Is it safe to dive with tiger sharks and where’s the best place to see them around the world?
There’s no mistaking the tiger shark. It has the tiger like markings on its flanks. These are large animals where female tiger sharks can grow to 5 metres (16 feet 5 inches), but see below for the biggest tiger shark recorded.
Where can you dive with tiger sharks? But firstly, is it safe to dive with tiger sharks?
Is it safe to dive with tiger sharks?
How dangerous are tiger sharks you may be asking? Plus is it safe to dive with tiger sharks?
Tiger sharks are known for their indiscriminate eating habits and have voracious appetites. Tiger sharks are predatory creatures and have probably one of the widest variety of diets of all shark species.
Due to the tiger shark’s seemingly indiscriminate appetite, and because of their curious and inquisitive nature, they can become aggressive towards humans. Because of this, they must be treated with extreme caution.
The biggest tiger shark is thought to be over 7 metres (23 feet) in length and weighing over 900 kg (1,984 lbs)!
Although generally tiger sharks grow to an average length of around 3-4 metres (10-13 feet), the largest adult tiger shark is thought to have attained a length of over 7 metres (23 feet) and weighing over 900 kg (1,984 lbs).
Of all shark species, the tiger shark is second only to the Great White shark in the number of reported attacks on humans. But the Bull shark joins the Great White shark and the tiger shark as the only three sharks that are responsible for two-digit numbers of fatal unprovoked attacks on humans.
But to put this in perspective, there are around 80 unprovoked shark attacks on humans reported worldwide each year. But of course very few of these are on scuba divers.
Shark attack statistics
Putting shark attacks into perspective, especially in relation to tiger shark attacks on scuba divers. According to the International Shark Attack File (ISAF), between 1958 and 2016 there were 2,785 confirmed unprovoked shark attacks around the world. That’s around 47 attacks each year. Of these unprovoked attacks, there were 439 that were fatal. This equates to 7-8 fatalities per year.
However, in 2018, the number of shark bites drop significantly to 66 unprovoked shark bites, but the number of deaths remained constant at four in total. Although in an article on the ISAF website, 53% of bites involved board sports. That leaves 47% for all other water activities, and I know that the percentage that relate to scuba divers is extremely low.
But even if you said that 10% of these relate to scuba divers (which would be high), that would mean that of these four fatal shark attacks, 1/2 a death related to scuba diving. Then if you think about all the shark species there are, the chances of this 1/2 a death relating specifically to tiger sharks is very remote.
In essence, your risk of an attack by a tiger shark is very low as a scuba diver, but the risk of a fatal attack from a tiger shark is almost non-existent.
Where are tiger sharks located around the world?
Now that the risks of an attack from a tiger shark or even a fatal attack from one of these magnificent creates is extremely low, let’s take a look at where are tiger sharks located? .
Tiger sharks are found in temperate and tropical seas around the world. These include the following places:
Western Atlantic ocean and Caribbean sea
Tiger sharks can be found from Massachusetts to Uruguay and from the Gulf of Mexico to the Bahamas and Antigua in the Caribbean.
Eastern Atlantic ocean
From Iceland to possibly around the UK, which is due to the warm Gulf Stream, to Morocco and the Canary Islands, to Senegal and the Ivory Coast, tiger sharks are found in the warmer parts of the eastern Atlantic Ocean.
But having said this, I wouldn’t suggest you rush off to any of these places to spot tiger sharks, as sightings in the eastern Atlantic Ocean are extremely rare.
It is thought that tiger sharks are to be found in the Mediterranean sea. It was reported in the Telegraph Newspaper that a 30-year-old woman was bitten by a tiger shark on a beach in Benidorm in 2014.
Once more, although tiger sharks have been seen in the Mediterranean Sea, these sightings are very rare indeed. I’d therefore not pin your hopes on scuba diving in the Med and sighting tiger sharks.
From South Africa to Pakistan and India. From Sri Lanka to the Maldives, and Thailand to Vietnam, tiger sharks are known to be in the Indian Ocean.
As you read on further below, you’ll see that the Indian Ocean is a place in the world where tiger shark sightings are more likely. In fact South Africa is one of my top listed places to scuba dive with tiger sharks.
Tiger sharks in the Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is where tiger sharks can been found in reasonable numbers right across its vast expanse.
From the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia and from Australia to New Zealand. Then from Southern China to New Caledonia and Palau to the Solomon Islands. From the Marshall Islands and Tahiti and French Polynsia to a tiger shark hot spot of Hawaii. Plus the waters around Southern California, Peru and the Galapagos islands.
Of all the places listed above, you’ll see below that Hawaii is one of the top places in the world to scuba dive with tiger sharks. The Pacific Ocean is a good place to travel to if you’re on the hunt for tigers.
The other top site for seeing tiger sharks is French Polynesia. This area of the Pacific Ocean is unspoilt and off the beaten track. Which means you’ll be enjoying some of the most beautiful diving in the world. See more details below about Fakarava Atoll and Rangiroa Atoll.
The Red Sea
Tiger sharks can be found in the Red Sea and in particular there have been sightings around one of my favourite dive sites the Elphinestone Reef Marsa Alam. In fact here’s a video of the same:
One of the great aspects to Red Sea diving is how cheap it is to get there. This is especially true when travelling there from the UK. The best way to scuba dive the Red Sea in my opinion is by liveaboard boat.
Having said that, and whilst there are great shark sighting opportunities in the Red Sea, it’s not the top place in the world to spot tiger sharks. In all the trips that I’ve made to the Red Sea, which is a lot, I’ve not seen a tiger shark there yet.
Where can you dive with tiger sharks
Looking at the top list of places around the world where tiger sharks can be found, you may think these beautiful creatures would be easy to spot.
But there are places where you are more likely to see them. These are the top tiger shark dives sites.
Top tiger shark dive sites around the world
Here’s a list of the top dive sites for spotting tiger sharks.
Tiger Shark Diving Bahamas
Tiger shark diving at Tiger Beach is one of the best tiger shark dives in the world.
This tiger shark destination is one of the few places where you are almost guaranteed to see tigers. But as with all of natures dive sites, and whilst Tiger Beach diving is extremely reliable for shark encounters, this can never be 100% guaranteed.
Tiger Beach is a relatively shallow dive site, ranging from a maximum depth of around 6-10 metres (20-30 feet).
Where is Tiger Beach located in the Bahamas?
Tiger Beach is about an hour’s boat ride away from Grand Bahama Island. But whilst Tiger Beach is known for tiger sharks, it’s not just tigers you’ll see. You are also likely to see Caribbean reef sharks, lemon sharks, nurse sharks, great hammerheads and bull sharks too.
Tiger sharks at Tiger Beach can been seen all year. But the best time to dive Tiger Beach is from October to January. This is in the shark breeding season. But then July to August is when there are the least amount of sharks to be seen.
How do you get to Tiger Beach Bahamas?
You can dive Tiger Beach Bahamas from Grand Bahama, as it’s a boat ride away. But one of the best ways to dive with tiger sharks at tiger beach is on a liveaboard boat. One of the best liveaboard boats is The Bahamas Aggressor.
You may want to watch the below video before you go to Tiger Beach though! These tiger sharks are enticed with bait, so they are not in their natural state.
If you’re looking for a more natural setting where tigers are not being enticed by bait, see the next best dive site Hawaii.
Video of tiger sharks at Tiger Beach
Tiger shark diving in Hawaii
Hawaii is known for tiger sharks. Unfortunately for Hawaii, it was during the 1990’s that tiger sharks were responsible for a number of fatalities. Although this has dropped significantly and you are 40 times more likely to drown than be killed by a shark.
The best place in Hawaii to dive with tiger sharks is off Oahu. The Tiger sharks are drawn by the large number of sea turtles around Hawaii, which is one of their staple food sources. The best time to dive Oahu to have the best chance to see tiger sharks is during Autumn each year, which is from September to December.
At this time of year you also stand the chance of spotting humpback whales too. These large creates migrate through the region during this time of the year.
One of the best ways to see tiger sharks in Hawaii is by liveaboard boat. A top rated liveaboard dive boat for Hawaii is the Kona Aggressor II.
Below is a video of tiger sharks in Hawaii, which in this case is from Kona off Big Island. This tiger shark diving is the more natural way of seeing these magnificent creatures, rather than in an organised feast where they are being fed like they are at Tiger Beach.
Video of tiger sharks in Hawaii in a natural state
Tiger shark diving in French Polynesia
French Polynesia is a well off the beaten track dive site. With pristine reefs and protected atolls, French Polynesia offers some of the best diving in the world.
Fakarava Atoll is probably one of the best dive sites in French Polynesia. The waters are crystal clear and the liveaboard diving offers some of the remotest diving opportunities around the world.
Fakarava Atoll is known for its shark diving and is where you are likely to see one of the largest populations of grey reef sharks. The second top dive site in French Polynesia is Rangiroa atoll. This second large atoll is also within the Tuamotu Archipelago, which stretches across 170 square kilometers.
It is at Rangiroa Atoll, which is famous for the Tiputa Pass, where you are most likely to see tiger sharks. The diving there is known for the strong currents and drift diving is the norm.
If you are fortunately enough to dive the channel into the central lagoon of the Rangiroa Atoll, you will experience currents. These currents wash into and out of the atoll’s lagoon. This is the same as the north pass and south pass of Fakarava Atoll, where drift diving is also the norm.
The White Valley Tahiti French Polynesia
Another place to dive with sharks, which includes tiger sharks, is The White Valley Tahiti or in French La Vallée Blanche. See the video below.
La Vallée Blanche or The White Valley is a drift diving site and is located at the tip of the Faa’a lagoon. This is a dive site which can be dived from Tahiti Island itself. There’s no guarantee to see tiger sharks there, but as you’ll see in the video they are there to be seen.
Video of scuba diving with tiger sharks The White Valley Tahiti (La Vallée Blanche)
Tiger shark diving the Protea Banks South Africa
One of the top dive spots to see tiger sharks is Protea Banks in South Africa. This tiger shark diving site is a ‘baited shark dive‘.
If you’re looking to dive the Protea Banks, the best time to do so is between March to June when you are more likely to see these massive stripped sharks.
If you’re okay with shark baiting to experience tiger sharks, which is the similar to the technique used at Tiger Beach, you will be able to join tiger sharks drifting in the currents in this awesome clear water dive site.
Protea Banks South Africa video of tiger sharks
Dive with tiger sharks at Beqa Lagoon Fiji
Another tiger shark hot spot is in Fiji, which like Hawaii is also in the Pacific Ocean too. Beqa Lagoon (pronounced Benga) is another shark baiting dive site where tiger sharks are lured in with fish bait.
The depth of Beqa Lagoon is between 5-30 metres (16-100 feet). This is an all year round dive site, but the best visibility is between July and September where the visibility can be up to 40 metres (131 feet).
One of the best ways to experience and explore the islands of Fiji is by liveaboard. One such liveaboard boat is the Reef Endeavour liveaboard, which is a large 73 metres (240 feet) boat with a capacity of 130 passengers.
If however you’d prefer to dive this fabulous Fiji destination from a land-based stay, there are a few resorts to choose from. Resorts like the Beqa Lagoon Resort, which has great customer reviews is an excellent choice.
If you’d prefer something a bit more personal and smaller, which is the 36.5 metre (120 feet) liveaboard taking a max of 16 guests is the Nai’a liveaboard or the Fiji Aggressor, which is suited for up to only 10 guests and is (22 feet).
Beqa Lagoon video of tiger sharks
Tiger shark diving The Maldives – Fuvahmulah Atoll
The Maldives is on most scuba diver’s bucket lists. The Maldives is know for large creatures live manta rays and whale sharks. But it’s also known for other shark species like hammerhead sharks, thresher sharks and of course tiger sharks too.
This isolated reef Fuvahmulah Atoll is in South of the Maldives. As with all of the scuba dives in the Maldives, Fuvahmulah Atoll offers the opportunity to dive with a number of tiger sharks.
If you’re keen on diving with tiger sharks in the Maldives, you are better off diving with the Southern Atoll Liveaboards. Alternatively, you can look though a full list of all 30+ Maldives liveaboards too.
The best time to visit the Maldives is from December to March each year and the diving there will suit most levels of diver too.
Fuvahmulah Maldives Tiger shark dives video
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