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Harbor_Pilot 02-10-2007 04:47 AM

Do You Swim / Scuba on the High Seas?
Do you swim, snorkle, or dive at sea?

Why or why not?

It seems a problem, certainly if soloing, or with just two people.

Never dive alone. But if there are only two, and both dive, and the boat drifts away......

Tether to the boat? Humm....

What do you do?

JeanneP 02-10-2007 10:44 AM

NO. Ocean cruising sharks are nasty and dangerous. They eat anything that moves. Reef sharks, on the other hand, are generally less aggressive and eat only fish. You are not seen as lunch! by them. Just don't spear any fish near them.

Boat anchored, water clear and bottom visible, I'll snorkle and swim around. Not in open ocean.

Harbor_Pilot 02-11-2007 12:38 AM


That is what I was thinking, but was not sure.

The reasons for to go into the water out there, would be recreational, exercise, or maybe emergency maintenance on the bottom side.

I was not sure if I had watched to many cable channel, educational "shark" shows, casuing unfounded concerns.

"Stay in the boat at sea, if at all possible", will become part of our boats' Standing Operating Procedure.



Piotrek 02-11-2007 02:39 AM

Sir Robir Knox Johnston fixed the leak working from the outside, underwater, during his Golden Globe, solo, round the world voyage. He used to swim in the open sea as daily excersise. He towed a savety line behind Suhaili and used to jump from the bow while underway. While he was swimming, Suhaili would slowly overtake him, and he climbed on board using savety line.

Personally I wouldn't try this, but with a sea anchor, while becalmed, why not? But I don't have much experience with a sharks.

As for diving, I'm CMAS diver and it is against our rules to dive alone. I know, that other federations have "solo diver" certificates, but I'm strongly against solo diving, maybe except technical diving, when partners can't help much each other anyway.

Even if you want to dive with your budy on the open sea, do you have all necessary savety gear? Surface assecuration, oxygen, masks, resuscitation gear? Can you organise quick transport to hyperbaric chamber? I don't think so.

Remember, that one can die of lungs barotrauma, diving with SCUBA or SNUBA at depth of only 2 or 3 meters.

By the way there is nothing to see out there. What's the difference between beeing 5 meters under water, snorkling, or 50 meters, diving, when you still have 4000 meters below?

Francis 02-11-2007 11:22 AM

I suppose the question is a little confusing. Why would one dive in blue water? Not much to see there. Of course emergency repairs might call for a dip but there would probably be no other choice. Having said that I saw some amazing photos, taken in blue water, of a sailfish attacked and eaten by Orca, so there are a few drivers to dive in the big blue.

When it comes to diving off the anchorage it has always been a debate, no solo diving, oxygen on board, etc. I do solo dive and my main concern is current so I carry a SMB, have my wife following up in the dinghy (granted not so much fun for her so we do not do it too often). If no current and the tides look suitable, I have o problem diving solo at less than 20 metres and doing some very, very slow ascent. If I feel just a tad out of shape, tired, lack of sleep, slight hangover etc, I simply do not dive. And the last thing, I make sure that my equipment is serviced on a regular basis.

Gallivanters 02-11-2007 12:33 PM

Just for the fun of it... I got into the water and swam across the equator - twice.

Another time, while employed on an oceanographic research vessel, three of us went scuba diving in 13,000 fsw while our sub was down exploring hydrothermal vents.

It was kinda weird having the only point of reference as the (stationary) ship's hull above us... and knowing that the bottom was four kilometers below us.

Sharks are always of concern, to me, in blue water.

And I believe it is paramount to rig a swim ladder AND a length of polypropoline line before jumping ship.

Live to Love - Love to Live,


Bajamas 02-16-2007 01:51 PM

I have a few quick stories about those that have gone before...

1. I remember reading a story from Tania Aebi about this same discussion. She said that she was on board in the open blue watching a friend swim and as her friend grabbed the swim ladder and boarded back onto the boat, something very large came up from below. She could only see the large form but couldn't tell what it was. Tania said from that point forward she made it a policy to never enter the water in the open ocean.

2. One of the most terrifying Shark attacks I have ever seen on video happened in the open ocean when several researches jumped off a vessel to have a swim. A woman in the group was attacked by a White and lost her leg. I don't know if she survived it or not.

3. I heard a story about several guys on a boat that went for a swim and forgot to set a ladder. No one could get back on board. I don't know if that was a true story or not but it certainly makes you think about a one time dumb mistake and how costly that error could be!

4. I read a story about a guy that was laying on the surface of the water in the ocean while spear hunting. He said a Tiger Shark came up from the deeps and rushed him hard. He told that he felt lucky he had his speargun and was able to kill the Shark. I remember seeing the photos of the size of the Tiger Shark. It was massive!

I think about all the times that I have been on the reefs. I have always had the impression that I was the largest of all the predators but in the open ocean, I certainly feel like one of the smallest!!>/blink.gif

Regarding the guy that would jump off the bow and grab a line while his boat was overtaking him sounds a bit like Russian Roulette to me!!


Fellow Traveler 02-18-2007 07:07 PM

This is from TREKKA ROUND THE WORLD by John Guzzwell, 1963: While crossing the Tasman, on a calm day:

"Let's go for a swim," said B.

"Yes, come on," said Miles and Clio together.

"Not me," I said. "They have sharks off the Australian coast. There could be some out here."

"Nonsense," said B. "I'm going for a swim."

"No, seriously, B.," I pleaded. "Don't go in, it's not worth the risk, you'd never be able to get back aboard in time if you did see a shark."

"But we won't see any out here," she returned. "They stay clost to land. Anyway, I'm going in."

"Miles, stop her," I begged.

"Well, I can't stop her," said Miles. "But I'll join her, I don't think there is much risk."

"I'm going, too." said Clio.

Miles could see that I was a bit uneasy about the whole thing.

"I'll tell you what," he said, brigtening, "you stay on guard with the rifle; I'll go and get it for you."

I watched the three of them swimming about enjoying themselves while I looked about for any signs of a fin in the water. To my relief they all climbed back aboard intact, and I was about to hand the rifle back to Miles when I saw a tin can floating in the water some fifty yards away.

"Oh, Miles, may I shoot at that tin can?" I asked.

"Sure, John," he said. "Wait a minute and I'll load the gun for you!"

As commentary, I have swum a number of times on calm days while in mid-ocean in the Atlantic, the only ocean I have crossed. This includes both winter and summer passages. Never saw a shark, didn't worry too much. First time was to repair the self-steering gear, easier by far in the water with that gear. Many people I know have taken mid-ocean swims on calm days. None ever saw a shark, and no one I've ever met, talked to, etc, report being attacked, losing a crew member, etc. I have a friend who fishes of the Carolina, US coast in the Gulf Stream, and he once had a brand new small powerboat sink with him and two others aboard many miles out. The boat had an air pocket in it, and the bow stayed just above the surface, so they took turns climbing on the bow to get out of the water, watch for ships, etc. After a while, they were surrounded by sharks, and the sharks frequently bumped them, rubbed up against them, etc. He says he was on the bow at one point, and jerked his head quickly when he caught site of a particularly huge shark approach. His buddies, seeing this, asked "what?" He figured there was nothing he could do, so told them it was nothing....

Well, no one got bit, and they were rescued the next day when a friend, knowing his normal fishing places, went looking for him and found him. Good friend! Good story! I'll still swim at sea. But I don't get too far from the swim ladder!

luffer 02-18-2007 08:38 PM

I think many sailors leap into the deep blue for three reasons: maintenance or inspections, excercise and washing. The rigging should always be down and secured (unless enjoying a water vane under sail in light winds). At least one responsible person should remain onboard, unless solo. Swimmers should remain within bouy heaving distance of the boat and use the buddy sytem, if possible. When solo, a sailor should have a tether at the ankle with line of at least 400# test and a floatation device in the water secured somewhere along that line.

One would only SCUBA dive to go spearfishing or for maintenance. However, spearfishing has heightened risk as the vibrations of a wounded fish can attract sharks more than smooth swimming.

Francis 02-19-2007 08:13 AM


Originally Posted by Bajamas (Post 4804)
I have a few quick stories about those that have gone before...


Killing a [massive] Tiger Shark with a spear gun???? The guy must have been very, very good handling it>/blink.gif I don't think I could take a nurse shark with one of those.

Bajamas 02-19-2007 01:12 PM

1 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by Francis (Post 4861)
Killing a [massive] Tiger Shark with a spear gun???? The guy must have been very, very good handling it>/blink.gif I don't think I could take a nurse shark with one of those.

Let me see if I can get this photo attached this time.

I went looking for the story that I read regarding that huge tiger shark but found this photo instead. I will keep searching.


(Click on thumbnail for larger view)

Bajamas 02-19-2007 01:33 PM

I don't know if the photo that I attached worked or not, maybe I should read the actual instructions on this.

Anyway, here is the link to the Tiger Shark story.


imported_admin 02-19-2007 02:01 PM


Originally Posted by Bajamas (Post 4871)
I don't know if the photo that I attached worked or not, maybe I should read the actual instructions on this.



In order not to slow down the board's loading times, the board sets a thumbnail for the pics that you attach. Visitors can optionally click the thumbnail image to get the full view of the pic.

Because many cruisers are "out there" with sometimes slow connection speeds it is important to keep the board's loading times as fast as possible so that they have good access as well.

Nice pic by the way.

Harbor_Pilot 02-19-2007 06:42 PM


As often is the case, the answer is not a simple Yes or No; but my question has been answered. Some do for various reasons. When they do, they take risks whether they are aware of them or not.

My conclusion, for us, on our craft is don't, unless required for very good reasons, (e.g. mandatory maintenance) and than with much caution and fore site, (e.g. means to get back in the boat with help and/or alone) being aware of all dangers, (e.g. dangerous creatures of the sea) (exhaustion, cramps) (carried away from the vessel).

Be informed and aware. Take risks with serious calculation. Practice Risk Management (Safety).

My conclusions have become a part of my Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) Manual. Your Comments are the End Notes, (the Reference).

Weyalan 02-19-2007 10:18 PM

It is my gut feeling that thousands, if not millions of people swim in the ocean every day. However, people that jump in, swim around, and get out without seeing so much as a sardine, let alone a shark, don't generally make the front page of the newspaper. I would take a guess that for every person that gets attacked by a shark, there are one hundred thousand or more that don't. Off course, this sort of thing will always be a personal decision and there is not inherently right or wrong answer, but for me at least, the small risk of shark attack will always be outweighed by the pleasure of a cool swim.

ribbony 02-26-2007 02:07 AM

Has anyone seen the recent release video "Adrift" ?

We have not but noticed the title in the Video rentals last week. The cover describes the story of 6 people cruising the Bahamas, deciding on a dip, they set the anchor but forgot to put in the boarding ladder, they could not get back on board. Now, surely even with a fully overhung vessel, six people should be able to help someone shimmy up the anchor rope or chain.

Perhaps it is one of those Hollywood cringe movies, like Verticl Limits is to climbers and mountaineers.

Canute 12-03-2010 11:07 AM

I've done this several times offshore of Kona:

Pelagic Magic Black water Night Dive.

Out of sight of land ... maybe not.

And there is stuff to see out there>/smile.gif.

Coyote 12-03-2010 07:55 PM

Biologist kills a 10 foot Maco with a spear. Won the contest.

MMNETSEA 12-06-2010 11:48 AM

4 Attachment(s)
There are places in the world where experts dive with sharks - one such place is Gans Bay off the Cape of Good Hope. These sharks are the real travelers, moving from the Americas to Africa and on to Australia. Here are a some pictures of one that was caught and killed after it killed a surfer who had often swum with sharks :-

Attachment 1608

Attachment 1607

Attachment 1609

Attachment 1610

For those who might stomach an image of someone who swam with above shark, send PM request.

maverickdream 12-06-2010 03:34 PM

May years ago, I was on a trip across the Indian ocean, and on very calm days (and I mean no wind at all), we would jump in and out, lather up and wash and jump in again, and then use about one cup of fresh water each in a pressured sprayer to rinse in a fine time there were 4 of us in the water splashing around and I was inspecting the hull with a mask...Usually there is nothing out there in the big blue, but suddenly I saw lots of small fishes, and a second later a head on view of a 6 to 7 ft shark...about 3 or 4 metres away...that was only for a split second before I screamed shark at everyone and raced back to the ladder to get out...everyone else thought I was joking till they saw a fin and then it was a mad scramble to get out...After that, the shark hung around and we tried to catch it using corned beef of all things..;) we had it take the hook, on a handline..(gloves)...but we lost it..>/smile.gif (I was only 19 at the time)

Since then I have sailed the Atlantic 3 times, the Pacific and a few other places, and have often swum around the boat, sometimes to fix something other times for fun...just not for very long...5 minutes at the most..- so I guess if you are going to do it, give yourself a time limit..>/smile.gif - it takes a while for a shark to discover the source of the disturbance.>/smile.gif

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