AWARE Shark Conservation Specialty

Last week saw the first Project AWARE Shark Conservation course taught at Phi Phi Barakuda.  Julie completed her IDC with me earlier this year, and now she has also completed her MSDT Prep – taking five Specialty Instructor Training Courses with me.  Along with Deep, Digital Underwater Photography, Emergency Oxygen Provider, Wreck and Nitrox, Julie also wished to help spread the word about the issues facing the world’s shark population...

AWARE Shark Conservation Specialty

The AWARE Shark Conservation course is an excellent way for us to help educate divers about the plight of sharks.  Being an AWARE Shark Conservation Diver Instructor gives us an idea platform from which to educate our students.  The AWARE Shark Conservation specialty can also be taught with the Advanced Open Water course, as an elective Adventure Dive during that course.

During the course students learn why sharks are so important to the marine ecosystems, what the threats are to them, and what we can do to help...

As an instructor, this is a very versatile specialty that we can teach in a variety of ways.  We can teach the course as a standard two-dive PADI Specialty, with Knowledge Development.  We can just teach the Knowledge Development side of this course, to raise awareness too.  When we teach Knowledge Development only, we can issue a wall certificate to acknowledge the students participation and understanding.  We also have the option of including AWARE Shark Conservation as an optional dive towards the Advanced Open Water or Adventure Diver certifications...

During our AWARE Shark Conservation Specialty Instructor training course, we had a great day out on the boat.  For this course, we completed a memorable dive at Shark Point, a stunning dive site situated between Koh Phi Phi and Phuket.

The dive started better than we could have imagined.  Before we even started our descent, we had spotted our first shark.  Looking down from the surface we spotted a leopard shark nestled on the bottom, relaxing at 6m.  We made a nice, controlled descent, to avoid spooking it, and then went about our business of identifying the shark to species and gender.  We also estimated its size, and had a look for any signs of ‘non-natural injuries’ to the shark.

As the dive progressed, we managed to find another two leopard sharks on the dive site.  One of which we were lucky enough to see free-swimming about the reef.  With its elongated caudal fin, a free-swimming leopard shark is a beautiful sight...

After such a fantastic day out on the boat, upon return to the dive centre we chatted about our findings, and then after a little bit of paperwork it was time to celebrate finishing the course.  Congratulations Julie, on becoming Phi Phi Barakuda’s first AWARE Shark Conservation Specialty instructor student, and here’s hoping you go on to spread the word and help the sharks of the world in your diving future...

If the AWARE Shark Conservation course, or any other, interest you, then drop me an e-mail for further information...