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Are There Sharks In The Great Barrier Reef? (What Sharks Do You See?)

Are there sharks in the Great Barrier Reef?

What are the types of shark that live on the Great Barrier Reef?

Not everyone visits the Great Barrier Reef to scuba dive with sharks. Plus some scuba divers are wary of diving with sharks too. That’s why many travellers ask the question ‘are there sharks in the Great Barrier Reef?’

There are up to 134 species of shark found on the Great Barrier Reef. Shark species found there include whitetip sharks, blacktip sharks, hammerhead sharks, tiger sharks and the strange looking Wobbegong shark.

Please read on to learn that even great white sharks have been spotted on the Great Barrier Reef too. If you would like to cage dive with great white sharks in Australia, you may want to read this article about cage diving with great white sharks. Or read this article about the best place to scuba dive with great white sharks. One of which is in Australia.

The best way to dive the Great Barrier Reef, Australia is by a scuba diving liveaboard, especially the outer reefs. You can check the latest and best deals on Great Barrier Reef liveaboards using the following window:

Are there sharks in the Great Barrier Reef?

First things first, as this article is about are there sharks in the Great Barrier Reef. The answer is an emphatic yes. In fact there are many species of shark on the Great Barrier reef.

It’s safe to dive with sharks for those of you who fear scuba diving with sharks. I’ve dived all over the world with many species of shark. As have thousands of other scuba divers.

The number of shark attacks are so small on humans. Plus the shark attacks that occur tend not to be on scuba divers in any case. Sharks tend to be mostly wary of scuba divers. But when they do attack, it’s usually a mistaken identity. Or it’s due to provocation. You are therefore even safer if you don’t provoke sharks.

How common are shark attacks in Australia?

Shark attacks in Australia are still extremely rare. Shark attacks on scuba divers are even more rare.

Whilst many people are scared of sharks. But this is an ill-placed fear, as the chances of a shark attack encounter are still very rare.

According to the Australian Shark Attack File, in the last 50 years there have been 47 unprovoked shark fatalities in Australian waters (which is an average of 0.9 per year). This number includes all water users. This includes surfers, swimmers as well as scuba divers.

What types of sharks are in the Great Barrier Reef?

What types of sharks are in the Great Barrier Reef?

The Great Barrier Reef is home to a large number of sharks. But you are likely to see more sharks if you visit the outer reefs. You are more likely to enjoy shark encounters on the Great Barrier Reef if you join a liveaboard dive boat trip. search Australia

Great Barrier Reef dive liveaboards table

This list of Australia Great Barrier Reef liveaboards is in descending customer rating order, followed by Scuba Diving Luxury Rating (SDE Lux Rating, see below), so the liveaboards with the highest customer rating and the best SDE lux rating will be at the top of the list. If you want to change the list order, use the “Sort by” dropdown below.

Sort by:
Total Records Found: 6, showing 7 per page
Discover LiveaboardCustomer RatingSDE Lux Rating %Flexible BookingDive CoursesDietary RequirementsNitroxGear Rental
Review: MY Spoilsport; Book: MY Spoilsport 9.4 73% YES YES YES YES YES
Review: MY Spirit of Freedom; Book: MY Spirit of Freedom 9.3 83% YES YES YES YES YES
Review: Coral Sea Dreaming; Book: Coral Sea Dreaming 9.2 62% YES YES YES NO YES
Review: MY Pro Dive Cairns; Book: MY Pro Dive Cairns 9.2 52% YES YES YES YES YES
Review: Rum Runner; Book: Rum Runner 9 44% YES YES YES NO YES
Review: MY Ocean Quest; Book: MY Ocean Quest 9 40% YES YES YES YES YES

The Scuba Diving Earth Luxury Rating (SDE Lux Rating) is explained on each liveaboard review when you click the “Discover Liveaboard” link, and is my own Liveaboard Luxury Rating I’ve assigned to all liveaboards. Choosing between liveaboards is helped by customer scores, and if you get stuck choosing between two or three liveaboards, where each one has a high customer score out of 10, you can use the SDE Luxury Rating to help narrow down your choice.

Think about it like using when searching for the best hotel. also use a customer score where each customer rates hotels out of 10. This is similar to the liveaboard customer rating, which is also rated out of 10. But let’s say you only like to stay in hotels rated 8 and above on, but you also want the hotel to have WIFI or parking, or to have a swimming pool etc. The features each hotel has is usually secondary to the score out of 10.

Liveaboards tend to travel further and are not restricted by having to return to port each evening.

The sharks on the Great Barrier reef range from bottom-dwelling sharks like wobbegongs (see below) and nurse sharks, to larger sharks like reef, tiger and hammerhead sharks.

But by far the most common species of sharks seen by scuba divers on the Great Barrier Reef are whitetip and blacktip reef sharks.

Video of shark diving on the Great Barrier Reef from the Spirit of Freedom liveaboard.

Diving Osprey & Great Barrier Reef 2014 – Shark Feeding Frenzy, Manta Ray, Olive Sea Snakes…
7 day trip on the Spirit of Freedom to the Osprey Reef and the Great Barrier Reef. Diving at North Horn, False Entrance, Admiralty, Castles, Steve’s Bommie, Lighthouse Bommie, Cod Hole, Pixie Pinnacle, Dynamite Pass and many more.

Great Barrier Reef great white sharks

But the one shark you probably won’t see on the Great Barrier Reef is the great white shark.

Great white sharks prefer the colder waters of the Southern Ocean. But having said that, this video tells a different story. This great white shark was spotted near Lady Elliot Island, which is the southernmost coral cay of the Great Barrier Reef.

Great white shark calmly swims by snorkeller off Great Barrier Reef
Photographer Adrian Bullock was snorkelling off Lady Elliot Island, near Bundaberg, Queensland when this 4+ metre great white shark came into his view. Bullock realised he was 40 metres from the boat that took him to the dive spot, and remained still long enough to see the large shark was either well-fed or pregnant as it drew closer towards him. The photographer remained calm during the encounter, with the close swim-by only the second great white sighting off the island in 25 years. He shared the video because he wants ‘people to see that they aren’t man eating monsters’

How many species of sharks are there in the Great Barrier Reef?

The Great Barrier Reef is home to possibly the largest number of shark species in the world.

There are more than 134 species of sharks that live on the Great Barrier Reef around this huge reef system.

These sharks share the reef with over 1,500 species of fish, rays which includes manta rays, turtles and many other underwater creatures.

Do tiger sharks live in the Great Barrier Reef?

As already mentioned, tiger sharks are one of the many shark species found on the Great Barrier Reef.

Do tiger sharks live in the coral reef

Tiger sharks are one of the few shark species which give birth to live young. They are born to predate and have been known to grow to over 5 metres (16 feet 5 inches) in length.

The female tiger sharks tend to grow larger than their male counterparts. These beautifully marked sharks, which have a tiger-like marking on their flanks, can be curious towards divers. But you will be lucky to see one when you dive the Great Barrier Reef, as they are not often seen.

The adult tigers are mostly found patrolling the open coast and are renowned for eating turtles. They are also known for eating almost anything that moves too. Tiger sharks are the dustbins of the oceans.

If you like the idea of tiger shark diving, you may like to read this article about the best place to dive with tiger sharks.

Tiger Shark Encounter in Coral Bay
Met this tiger shark while snorkelling in coral bay
Is a Wobbegong a shark

Is a Wobbegong a shark?

The Wobbegong shark, which is also known as a carpet shark, can be found on the Great Barrier Reef. These strange looking creatures are mostly inactive during the day time. But they come to life at night, which is when they hunt for their food.

Wobbegongs tend to eat small reef fish, crustaceans and squid. In the above picture you are looking at the Tassled Wobbegong shark.

The Japanese Wobbegong, or Orectolobus japonicas has a flattened body, as can be seen in the above image.

Do Wobbegongs have teeth?

Wobbegong sharks have a strong jaw with sharp teeth. They are known for biting and not letting go.

What is the most common fish in the Great Barrier Reef?

With around 134 species of shark, which are included in the total fish species of more 1,500 fish found on the Great Barrier Reef, what are the most common fish found there?

  • Angelfish.
  • Surgeon fish.
  • Trigger fish.
  • Butterfly Fish.
  • Cardinal Fish.
  • Clown Fish.
  • Damselfish.
  • Gobies.
  • Groupers and Cods.
  • Parrotfish.
  • Rays and sting rays.
  • Snapper.

Do crocodiles live in the Great Barrier Reef?

In addition to sharks, many ask whether salt water crocodiles live in the Great Barrier Reef too.

Salt Water Crocodiles are mostly not found on the Barrier Reef itself, but they can be found along beaches and around offshore islands in the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait.

They are mostly found nearer the coast line and around the salt marshes and mangroves.

Diving with Crocodiles (Watch in HD)
Getting friendly with Crocodiles, Wobbegongs and large Stingrays whilst diving the Great Barrier Reef. Please take note that crocodiles are extremely dangerous animals and are a protected species in Queensland. It is illegal to touch crocodiles and this was a lesson I learned the hard way, unfortunately. These crocodiles were not harmed or disrupted in any way.

I hope you enjoyed this article about ‘are there sharks in the Great Barrier Reef

I’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your adventures of diving and snorkeling, in the comments below. Please also share your photos. Either from your underwater cameras or videos from your waterproof Gopro’s!

If this article hasn’t answered all of your questions. If you have more questions either about snorkeling or scuba diving (or specifically about ‘are there sharks in the Great Barrier Reef), please comment below with your questions.

There will also be many more articles about scuba diving (and snorkeling) for you to read and learn about these fabulous sports.

Have fun and be safe!

Are There Sharks In The Great Barrier Reef? (What Sharks Do You See?)

Article written by Russell Bowyer who has been a scuba diver since diving on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia in 1989. After his first dive he trained as a BSAC diver in the UK. He attained his Diver Leader certification with BSAC. He then went on to become a scuba diving instructor, teaching others how to dive and was voted as Diving Officer and Treasurer for the Saffron Walden BSAC club too. Russell has dived all over the world, including the UK, on liveaboards in the Red Sea, the Caribbean, South Africa and the USA. Russell is experienced in all dive types, including drift diving, deep dives that involved decompression stops and recreational dives too.

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