Do Sharks Really Jump Out of the Water

It is most likely that you have heard someone tell you about sharks jumping out of the water, and this often makes you curious to see and experience it yourself. While this reason alone is enough to raise the level of curiosity, seeing sharks is itself a mesmerizing experience, let alone shark diving tours and other activities. But do sharks really jump out of the water? If it’s real, it’s going to be a wonderful experience for sure.

To be honest, yes, sharks do jump out of the water, and this spectacular activity is often referred to as breaching, but not all species of sharks do it. Do you know there are over 500 species of sharks found in the world’s waters with many different types? And among them are also the spinner sharks. A Spinner shark swoops through a bait ball with its mouth wide open, spinning three times before diving back into the water or in search of small fish.

Can you believe that Spinner sharks can hop up to 20 feet (6.1 m) in the air? When spinner sharks jump, they seem to float in mid-air. They breach, but they also spin in the air during their breach, providing unbelievable displays of aerial maneuvering.

Can sharks actually jump out of the water?

If we put aside the spinner sharks, are there any other shark species that are able to jump out of the water? Well, there are. Sharks do leap out of the water, but the act is not common among many species; only a few do it.

Having said that, shark-jumping is not the same as for dolphins. While dolphins do it for fun and more frequently, sharks do it occasionally and often to locate prey.

As it is evident that sharks really jump out of the water, but not all shark species are able to perform this feat, the question then arises as to what kinds of sharks are capable of doing this. Well, you will know about the names below.

Which shark species jump out of the water?

With over 500 species of sharks in the waters, only a few species seem to jump out of water. Sharks can swim at speeds of 40 mph and fly up to 10 feet tall at the surface. That includes the most famous, the great white shark. Considering its weight, it’s hard to imagine a 2000-pound shark leaping out of the water to hunt, but the great white shark does it with ease.

Other than that, you might be able to catch a glimpse of mako sharks and thresher sharks hopping out of the water. Additionally, basking sharks also lie in the same category. With that being said, in order to propel themselves out of the sea, sharks must disburse a lot of energy, which is why it is relatively rare to see sharks bouncing out of the water.

The other well-known sharks, such as the nurse sharks and the hammerhead sharks, aren’t seen leaping out of surface water.

How high can a shark jump?

When it can jump, then it’s right to ask how high it can be. When it comes to the great white sharks, 8 to 10 feet is the height above the water surface it can jump. The same goes for other sharks; however, the height may vary a bit since all sharks are different from each other.

Surprisingly, when we look at the mako sharks, it is said that they can jump as high as 9 meters. Because of their speed, Mako sharks are known to be the fastest; the highest recorded jump by a shortfin mako shark was 30 feet. This is, without a doubt, a great accomplishment.

Where can you see sharks jumping out of the water?

Sharks are present in almost all the world’s oceans, but seeing them hopping out of water is not so common. If you’re privileged enough to catch a sight of shark-jumping, it would be an unforgettable experience. However, there are certain parts of the world where you have a good chance to see sharks jumping out of the water.

For example, the seal island of South Africa is famous for great white sharks leaping out of the water. Similarly, the coast of Australia, New Zealand, and North America offers you a chance to experience sharks outside the water. Moreover, the shores of Ireland also provide you with a great opportunity as basking sharks are there in large numbers.


While the dolphins do it for amusement, the great white shark’s dramatic display of emerging from the water to catch fast-moving prey is unmatched. This clears out the confusion about whether sharks can jump out of the water or not. Not only the great white sharks, but there are a few other species included in the group, for example, the Mako sharks. 

Next time someone tells you about sharks hopping out of the water, do believe in them, visit the coastal areas as discussed above, and do try to experience it for yourself.

About the author


I am a Scholar and a dedicated content writer. I am on a mission to stamp out the importance of one of the ocean's most fascinating and remarkable creatures, the sharks, and to let people know about their role in keeping the ecosystem in equilibrium.