’s likely they won’t be all you see. Here’s what your shark tour could look like.

What is a Shark Diving Tour Like?

For our freediving tours, we take you three miles offshore to where these sharks are plentiful and relaxed. For 1.5 hours, you’ll freely swim in the ocean with a trained safety diver as you encounter Hawaii’s sharks. These most likely will be Galapagos, Sandbar, and Tiger sharks.

But Hawaii’s waters are full of other marine life that might fight for your attention. On our dives, it’s not uncommon to come across:

  • Tuna
  • Mahi mahi
  • Barracuda
  • Dolphins

In the winter, you may even be able to hear whale songs from nearby humpbacks.

Do You Need to Be an Experienced Diver to Dive with Sharks?

Our tours are designed so that anyone who is comfortable in the ocean can join. We do ask though that swimmers are at least 12 years old. And it’s important that you’re a confident swimmer in the open ocean.

But you don’t have to have a scuba license. Anyone is free to join the tour with just a snorkel!

If you do have your scuba license, then of course you can scuba dive with the sharks. But this is not a requirement for the tour.

What if you have a friend or family member that doesn’t want to get in the water but still join you for the ride? Our tours have a few ride-along tickets available for this exact situation!

More Things to Do in Oahu

We know that not everyone is a confident swimmer. Maybe a shark dive is something you need to work toward doing in the future, the next time you visit Oahu!

But even if you’re just beginning your career in marine adventure, there are plenty of tamer excursions to get you started on your trip to Hawaii.

Sunset Cruise

For those who want to take in the ocean’s beauty without a snorkel and wetsuit, we suggest our sunset cruise. Relax with drinks on the deck while you spot whatever marine life comes near. The most common sightings are dolphins, turtles, whales, and of course sharks.

Watch the sun go down with Oahu’s beautiful coastline as the backdrop. There’s nothing like it!

Whale Watch Safari

If you’re less about the booze and more about the views, try our whale-watching tour. Our expert guides know exactly how to find these huge creatures in the waters around the north shore. Spot humpbacks spouting and possibly even breaching as you cruise around their waters. 

Snorkel Tour

For those who want to swim with marine life but don’t yet feel confident enough for a shark dive, try a snorkel tour. These trips keep you in shallower waters. You can see turtles, rays, eels, octopi, and of course, dozens of fish species!

Westside Day Trip

The most customizable option is a day-long charter with our crew. You can use your day on the water to sunbathe and take occasional dips in the water. Or you can have an all-out scuba experience, going wherever our crew thinks is best that day!

This is a great option for a group with varied confidence in the water. Some can paddle while others dive with marine life. Then, maybe next time, your group will be ready for a full shark diving experience!

Book With a Trusted Provider

We’re sure you’re convinced that you need to add a shark diving tour to your Hawaiian vacation. But it’s so important that you choose to go with a reliable operator that knows how to keep you safe.

At Go Adventure Hawaii, we have a perfect safety record! Our guides have years of experience with the sharks, and with swimmers of all abilities.

Visit our booking page to see our shark dive schedule. Our booking platform has real-time availability and instant confirmation.

Still have a few questions? Get in touch with us to learn more about our tours.

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