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If you're not a diver, you probably don't know that the Red Sea is one of the premier locations in the world for diving and water sports.
The Red Sea hosts some of the most beautiful marine life in the world and there are many spots in Egypt you can enjoy the underwater coral gardens, shipwrecks and life such as the famous Sharm al-Sheikh, Ras Mohammed, Hurghada, Marsa Alam and others.
If you do know this about Egypt and if, in fact the diving is one of the main reasons you're visiting Egypt, it is important that you understand that it's not all fun and games and occasionally things can go wrong. But if you get informed and follow these few tips, your dive or snorkel will be a less stressful one.
While the Red Sea generally remains calm, depending on weather conditions the water could be choppy or unsuitable for diving.
Diving in the Red Sea from one of the many resorts along the shore is sure to be an experience you'll never forget. As long as you follow the rules for your own safety and keep tabs on the condition of the water, you should be fine. For some more handy tips on making your dive a safe one, read this.
Shark bite incidents can happen in Egypt however they are quite rare and there are other safety issues to consider while diving in the Red Sea.
The Egyptian government is notoriously protective of its tourists, as Egypt remains one of the most-visited locations in the Middle East and North Africa. This protectiveness can be both annoying and much appreciated.
There's a separate ministry in the government known as the Egyptian Chamber of Diving and Water Sports (CWDS) expressly devoted to helping people stay safe.
There are many rules and regulations you have to follow to be in line with the CWDS; to the diving enthusiast, these regulations may cramp their diving style.
You should develop a relationship with local experts and divers to get a sense for what days and what times of day are best not to be in the water. Statistically though, you are more likely to end up in an accident on the way to the dive site than being bitten by a shark.
Oceanic White Tips are relatively harmless, and if you see one, it may come to check you out, but will likely swim off.
In general, most aquatic animals hunt around dusk and dawn, so it makes sense to do your diving at mid-day. It's also important not to swim, snorkel or dive when there is bait fish present or birds dive bombing the water for fish. Where there is lots of food, there is generally a shark or 2.
If you are a professional, you know all this already; if you are an amateur, however, it is advised that you stick to any experts in the area like glue. Follow their direction and you will enjoy this exquisite diving location.
In the wake of a lethal shark attack off the popular resort of Sharm al-Sheikh, CWDS put two important regulations into place.
First, people are only allowed to swim in front of hotels or resorts. The resort must clearly mark the secure swimming area with buoys and ropes. This is standard Western practice on most beaches, and shouldn't come to a surprise to most people.
The second regulation places restrictions on snorkelling, which had previously not been well regulated. Snorkeling is only allowed in certain areas, and snorkelers must be accompanied by a guide registered with the CWDS. As far as diving regulations and restrictions go, a diver must pass a proficiency test with the CWDS before being allowed to go out alone. Otherwise, a CWDS guide must accompany any scuba diver in the water at all times. Diving professionals must have their equipment checked prior to diving, and any sort of damage to the natural habitat is strictly prohibited. Heavy restrictions are placed on use of knives and the use of muck sticks is expressly prohibited. This is for the purpose of keeping the area beautiful.
The Red Sea and Egypt are consistently ranked as some of the best dive locations in the world, with a stunning diversity of colors and aquatic wildlife. Thousands of people visit every month just for diving purposes, and if you happen to be spending time in southern Sinai or along the eastern coast of Egypt bordering the Red Sea, signing up for a class could be an excellent use of your time.
If you sign up with a group or class, your guide will take care of all the equipment regulations and will be responsible for your safety, which is useful if the diving regulations located on the CWDS website seem too complicated or confusing to wade through.
Visit the CDWS and look through the potential dive locations, rules and regulations if you'd like to begin to plan your Red Sea diving expedition today.
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