Diving with Raggies Logo
...on Aliwal Shoal

diver's code-of-conduct

Ragged toothed sharks, or "raggies" as they are known, are not aggressive and can readily be approached by scuba-divers. Please follow these simple guidelines to ensure a pleasant diving experience for you, the raggie and the dive group after you.

  • Do not go into overhangs and caves (like Cathedral, Raggies Cave and Chunnel). Raggie sharks use these areas as rest sites during the day. If you don't know the dive sites well, check ALL caves and overhangs carefully for raggie occupants.
  • Be polite - don't barge into their caves and overhangs
  • Please don't approach within 3 metres - the sharks will come to you if they feel comfortable
  • Sharks have right-of-way. Don't approach them head-on, or trap them against the reef, or block their way.
  • No chasing, touching, riding or feeding
  • Use flashes and torches considerately. Be aware that a strobe light from camera's can startle a shark.
  • In a current, pass over the top of, or around, a group of sharks - not THROUGH the group.
  • When descending to the dive site, check that there are no sharks below you.
  • Sharks are inquisitive - if you are approached, keep still, maintain buoyancy and breathe slowly (Don't hold your breath!!). Sudden exhalations will disturb and scare off the shark.
  • If you are likely to see raggies, please insist that your dive leader gives a thorough briefing to remind divers of these guidelines, before EVERY dive.
  • dive leader's, DM's and instructor's code-of-conduct

  • Ensure that dive groups understand the above code-of-conduct for diving with the raggies.
  • No chasing, touching, riding or feeding
  • Dive sites like Cathedral, Raggie Cave and Chunnel are very popular spots for viewing sharks. These core areas bear the brunt of diving presssure, so to minimise diver pressure, please:
  • - do not conduct any training dives in the core areas (eg basic scuba-skills such as mask removal or navigation skills.

    - don't drop your dive group if more than three dive groups are already at Raggie Cave, Cathedral or Chunnel - rather wait until the groups have moved off, or go elsewhere.

    - limit dive time in a core area to 15 minutes during peak times (weekends and holidays), then please move on.

    The sharks often swim across or roll in the sand patch near Raggie Cave - keep it clear of divers if you want to see this interesting behaviour. Discourage divers from searching in the sand for teeth. Use the Raggie Cave map to get oriented.

    Curious raggie

    There are fears that too many divers, together with insensitive shark-diving,is disturbing the raggies. They may move off to another piece of reef where divers can't disturb them - which is bad news for divers who want to see sharks.

    Queries or comments to raggie@posix.co.sz