Michael Rutzen (1970) is well known as one of the few people in the world who free dives with great white sharks. He took up working as cage diving operator in 1994, after a career as a local fisherman. He started free diving with white sharks in 1998.

Michael Rutzen has been a member of the White Shark Cage Diving foundation since its inception. During this time he was at the forefront of developing and pioneering techniques that are now the backbone of the industry. With Shark Diving Unlimited he guided several world-renowned still photographers and film crews, and started a series of internationally acclaimed documentaries.

Currently Michael gives field support to all the authorized research projects on Population Dynamics studies, DNA and Isotopes sampling programs and studies through the Marine and Coastal Management of South Africa and was also involved in satellite tagging and recent acoustic tagging.

Mike has personally escorted the following members of Royalty for Educational and Shark Cage Diving encounters:

■His Majesty King Abdulla II of Jordan
■His Royal Highness Prince Harry of the United Kindom
■Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani of Qatar
■Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan of Abu Dhabi
■The Royal family of Jeddah


Michael Rutzen and Brad Pitt
Michael Rutzen and Halle Berry
Michael Rutzen and Matt Damon


Unique images with Michael Rutzen free diving with great white sharks have been featured in many International Magazines and books to promote white sharks conservation:

Of Sharks and Of MEN – Desmond Prout-Jones
Smithsonian magazine, June 2008
The Telegraph 2008
Tunza 2009
Sport Diver 2010/2011
Elgin Grabouwer June 2012
Leadership magazine Edition 333 – Sharkman: SA’s great white guru

Mike has also appeared in the following conservation documentaries, working with and alongside international film makers as field expert, cameraman and safety diver:

2005 – “Beyond fear” (National Geographic)
2006 “Sharks man-eaters or misunderstood? (A John McIntyre Production in association with PADI, Sport Diver, Shark Diving Unlimited and Blue Planet Aquarium)
2007 – “Sharkman” (Discovery)
2009 – 60 Minutes with Anderson Cooper – CNN, CBS
2008-2009 – The Great White Shark, A Living Legend (BBC Natural World)
2010 – Shark Night (Discovery French TV)
2010 – Great White Shark (IMAX 3D)
2010 – Dark Tide (Warner Brothers featuring Halle Berry)
Sharkmaster for the TV show Stan Lee’s Superhumans

Mike developed a PADI Specialty course to improve the Conservation and Awareness of the Great White Shark. He travels the globe every year to give his presentations to create white shark awareness to show the real nature of this great predator and to share his knowledge and involve as many people as possible in his conservation battle.


Mike has hosted his presentations on the following seminars devoted to Marine Conservation:

Blue Planet Aquarium (Chester): Saturday, August 19th (several years)
Royal Automotive Club, London UK 2005
UK Dive Shows London and Birmingham (2004 to 2010)
American Business Council (Miami, 2009)
Marina di Grosseto Sunday, 15th November 2009 (Italy)
University della Calabria Monday 16th November 2009 (Italy)
Trieste, Wednesday, 10th February 2010 (Italy)
University della Calabria Monday 15th February 2010 (Italy)
Mission Blue (Dr. Sylvia Earle Project)
Atlantis the Palms, Dubai May 2012
Plymouth University, United Kingdom May 2012
Trieste, Italy May 2012
Hull University, May 2012
Prague, Czech Republic 04-06 October 2012
Langebaan Yacht Club, South Africa 24 November 2012