Watch Legend Known as ‘Sharkman’ Dive With an 18 Foot Great White … No Cage!

Written by Sarah Psaradelis
Updated: October 17, 2023
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Swimming with great white sharks is not something many people plan on doing, but for some, it is an exhilarating rush where you get to connect and understand one of the ocean’s majestic beasts. The South African “Sharkman,” Mike Rutzen, decided to take a dive with an 18-foot-long great white shark, right off Shark Alley along Gansbaai in South Africa. He didn’t just dive with any shark but had to wait around three months until he could find a relaxed shark to tolerate a human in its presence.

Check Out the Video Below!

This was one of the most giant sharks Mike got to dive with, and the video footage took 15 minutes to film. If swimming with one of the most feared sharks without being harmed wasn’t enough to shock you, Mike was also able to pet the shark’s nose. Sharks can be quite incredible, and the video shows how most great white sharks don’t deserve such a bad reputation.

Another astonishing thing to notice in the video is that Mike wasn’t protected with a cage in the water, as most divers would view this shark through an underwater cage known as “shark cage diving.” You can see from the footage in the video that the shark did not have any intentions to harm Mike, and it instead allowed its nose to be touched before swimming off.

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Is 18 Feet Large for a Shark?

Great white sharks can get large, and the shark in the video is considered a big shark. Large great white sharks can reach a length of 20 feet long, with most female great whites growing between 15 to 16 feet and males between 11 to 13 feet. Female great white sharks are typically larger than males and can weigh up to 5,000 pounds.

Can You Swim With Great White Sharks?

A huge great white shark investigates 3 divers in a shark cage as sun rays penetrate the clear, cool waters of Guadalupe Island, Mexico.

Shark cage diving is a much safer option if you want to see a shark up close.

©J nel/

Even though the diver in the video was swimming by the shark and petting its nose, it is not recommended to try this. Diving unprotected with sharks should be left to professionals, and shark cage diving is a much safer option if you still want to get close to a shark but be protected. Even though sharks aren’t the ferocious beasts they are made out to be in movies, respecting the shark and keeping yourself safe is important.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Willyam Bradberry/

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About the Author

Sarah is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering aquatic pets, rodents, arachnids, and reptiles. Sarah has over 3 years of experience in writing and researching various animal topics. She is currently working towards furthering her studies in the animal field. A resident of South Africa, Sarah enjoys writing alongside her pets and almost always has her rats perched on her shoulders.

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