Playa del Carmen is famous for its annual visitors the bull sharks and for many years people have come to dive with these sharks.
The purpose of the PADI Bull Shark Diving in Playa del Carmen Specialty Diver Course is to use this as an opportunity to educate our divers on the Bull Shark, as well as dispel many myths associated with these animals and sharks in general. We also want to raise awareness of the threats posed to sharks and what people can do to help. To be able to offer such a specialty to divers will mean that the whole experience of diving with the Bull Shark is enriched and improved.
It is also hoped that by being able to offer an educational Specialty Program with a strong conservation message it will attract more divers to come and learn more about the Bull Shark and sharks in general, and inspire them to take action themselves to help protect the marine environment and sharks.
The topics covered in the course have been researched by myself with input by biologists and local experts.
The course will consist of knowledge development followed by two open water dives at a dive site in or close to Playa del Carmen. It is not a certification requirement to see sharks during training dives. Students should be given an honest appraisal of the likelihood of seeing sharks when they book the course. Students will be given detailed information on how to dive responsibly with bull sharks in the local area.
If sharks are seen then the experience will be enriched by the student being able to identify the species and the sex, observe and discuss the shark behaviour and any injuries they noticed during the dive. If underwater communication units are used during the dive, this information can be given whilst underwater which will be particularly helpful if there is more than one shark present.
On the training dives the students will have the opportunity to consider the positive and negative impacts to sharks in the local environment, which will strengthen learning and may also motivate them to become involved in local or global efforts to protect marine environments or shark populations.
Knowledge development can be delivered as a classroom presentation or through independent study using the Shark Diving in Playa del Carmen Student Guide, or a combination. Some aspects of the course (such as the topic of Shark Feeding) is best delivered as a group discussion so that students can give their own thoughts and opinions on the subject. There should also be reference to and endorsement of Project AWARE’s Ten Ways a Diver can Protect the Underwater Environment during the course.