Meet the girl who dives with great white sharks

Ocean Ramsey uses social media and underwater pictures to promote shark and marine conservation.
Marine biologist Ocean Ramsey dives with a Great White shark in Hawaii
Swimming with great whites made Ocean popular © @juansharks
By Alison Mann

A quick internet search for ‘girl dives with sharks’ will throw up the name Ocean Ramsey. This will surely contain videos of her swimming alongside great white sharks, as well as images showing her close interactions with marine life.

But there’s more to this girl than that – a life spent in the ocean has led her to become a professional freediver, scuba instructor, marine biologist and model.

She’s also keen to share her passion for shark conservation, and this is where her amazing imagery and internet prowess are put to good use.

Ocean swims with all marine animals

Marine biologist Ocean Ramsey dives with a sperm whale in Hawaii
Little and large © @juansharks

As a freediver she achieved 6.5 minutes underwater, and started her own marine research and conservation company.

She is a model and former professional freediver

Marine biologist Ocean Ramsey freedives with a stingray in Hawaii
Ocean swims with a stingray © @juansharks

But it was sharks that she felt the greatest passion for and, after she was filmed swimming alongside a great white shark, holding onto its fin, she was thrust into the public view.

As well as a professional scuba instructor and marine biologist

Marine biologist Ocean Ramsey dives with a whale in Hawaii
Water Inspired aims to protect marine life © @juansharks

For her, swimming with a great white was nothing unusual, but for the public it was a pretty extreme feat.

Changing this perception that great white sharks are dangerous is what really drives Ocean.

Her non-profit venture Water Inspired uses amazing images to promote conservation

Marine bioligist Ocean Ramsey dives with a Great White shark in Hawaii
Ocean promotes shark conservation © @juansharks

In her professional life as a marine biologist she studies shark behaviour, which gives her the opportunity to have such close interactions with the creatures.

She explains: “Sharks don’t have many people speaking up for them. I’m lucky to have spent my life studying and interacting with them. Because of my specific field of study I am able to look at the body language of sharks, and get that close interaction we need to understand them.”

Marine biologist Ocean Ramsey dives with a Great White shark in Hawaii
Ocean with a Great White © @juansharks

As well as scientific work, she set up a non-profit called Water Inspired which uses amazing underwater images primarily to promote shark conservation, but also to ensure the public are aware of other marine issues too.

She travels around the world diving

Marine biologist Ocean Ramsey dives with a Great White shark in Hawaii
Beautiful images to promote shark conservation © @juansharks

She’s created quite a buzz she has over 100,000 Instagram followers.

Her images stand out, she believes, by showing someone swimming with a creature they may initially think is dangerous, which makes them look twice.

Ocean has been diving since she was a child in Hawaii

Marine biologist Ocean Ramsey dives with a Tiger shark in Hawaii
Freediving © @juansharks

She says herself in the simplest terms: "By swimming with these sharks we are able to show we can co-exist and they are not going to eat you!"

Marine biologist Ocean Ramsey dives with a Great White shark in Hawaii
Ocean wants to show sharks aren't scary © @juansharks

This helps change the negative perceptions people may have, she explains: “One of our primary goals is utilising beautiful imagery to inspire people to take interest and care about the marine environment. I think Juan’s images definitely inspire people to take a second look at marine life through the eyes of someone that has spent their life in the water."

See Ocean in action

Ocean believes the striking images as well as her passion for marine conservation has sparked the huge social media following.

She adds: “It is my hope and personal observation that the number of people who care about marine conservation is growing. It's refreshing to see how many people are jumping on board and taking interest and an active role in daily conservation and larger organised projects."

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