Sharks In Maui: Everything You Need To Know About Them

Last Updated on September 14, 2023 by Amin Tawar

Are There Sharks In Maui?

Sharks In Maui
Sharks In Maui: Everything You Need To Know About Them

Maui Island has more than 40 shark species and the most shark sightings. According to the Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources, out of all the Hawaiian Islands, Maui has the majority of sharks. 

This is because Maui offers optimal circumstances for sharks to thrive. Sharks in Hawaii prefer this particular coastal zone habitat, the insular shelf, between the shelf break and the beach that has all the resources needed for the shark species.

Types Of Sharks In Maui

There are many shark species found on Maui Islands, here are a few famous species found on the Island. 

  •  Blacktip Reef Shark

Blacktip reef sharks are very common due to the regions they inhabit. They prefer shallow inshore waters where the number of bigger shark species is low. It commonly attains a length of 3-5.2 ft, females are bigger than males. They have prominent blacktips on their fins. 

  • Whitetip Reef Shark

Whitetip reef sharks are found throughout the waters of Hawaii. They can be seen resting in caves as they can stop swimming for long periods, making them commonly observed. These sharks are gray and have flat heads with white tips. At birth, pups are 1.7 to 1.9 feet and adults can reach 5.6 feet long. 

  • Scalloped Hammerhead Shark

Found both in coastal regions of Maui Island, the Scalloped Hammerhead sharks are by far the most unique in the oceans. These species are grey with paler underbellies. Adult scalloped hammerheads are seen offshore and sometimes in shallower areas. Birth size is between 16 to 20 inches, and adults can be up to 12 feet in length, with 6 to 8 feet on average. 

  • Sandbar Shark

Found in the deep coastal waters of Maui Island. These species are seen in intertidal regions down to around 900 ft in depth. They are light gray in coloration with a white ventral side. The maximum length for a sandbar in Maui Island is around 6.4 feet and the average is 5 feet. They are opportunistic feeders and feed on eating bony fish, crustaceans, cephalopods, and rays.

Where Are The Most Sharks In Maui?

Sharks In Maui
Sharks In Maui: Everything You Need To Know About Them

The Southern regions of the Maui coastline, which includes the towns of Wailea and Kihei are known to have the highest population of sharks. 

It’s also the place where the largest of Hawaii’s tiger sharks, live. The associate investigator at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, states “We know from our telemetry that you’re probably never very far from a shark when you’re in those areas” The adult female sharks live right next to these areas that locals are heavily using for ocean entertainment at Southwest Maui on a day-to-day basis. 

Also, Check Our Guide On Sharks In Jacksonville

Are Sharks Common In Maui?

Yes, sharks are very common on the island of Maui as it offers optimal conditions for the species. Tiger sharks in these regions like a special zone of nearshore habitat, the insular shelf, which is the region between the shelf break and beach. So this area has all the resources that sharks typically need. 

Maui Nui, the group of islands of Molokai, Maui, Lanai, and Kahoolawe sits on an extensive shelf that provides an excellent habitat for the sharks. The environment benefits the sharks, and many of the tracked sharks that live off Maui remain in the area, while a few sharks from Oahu like to go during the winter to Maui.

Are Sharks A Problem In Maui-Hawaii?

Shark bites are very rare in Maui Island — and fatal attacks more rare — but the chance is not zero. There are approximately 7 to 8 shark attacks on Maui Island per year. According to the Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources, Maui had 62 shark incidents from 1995 to 2022. Winter months are when there is a huge amount of unprovoked shark attacks, especially from October to December. This is because winter months overlap with shark mating seasons. 

Most recently, a woman went missing last December, after a shark attack in Kihei, South Maui. The Southern regions of the Maui coastline, which locals are heavily using for ocean entertainment at Southwest Maui on a day-to-day basis, probably play a crucial role in the relatively high number of shark attacks in waters close to Maui when compared to the other Hawaiian Islands. 

Is It Safe To Swim In Maui?

Yes, Maui is safe to swim as shark attacks happen only when in the deep oceans. When swimming in the Maui make sure to avoid heavy rains and stay out of water until it is clear. Also, you must avoid any murky areas as they attract sharks, and you can be mistaken for prey when they are in search of a snack.

How Do You Avoid Sharks In Maui?

Sharks do not attack humans unless provokes or harassed. However, here are a few tips to stay safe from sharks are

  • Never move too far away from the shore.
  • Stay out of the water during dusk, dawn, and night, as a few species might move inshore to feed. 
  • If you have open wounds or bleeding never enter the water as sharks can detect blood.
  • Avoid murky waters, areas near stream mouths, and harbor entrances, as they are frequented by sharks.
  • Do not enter the water when sharks are present, and leave the water calmly and quickly when you sight one. 
  • Never harass or provoke a shark, even a small species.
  • Surf or swim at beaches protected by lifeguards, and observe their advice.

Can You Swim With Sharks In Maui?

Yes, you can go shark diving in Shark Dive Maui with Ocean Experts. You can enjoy a cage-free dive into the 750,000-gallon exhibit where you can spend time with over 20 sharks. This 3-hour experience costs $350 per diver.


And that was everything you need to know about the Sharks In Maui. I hope this article answered all your queries.

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