You’ve seen them on TV, you’ve heard all about them, and now, you’ve finally mustered up the courage to see these majestic creatures up close and personal.
Whether you want to swim alongside the sea’s most notorious predator or just witness one behind the protection of an enclosed cage, Hawaii has some of the best places to go shark diving in the world.
Here’s a guide to the best places to go shark diving in Oahu to ensure an unforgettable experience.
The dramatic, scenic North Shore is one of the best places for shark diving in Oahu as it leads directly into the depths of the Pacific.
For 2 hours, an experienced crew from North Shore Shark Adventures will guide you through this adrenaline-filled activity.
Expect your schedule to look like this:
There’s absolutely no pressure for you to go underwater, but know that the cage is lowered just below the surface.
Visibility extends up to 60 meters; you’ll be able to spot Galapagos, Hammerhead and Sandbar sharks circling around you.
Group dives can be arranged as well since the cage comfortably holds up to eight at a time.
Similarly, Hawaii Shark Encounters brings you along the northern shores of Oahu on a cage-diving adventure!
The 2-hour long experience requires no diving experience; masks and snorkels will suffice when you dip your head underwater.
The floating cage will ensure your safety – the poly-glass windows allow unobstructed views (perfect for photographers) while guaranteeing no sharp teeth in your vicinity.
Reviewers are quick to praise the crew for their hard-earned knowledge on shark biology and behavior.
In particular, you’ll learn a lot about the Galapagos and Sandbar sharks. Lucky tourists may even spot a Tiger shark.
Tip: Reserve ahead of time or you may not be allowed on the boat!
This particular tour operator, known for their shark diving with a cage, is owned and operated by Native Hawaiians.
Haleiwa Shark Tours explain how sharks are essential curators of marine life populations, and how they’re sacred guardians in Hawaiian culture.
The tour itself is just over an hour long – plenty of time to take photos of the sharks from within a cage.
Snorkeling gear is included and sanitized between uses.
Most importantly (and reviewers have mentioned this time and time again), you’re delivered the promised shark viewing!
Many who sign up for this tour spot an average of 10 sharks or so; what you’d expect being led by long-term divers.
This tour comes highly recommended if you’re all about supporting local businesses.
In Oahu, diving with sharks is about communicating with them – and Island View Hawaii will teach you how to do so safely.
Within your allotted 2 hours, your small group will board at Haleiwa, skim over waves while listening to safety procedures, and descend at the 250-feet deep pelagic zone.
What to expect during the tour:
After 30-40 minutes of free swimming with sharks, you’ll probably have let go of your misconceptions.
Just remember that rules exist for a reason – listen carefully to everything your guide tells you!
Swimming with sharks in Oahu is a top Hawaiian experience for various reasons.
For One Ocean Diving, it feeds into conservation efforts – what better way to understand the creatures you’re protecting than to engage with their habitat?
Thanks to a detailed orientation on board, including an explanation of what the experience will be like; you’ll walk away extremely informed.
While most people opt to stick to the line and swim above the sharks, you can dive deeper with your expert guide – only on your request!
It’s a great opportunity for photographers to get up close and personal with these sleek creatures.
Beautiful but deadly – swimming with sharks in Oahu requires a huge dose of courage.
Luckily, experienced tour operators give you the option of diving with and without a cage.
Shark diving with a cage heavily leans into being a viewing experience.
It’s more like an unusual method of sightseeing than a thrill-seeking adventure.
Since you’re in a safe and controlled environment, it’s the better option for people who aren’t strong swimmers and for amateur underwater photographers.
What about shark diving without a cage?
It’s thrilling, it’s freeing – you’re literally swimming with the sharks.
Not only are you in their zone, but you also get to experience what it’s really like to be among them (with a few golden rules, of course).
It’s recommended that you are a decent swimmer with some free diving experience, but safety divers will guide you closely.
Generally, shark diving in Oahu (and anywhere else) is safer than you’d expect!
While there are Great Whites that visit the islands in the fall or winter months, Hawaii is home to less aggressive species.
As long as you listen to the instructions of your experienced guides, take all safety precautions, and respect these majestic creatures – you’ll emerge safe and sound.
Maui is considered the riskiest island for shark diving; Oahu is a lot safer.
To quote statistics, there have been only 8 shark attack fatalities since 1828; 1 in every 23 years.
The species of sharks you’ll see will depend on your dive site, time of the year, and whether you’re shark diving in a cage or not.
You’ll most likely come across the Galapagos, Tiger and Sandbar species; Silkies, Blue Sharks and Hammerheads may make surprise appearances too.
Great Whites do visit Oahu annually, but they’re not the norm.
Costs average at $90 per child, $120 to $150 per adult.
Booking online usually nets you a cheaper price, as do group bookings.
Of course, you want to check if the pricing includes all the diving equipment you may require or if you have to bring your own.
Shark diving tours usually don’t include hotel pickup so you’ll have to arrange your own transportation.