There are areas in the UK where seals (usually juvenile greys) interact with divers.

If you are going to dive in places where seal interactions are likely, observe the guidelines below.

Guidance on seal interactions for scuba divers

  • Do not initiate interactions –  remain calm and relaxed, and let seals choose whether to approach you. Do not chase them if they swim away.
  • Touching seals or encouraging them to investigate you with their mouths or flippers is a bad idea. They may look like puppies, but they have sharp teeth and sharp nails on their flippers. Seal bites are very dangerous as their mouths contain bacteria which are resistant to most antibiotics so even an accidental tooth snag can have serious and rapid consequences.
  • Seals are wild animals. Do not influence their natural behaviours by teaching them bad habits, e.g. never feed them.
  • Never get between a seal and its escape route, e.g. do not follow a seal up a gully and block its way to the open water.
  • Pay attention to a seal’s behaviour and body language. It will tell you if it wants you to leave – don’t ignore the signs.

Jane Morgan - Open Water - UK - Wildlife - Grey seal going to nibble on a divers flipper


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