As we head into spring, we've more reasons than usual to want to get out and about. The UK seems set for a bumper year of tourism. With predictions of a boom in “staycations” as overseas travel remains mired in uncertainty.

Beyond the Great British seaside, let’s not forget that we’re blessed with some phenomenal wild places - and wildlife - on and around these Isles. None more spectacular than the iconic Basking Shark, which graces our waters in the spring and summer months.

The second largest shark in the world, the Basking Shark is a filter-feeder. Combing the surface waters for plankton, which blooms as the days lengthen.

As one of the few sharks that spend prolonged periods at the surface, an encounter is on the cards. If you’re in the right place at the right time. Typically, the sharks start the season in the South West and move up the Irish Sea to hotspots on the West Coast of Scotland and the Hebrides.

As with all wildlife encounters, it’s easy to get it wrong and spoil it for both parties. So, remember to follow our Code of Conduct below. Designed for swimmers, boaters, kayakers and SUP-ers, lucky enough to find themselves in the presence of these marine icons.

It’s not about saying stay away completely. But do give them a wide berth. It’s about respecting some basic good practice that’ll ensure your own safety and allow the shark to continue hoovering up that precious plankton undisturbed.

Paul Cox, Shark Trust Managing Director.

Basking Shark Code of Conduct (pdf)

Download our Basking Shark Code of Conduct (pdf)

And, as well as following this, we've got one more ask for any lucky shark spotters...

If you spot a Basking Shark, please let us know. Along with the Marine Conservation Society, we’ve been collecting records for over 30 years. This is valuable data that can help scientists assess changes due to climate change, as well as providing much-needed support for marine protection.

So, if you’re out on the water this year, keep those eyes peeled and you might just be one of the lucky ones. But don’t keep it to yourself…share it.

Record your Sighting

Related Links:

Discover fin-tastic Basking Shark facts

Find out more about our Basking Shark Project

Adopt a Basking Shark

Banner image: Basking Sharks © Charles Hood