Traditionally most training agencies focus on sharks in general; Sharklife and RAID however will release individual shark specialities that identify each species’ unique characteristics.
Another unique feature is that this Specialty can be taken by certified divers, accomplished snorkelers and freedivers alike; it is a courses for all people.
The aim of the Whale Shark Specialty
This course is designed to introduce divers & snorkelers to the whale shark species by helping people develop an understanding and knowledge of whale shark biology and behaviour. Students will learn techniques for diving with whale sharks which is an important environmental aspect of diving with these animals.
The course also includes a conservation section which focuses on the threats facing whale sharks and their conservation status.
What are the academic sections?
The courses have two manuals to cover the academic and practical open water section of training.
- Whale Shark Speciality
- Whale shark taxonomy and classification
- Whale shark distribution and habitats
- Whale shark biology
- Whale shark behaviour
- Threats to whale sharks
Open Water: Practical components included
- Estimating size
- Verify sex
- Whale Shark behaviour and swimming patterns
Who may teach this speciality?
A RAID Shark Speciality Instructor
What are the links with other programs?
There are no direct links to other programs, however this specialty is associated with the Sharklife & RAID Ragged Tooth Sand Tiger Shark Specialty. Both build awareness and educate people about sharks.
Can we credit dives if done as electives?
It will be up to the Whale Shark Specialty Instructor whether to credit dives or not. In some cases, the Instructor may want to complete all dives for practice and to provide a full program. This is recommended by RAID as the practical in water experience after completing the academic knowledge development will be fully appreciated.
Dive stores could decide to run the Whale Shark Specialty in conjunction with Explorer 30 or Advanced 35. Remember that RAID has requirement for mastery rather than simply completion of dives.
Run your Whale Shark program with an organised trip
As a dive centre you may want to organise a trip to a known area for sighting of whale sharks and combine this with the training. Generally, the operators of these areas will be well versed in operations around the animals and will appreciate divers who have taken the time to learn more. This can be rewarding for the students and financially better for the dive centre.
Instructor ratings for Whale Shark Specialty explained
Sharklife and RAID have identified that RAID Divemasters and level 4 divers as well as RAID Instructors may apply to become a RAID Shark Speciality Instructor.
Sharklife and RAID have not (to date) identified any other agency who may have a similar RAID Shark Speciality Instructor rating other than present Sharklife Shark Instructors. Any persons who have a Shark Instructor certification through Sharklife may cross over without any up-date.
How does a RAID Divemaster or Instructor become a Shark Speciality Instructor?
- Obtain the Sharklife /RAID Shark Instructor course.
- Complete all theory, questions and exam.
- Contact regional office for sign off.
You will be required to prove (documentation) that you have experience diving or leading dives/groups with sharks and/ or provide a certification of a similar nature. The intent is to confirm that as a Shark Speciality Instructor you have the relevant experience/expertise to lead persons in a safe environment in conditions which you are accustom to.
It is not the intent that this certification (Shark Speciality Instructor) will provide you the license to lead persons into any environment for which one is not experienced, as described or included in the respective guide lines in the respective Shark Speciality courses. It does not cover the feeding of any Sharks and is not intended to certify any person (Instructor or student) to be in the water / environment where there is any shark feeding.
Once certified as a RAID Shark Speciality Instructor, you will be qualified to teach any of RAID’s Shark Speciality programs automatically, as and when the training agency launches them. Presently they are
- Ragged Tooth Sand Tiger Shark Speciality
- Whale Shark Speciality
Contact your RAID Regional Office now to upgrade to Shark Specialty Instructor.
Photo by Tam Warner Minton