Divers' Clothing & Gear

Clothing and Gear Worn/Used by Divers During an Unprovoked Attack

The table reflects the clothing and gear people commonly wear while diving. It is possible that certain clothing and gear make a human look more like natural prey, but no significant research has been done in this area. Face masks are an example of a popular piece of gear that divers wear, not necessarily a piece of gear for which sharks attack divers. Of the 544 cases (N=544) with at least one of the items listed below; individuals may be represented in more than one category.

Clothing And GearAttacks (%)Number of Victims Using this Clothing/Gear
Face Mask With Or Without Snorkel 25 134
Swim Fins 21 116
Swimsuit 7 38
SCUBA 15 81
Weapon (ie., Knife, Speargun, or Powerhead) 10 57
Wet Suit/Dry Suit 10 53
Other Gear 8 41
Dive Bag/Stringer 3 14
Non Swim Clothing 1 5
Hard Hat Suit 1 5

Artificial Light at Surface During Unprovoked Shark Attacks Involving Diver

Of 66 cases (N=66)

Last updated: June 19, 2013

Artificial Light Below Surface During Unprovoked Shark Attacks Involving Divers

Of 69 cases (N=69)

Last updated: June 19, 2013

Diver's Clothing During Unprovoked Shark Attacks

Of 37 cases (N=37)

Last updated: June 19, 2013

Special Features of Diver's Clothing During Unprovoked Shark Attacks

The highest percentage of victims reported no special features on their clothing, while the next highest percentage of victims had highly contrasting colors on their outfits or gear. A possible explanation is that more of the population wears highly contrasting colors on their outfits and gear, or dive with no special features while less of the population swim with shiny features on their clothing and gear.

Of 47 cases (N=47)

Last updated: June 19, 2013

Clothing Pattern Worn by Divers During Unprovoked Shark Attacks

What you are looking at is the distribution of clothing patterns on the portion of the population that were attacked while diving. As you can see, most of the divers had no pattern on their swimsuits. This reflects divers' tastes in diving suit patterns more than tastes of sharks.

Of 45 cases (N=45)

Last updated: March 19, 2013

Color Combinations of Divers' Clothing and Gear During Shark Attacks

First color is primary color, second color is secondary color.

ColorAttacks (#)Attacks (%)
All Black 14 21
Black with blue 8 12
All Blue 6 9
Black with white 5 7
Black with yellow 6 9
Black with red 5 7
All White 3 4
Black with Green 3 4
All Brown 2 3
All Green 2 3
Blue with yellow 2 3
Blue with White 2 3
Black with Orange 1 2
Blue with black 1 2
Red as the only color 1 2
Red with White 1 2
White with Brown 1 2
All Yellow 1 2
Red with Orange 1 2
Black with Brown 1 2

 

These are the distributions of primary, secondary, and tertiary colors on divers' clothes when they were attacked. A very large proportion of divers who were attacked by sharks wear black gear and clothing as a primary color; however, black is the most common color used by dive gear manufactures. It may also be possible that the human form looks more like natural prey, such as marine mammals, when dressed in dark colors.

Primary Colors Worn by Divers During Unprovoked Shark Attacks

Last updated: March 25, 2013

Secondary Colors Worn by Divers During Unprovoked Shark Attacks

Last updated: March 25, 2013

Tertiary Colors Worn by Divers During Unprovoked Shark Attacks

Last updated: March 25, 2013

© International Shark Attack File
Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida