Updated: May 31, 2020
Approaching these harmless and attractive creatures is not very complicated.
Often they are indifferent to our presence and the temptation to touch or swim too close is very great. But it is important to follow the rules of conduct to avoid disturbing these nice giants.
Sharks are often reported and many rush to observe them, some get too close, ending the encounter for everyone and causing the shark to show unnecessary avoidance behavior.
• Keep noise to a minimum: Enter the water by sliding in slowly from the boat feet-first (do not jump). Keep your fins under the surface of the water while you are kicking to reduce splash.
• Look but don’t touch: If whale sharks are touched, they will normally dive instantly. That spoils the encounter for everyone else and stresses the shark.
• Keep your distance: Stay at least 3 meters (9 ft) away from the head and 4 meters (13 ft) from the tail. If the whale shark comes directly towards you, simply remain calm and split into two groups so that the shark can swim between you.
• Snorkel calmly and slowly: Do not chase whale sharks or block their path. Approach the whale shark from the side and for the best view of the whale shark in the water swim alongside the shark near its pectoral fins. If a shark banks (rolls over and presents its back), back away and stop following him. It’s important not to restrict their natural behavior and movements. Let the shark control the encounter.
• Photographs: Avoid excessive flash photography when photographing whale sharks. Do not point your flash directly into their eyes.