Advice issued to sea swimmers as Ireland enters basking shark season

By Fiona Frawley

May 25, 2023 at 11:59am


There's more than just jellyfish to be looking out for.

As casual swimmers all over the country muster up the courage to rummage out the togs and little swim shoes and take a plunge into the sea, it just so happens that basking shark season is also in full swing.

The placid creatures are of no real danger to humans, but their large size and rough skin means that you should still exercise caution if you come into contact with a basking shark while out swimming or kayaking.

As more and more basking shark sightings are reported along the coastline, the Irish Basking Shark Group have issued the following guidelines for swimmers and sailers in Ireland.


  • Maintain your distance. Stay at least 4metres away from a basking shark if you do spot one.
  • Do not touch the shark. If the shark approaches you, stay still and do not interact.
  • Stick together with other swimmers, and stay near the surface. If you spot one basking shark, there are likely several more underneath.
  • If there are basking sharks in the area, limit the amount of people getting into the sea.
  • Avoid flash photography if taking pictures - it can startle the sharks.
Basking shark season in Ireland falls during May and June. 

Watercraft handlers (kayakers, paddleboarders, sailers, etc)

  • Reduce speed in areas where there's shark activity (up to 6 knots or less).
  • Avoid sudden changes in direction, and do not intentionally move in front of sharks as they're swimming.
  • If you're in a powered vessel, switch the engine to neutral while within 50m of a shark.
  • Do not approach sharks. Remain still and allow them to approach your vessel.

These guidelines are intended to keep both people and sharks safe. The IBSG have also advised that anyone who spots a basking shark can record the sighting and submit it to to assist with their research.

Header image via Getty 


- Irish Rail find family of bats living in rail signalling box

- Galway coffee roaster ranks as third best in the world


- REVIEW: The restaurant every Neighbourhood wants