Hawaii is a popular vacation destination thanks to the idyllic island setting, the gorgeous scenery, and the incredible wildlife that you can find there.
One particularly popular activity for tourists and enthusiasts to experience in Hawaii is shark cage diving.
There are a few places where you can do this across Hawaii, but Oahu- the third largest of the Hawaiian islands- has a wide range of options when it comes to shark cage diving.
With this in mind, we are going to be taking an in-depth look at five cage diving experiences in particular, as well as what you can expect from each tour. Let’s get started.
Located on the North Shore of Oahu in the town of Haleiwa, Haleiwa Shark Tours is the only shark cage diving experience on the North Shore that is operated and owned by Native Hawaiians.
Not only does this mean that you can support local businesses with the experience, but you are also sure to get the most authentic and natural cage diving adventure possible.
On the boat ride, you will receive an educational and fun lesson all about the importance of sharks in Hawaiian culture, such as how the skin of the shark was used frequently for drums that would be used for music in various cultural ceremonies.
You will also learn about the history of sharks and Hawaiians, including a discussion of the Hawaiian shark God Kamohoali’i.
You are sure to learn some interesting facts before you even come face to face with a shark!
What to Expect
The Oahu Shark Diving Tour that is offered by Haleiwa Shark Tours runs for about an hour and a half to two hours and is appropriate for all ages, with up to six people able to take part.
Make sure that you bring sunscreen and towels with you. The tour will provide masks and snorkels, as well as drinking water.
However, you are welcome to bring your own gear if you so choose.
The tour offers different rates for each rider, which are as follows:
- Adult Cage Diver: A standard diver who is aged 13 or above. The price for this ride is $135.
- Adult Cage Diver (Kama’aina/Military): A Hawaiian native or military personnel who are aged 13 or above. The price for this rider is $115
- Child Cage Diver: A child ages between 3 and 12. The price for this rider is $95
- Boat Rider: If anyone on the tour is unwilling or unable to go into the cage, they are able to stay in the boat. The price for this rider is $105.
For an authentic shark cage diving experience alongside some fascinating knowledge and history on the connection between sharks and Hawaii, this is tour is an excellent choice.
- Owned and operated by Hawaiian natives
- Educational element
- Different rates for different riders
- An authentic cage diving experience
- May not be as engaging for experienced divers.
Another tour that takes place in Haleiwa, this experience is operated by the company Islandview Hawaii and sees the divers riding on the Mo’o boat and obtaining a wide range of knowledge in regard to the safe interaction with sharks as well as any other sea creatures that might be encountered.
This dedication to safety is sure to make even the most nervous of customers feel a little more comfortable before they make their descent into the water.
There are various kinds of sharks that can be encountered in the waters of Oahu’s North Shore, such as Sandbar sharks, Galápagos sharks, Gray Reef sharks, White Tipped Reef sharks, Tiger sharks, Scalloped Hammerhead sharks and more.
Not only that, but there is also the chance to see humpback whales and dolphins during winter.
The experience itself is an open water diving experience, which might be a little more nerve wracking to beginners or those who are only used to cage diving.
However, a safety diver is on hand to help you feel more comfortable during your experience.
What To Expect
On the day, you will be meeting directly at the Islandview Hawaii boat at the Halewia Boat Harbor, the vessel that will be taking you out onto the open water for the dive.
It is advised that divers have at least a moderate level of physical fitness as well as a level of open mindedness regarding any preconceived notions of sharks that you might have.
You’ll get conformation of all the times beforehand and the tour accepts a minimum of three people and a maximum of eight people.
As well as that, the minimum age of tourists is 5 years old and if you do bring a small child of this age or any older, make sure that they are supervised at all times!
- Chance to see whales and dolphins as well as sharks
- Open water diving allows for more freedom
- Accompanying safety diver for security
- The open sea diving aspect might be a bit too intimidating for those without much diving experience.
This particular shark diving experience is another that can be found on the North Shore of Oahu in Haleiwa, where sharks will be observed by divers from within the safety of a cage.
Upon arriving at your boat in Haweiwa, you will be taken more than three miles offshore. This is where you will start to encounter both Sandbar sharks and Galápagos sharks in their natural habitat.
As with the other shark diving tours we have discussed here, education plays a major role in this experience.
Topics such as conservation, shark behavior and biology, the importance of sharks within the history, mythology and culture of Hawaii and general ocean life will be discussed on the day, giving you a more thorough understanding of the beautiful creatures that you are observing.
The intimate connection between Hawaiians and sharks has always been fascinating, with generations of Hawaiians respecting and revering them for their contribution to the natural balance of the ecosystems within the Hawaiian islands.
This educational aspect can be expanded if necessary too, with the opportunity for divers to become ambassadors of conservation and take part in shark related research projects, which will continue your journey and knowledge long past diving.
What To Expect
In terms of scuba diving experience, you don’t need any at all! Beginners are welcome, as are children from age five and above.
The experience will see you entering the cage from above and remaining near the surface using just a mask and a snorkel, so there are no special techniques or skills needed.
The cage feature large plexiglass windows, allowing you to watch the sharks in their natural environment without disturbing them.
Be mindful that the tour is subject to change in the event of unexpected weather, but the team will do what they can to rebook you.
This tour also offers different price rates for different divers, so let’s take a look.
- Adult: Anyone over the age of 13. The price for this rider is $120.
- Child: Anyone aged 12 and under. The price for this rider is $90.
- Private Charter: A private boat of up to ten people. The price of this experience is $1,350.
- Boat Rider: Anyone who doesn’t want to swim or dive can stay in the boat and observe from there. The price for this ride is $100.
- A wealth of education on the subject of sharks, conservation and the connection between Hawaiian culture and sharks
- A chance to learn more after the dive
- The cage features plexiglass windows for better observation
- Suitable for all skill levels
- More experienced divers might want more of an in depth diving experience.
The North Shore of Oahu is- as you have probably guessed by now- one of the best places in Hawaii to undertake shark diving and North Shore Shark Adventures offer this particular package wherein shark sightings are guaranteed.
North Shore Shark Adventures are an established company that offer these adventure tours, having been operating safely in the North Shore since 2001.
The tour begins by departing from the North Shore on a boat based in Haleiwa’s Small Boat Harbor. You will travel three miles out, where the sharks are at their most prominent.
However, there are various other creatures that can be seen here too. Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles and dolphins can be spotted in the area, whilst humpback whales can also been seen from November to May.
When in the large, aluminum cage, you will simply hold onto the bars and float safely, observing the sharks whilst still staying near the surface of the water.
This tour is a fantastic choice for people of all skill levels and ages thanks to the relative ease and simplicity of the cage diving set up.
What To Expect
If you’re staying in the Waikiki area, North Shore Shark Adventures offers a transportation service that will leave early in the morning at around 5.45am and returns to Waikiki at around 2pm in the afternoon.
There is no diving experience necessary, but you don’t even need to be a particularly strong swimmer to take part in this tour!
All you will need is a mask and a snorkel, both of which are provided by North Shore Shark Adventures.
- Trusted and reputable company
- Beginner-friendly with no diving experience or swimming skills necessary
- Opportunity to see other marine life such as dolphins and sea turtles
- No bulky equipment needed, just a simple mask and snorkel combo
- Might not be enough diving and swimming included for more experienced divers.
This tour is a little different from the others that we have looked at here, as rather than involving a cage, it is a snorkeling experience.
It is an excellent tour that allows you to get up close and personal with sharks, so we had to give it a mention!
Another tour that is located in Haleiwa, One Ocean Diving is a unique company in comparison to the other companies that offer these kinds of experiences as they are primarily a support platform and foundation for education, conservation and collaborative pelagic research.
The tour is led by world renowned marine researchers and shark experts, making it a highly educational experience as well as an enjoyable one.
Some of the key educational elements include learning about shark sensory systems and conservation, as well as marine biology science. You’ll even get the chance to take part in some data collection.
One Ocean Diving is the very first that offers a chance to free dive with sharks in Hawaii and the United States. Don’t let that make you nervous, though!
The snorkeling experience has a perfect safety record, and you will be supported the entire time.
The marine researchers who guide these dives will be the first in and the last out of the water to ensure the safety of guests.
This shark snorkeling experience is truly unique in that it gives guests the chance to get fully immersed in conservation and marine biology whilst getting up close and personal with sharks too.
What To Expect
On the day of the expedition, guests will gather at the ticket booth kiosk at One Ocean Diving. The boat that will take you out on your journey will then arrive at the commercial dock near the kiosk.
The experience itself will consist of snorkeling three miles outside of Haleiwa Harbor.
You’ll find yourself diving the deep blue pelagic water where you will be able to spot a wide range of marine life including whales, turtles, dolphins and- of course- sharks!
The activity is a private tour, so only you and your group will be able to participate. Children are able to attend, but they will need to stay seated on their caregivers laps.
It is also recommended that those who are pregnant, have heart problems or any other serious medical conditions.
- A unique experience undertaken by a marine research and support foundation
- The chance to get up close and personal with sharks thanks to the free diving nature
- A strong focus on the educational elements of marine biology.
- Led by shark experts and marine researchers
- Free diving might be too intimidating for beginners
- Not recommended for certain people, such as pregnant women and those with health conditions.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many People Are Able To Fit Inside A Shark Diving Cage?
This will vary from company to company, but the usual limit for shark diving cages is about eight people at maximum.
If you want to know exact figures, make sure to contact the company that you have booked your experience with and ask them directly.
What Are Some Essentials That You Need To Bring When Shark Cage Diving?
There are usually certain items that your tour will provide for you when you go shark cage diving- such as masks and snorkels- however, this will vary depending on your chosen tour.
Here are a few items that you might want to consider:
This is an essential of course! You might want to wear your bathing suit or wetsuit under your clothes or on their own, as there is no guarantee that you will have a chance to change when you get to the venue.
Warm Clothes and a Towel
There is a chance that you will get a bit cold when you get out of the water, depending on the weather. Bringing along a towel and some warm clothing means you don’t have to worry about catching a cold
It’s always handy to bring some sunscreen with you to avoid burning when you aren’t submerged.
Seasickness/ Motion Sickness Pills
If you suffer from motion sickness or sea sickness, make sure that you have some medication handy. The boat trip could exacerbate sea sickness and motion sickness, as could your time in the cage if the sea is particularly choppy.
A Camera or GoPro
You will definitely want to snap some pictures of your experience, so make sure to bring a camera!
If you have a camera that can work underwater, make sure to liaise with the operators of the tour so that you know the safest way to take pictures.
Is Shark Cage Diving Dangerous?
As long as you follow the rules, regulations and, the instructions of the operators, shark cage diving is a safe and enjoyable experience.