Whale Shark Project Resources

Whale Shark Code of Conduct

Diving with Whale Sharks in their natural environment is a breath-taking and rewarding experience and many thousands of divers seek out this opportunity annually. Whale Shark diving tours can be commercially beneficial to an area; Whale Shark ecotourism is worth an estimated $47.5 million dollars annually and many small communities also benefit financially.

Whale Sharks are passive creatures but may get agitated by aggressive behaviour such as being touched, or chased. There have been a few instances of boats being butted by Whale Sharks, possibly after being provoked. Divers are also warned to steer clear of the powerful tail and follow the Whale Shark Code of Conduct at all times.

Divers need to be aware of any local regulations or protocols set by the dive organisation regarding behaviour around Whale Sharks before entering the water.

The following guidelines have been developed and promoted by The Shark Trust, the Australian Department of Parks and Wildlife, PADI and the Project AWARE Foundation, for public safety and the safety of these magnificent sharks. 
Swimmers / Divers Code of Conduct:

  • Do not attempt to touch, ride, or chase a Whale Shark   
  • Do not restrict normal movement or behaviour of the Shark
  • Maintain a minimum distance of 3 metres from the Whale Shark
  • Do not undertake flash photography
  • Do not use underwater motorised diver propulsions

Download the Code of Conduct (pdf)