5th Annual

North Carolina

Wreck•Shark Shootout


Thu, May 31 to Sun, June 3

(Optional "Recon" Dives May 29-30)

The Shootout

        The 5th Annual North Carolina Wreck•Shark Shootout will is hosted by professional photographer, Mike Gerken at Olympus Dive Center in Morehead City, NC. It is scheduled for May 31 to June 3, 2018 with two days of Recon diving on May 29-30. Each year divers come from all over the world to share a love of diving, underwater photography, sharks and wrecks. Please read this events page carefully and contact Mike to make your reservation.

Email: mike@evolutionunderwater.com.  Non-Photographers are welcome.


          The NC Wreck•Shark Shootout is a photo video contest where the objective is to dive on the best wrecks with the most sharks and submit photos and videos for an opportunity to win some amazing prizes (see below). I have been diving the wrecks of North Carolina for nearly 15 years and am considered to be very knowledgeable of the diving in the area. I will use this expertise to put divers on the sites where I think they can take great images. I will make decisions on where to dive based on what I believe is in the best interest of the majority. Please visit my Biography Page within this web site to learn more about myself.


         The list of sponsors below is from the 2017 event. I hope to include all of them and add many new ones for 2018. Prizes and categories are subject to change at any given time. If you care to become a sponsor contact mike@evolutionunderwater.com. No prize is too big or too small. 

Olympus Dive Center

          I have been associated with Olympus Dive Center for more than 15 years and find that they are the most professional and safest operation in North Carolina if not in the USA. Their two spacious USCG certified vessels are fast, comfortable and safe with highly experienced captains and crew. They can hold a capacity of 45 divers between the two vessels. However, in order to maximize comfort to the individual diver, the event in 2018 will be capped at 38 participants between the two vessels.  

Event Hotel

          For the third year, the official event hotel will be the Bask located on the Morehead waterfront just one block away from the Olympus Dive Center. I have a block of rooms reserved for this event. Book through me direct to receive the special group rate. For the past two years, I have received positive feedback from attendees on this facility. Let me mention again the convenience of being located right across the street from the dive boats and dive shop. In fact, all of the events pertaining to the shootout are centrally located walking distance from the hotel. 

The Weather

          If you are going to attend the event, bring a positive attitude and understand that the diving is at the mercy of Mother Nature. I cannot control the conditions or guarantee shark sightings. (However, it is a rare event when we cannot find any sharks at all.)  Also, keep in mind that there is always the chance that we will have to dive the inshore wrecks rather than the more desirable offshore wrecks if the weather mandates it. Olympus Dive Center is a very reputable operation that has been in business for more than 25 years and places safety as their number one concern.

Sign Up

          Contact Mike@evolutionunderwater.com. I will send you an application in PDF format upon contact. Please fill out application and email back to myself. I will then contact you with instructions on how to make payment and the amount due.

NC Shootout 2017 Video Video Highlights from the 2017 NC Wreck•Shark Shootout

Prices & Packages - (Add $140 per day for "Recon" dives May 29-30)

$1535.00 - 4 nts studio @ Bask Hotel (Highly Recommended)

                           Inquire about room upgrades; additional fees will apply.

$1030.00 4 nts lodging @ Olympus Dive Lodge (see link)

$895.00 - No lodging; Attendee will take care of his/her lodging

What's Included:

•Entry Fee

•4 Days Diving; 2 Dives per day (Recon dives are additional $140pp/pd)

•Photo/Video Workshop - Mike will give up his secrets on how to get the best shots.

•Presentations - All things wrecks and sharks will be presented by Mike and a guest presenter (to be announced).

•Cookout on the Dock and Buffet Awards Dinner at Floyd's 1921 (cash bar)

•Professional Tips, Techniques, Guide Service provided by Mike Gerken

•Free Events T-Shirt

What's Not Included:

•Tank Rentals if required and Nitrox fills. Visit this link for air and nitrox pricingVisit this link for tank rental pricing.

•Gratuities for the boat crew. A customary gratuity is between $10-$20 per day per boat depending on how you felt the service was.

Visit this link for Diver Certification Requirements (Advanced Certified Divers Only!)

The organizers of this event reserve the right to refuse entry of any individual(s) to the event.

Payment, Cancellation & Refund Policy: 50% deposit must be made to reserve spot(s). Full payment is due 45 days out from charter date. Full refund will be offered up to 30 days of the charter date with no refunds within 30 days. Full refund will be issued if charter(s) are cancelled due to adverse weather. A fee of $200.00 will be non-refundable regardless of cancellations. ​There will be no refund for hotel accommodations within one month of the check in date. Payment can be made with a check or bank transfer or credit card via Square or PayPal. A 4% fee will be incurred for Square and PayPal transactions. Attendees will be responsible for additional bank fees where applicable. Decisions to cancel a charter will be made the morning of each charter unless of a severe event such as extreme weather (see below).  

Trip Insurance

I strongly urge you to purchase trip/travel insurance and dive accident insurance such as Divers Alert Network (DAN) in the unlikely event you will have to cancel last minute and lose your deposit or worse your entire trip amount (read policy above). In addition, certain policies will protect you in the event of extreme weather cancellation i.e. hurricane or tropical storm. 

Diving Conditions

Diving will take place in the open ocean up to 36 miles from shore with depths ranging from 60 feet to 120 feet. Be prepared for choppy conditions but hope for flat calm seas. Take seas sickness medications as needed. During June water temperatures average in the mid-seventies with visibility averaging 50 feet and exceeding 100 feet on a good day.  Some current is possible so be prepared for strenuous finning. Divers with physical disabilities may have difficulty climbing the dive boat ladders on days with rough seas.

2017 Sponsors and Prizes

(Subject to change)

Grand Prizes

Truk Odyssey - One Week Liveaboard Charter with 6 days of diving the M/V Odyssey diving the famous wrecks of Truk Lagoon in Chuuk, Micronesia.

Sam's Tours & Unique Dive Expeditions - 7 Nights Hotel at Palau Central Hotel 5 days of diving; 3 days of which with Unique Dive Expeditions.
Explorer Ventures - 8 Day 7 Nights Liveaboard Dive Package for one person aboard the Caribbean Explorer II in the Northern Caribbean.

Atlantis Resorts. Philippines - 7 Nts/8 day Dive Vacation at either Atlantis Dumaguete or Puerto Galera Resort. Unlimited diving up to 5 dives per day + deluxe accommodation + all meals included.

Utila Dive Center - Honduras - 7 Nights Deluxe Room at the Mango Inn + 2 Dives/Day and 1 Night Dive + 10% discount for companion.


Olympus Dive Center: 3 Day Dive Package


Dive Gear

418 Dive Training Center

SubGravity Paragon 37 Wing

& Backplate + 

Complete Reg Set Up


Hampton Dive Center

Dive Equipment



Sea Dragon 2300 Auto Light


   Sea & Sea

YS-D2 Strobe

Tusa Mask, Fins

Wreck Diving Magazine


Bay Photo Lab

20" x 30" Aluminum Metal Print



Two $50 Gift Certificate




Aquaventure Dive & Photo Center

$100 Gift Certificate


Spool & SMB's





Dive Computer



Sherwood Scuba

Magnum Regulator



Technical Diving Institute


Dive Aventuras Mexico

Dive Package


PCH Scuba

Catalina CA Dive Trip

Triton Abyss Diving


Kraken Sports

2 Kraken Hydra 2500 Video Lights

Kraken Sports

Schedule of Events (subject too change)

Tuesday and Wednesday May 29-30: Join Mike for the optional pre-event "Recon" dives. We'll scout out the wrecks and see what the conditions are like and where the sharks are hanging out. This is a perfect way to get an edge on the competition. Boat departs 7am sharp each morning. (Images taken on these days are not allowed to be entered in the competition.)

Wednesday May 30 at 3-6pm - Meet & Greet at the Olympus Dive Center; sign waivers and load the boat (dive shop open till 8pm). Join me for an informal dinner across the street from the dive shop at the Red Fish Grill at 6pm.

Thursday June 31 at 6:00am: Day One of the Shootout commences. Arrive at Olympus Dive Center and get ready to dive. If you didn't register the day before do so now. The boats leaves the dock no later than 7:00am.

Thursday June 31 at 4pm: Grillin' on the dock. Enjoy a cold beer, burgers, dogs and many side dishes and snacks at the dock after a fun days diving and share stories and make new friends. 

Thursday June 31 at 6PM: Photo/Video workshop at the Bask Hotel conference room. I will share tips and techniques for taking the winning photos and video.

Friday June 1 at 6:00am: Day Two of the Shootout commences. Boat departs no later than 7:00am. 

Friday June 1 at 6:00pm: Presentation by Mike Gerken and guest lecturer. Join Mike afterwards for an informal dinner at Floyd's 1921 outdoor patio. 

Saturday June 2 at 6:00am: Day Three of Shootout commences. Early departure of 6:30AM possible to beat the weekend dive boat traffic. 

Saturday June 2 at 6:00pm: Deadline for photo/video submissions for contest. See rules below.

Saturday June 2 at 6:00pm-9pm: Awards dinner at the History Place Museum; catered by Floyd's 1921 restaurant. 

Saturday June 2 at 8:30pm: Prizes awarded. Time to see who takes home the bacon. 

Sunday June 3 at 6:00am: Final day of diving. The competition is over. Let your hair down and relax for fun filled day of wreck & shark diving.

Monday June 4: Megladon shark tooth hunting in Wilmington, NC - Limited to only 12 spots. Book now!

Bad Weather Events: In the event of dive cancellation on individual days or multiple days due to foul weather, I can suggest activities in the area. Make good use of the beautiful Crystal Coast. There is more to do here than dive. 

Photo Video Contest Rules (subject to change)

Photos will be judged based on technical mastery.  Subject matter, Image sharpness, composition, color saturation, proper exposure, usage of lights/strobes and the level of difficulty to obtain the image will be all considered when judging. All decisions are final and not open for discussion.

•Judge - Professional photo journalist, Scott Johnson will be the judge for this years event.

•Only 1 photo or 1 video submitted per participant per category. No multiple images or slideshows will be accepted unless the category requires it.

•Duplicate photos can be submitted in multiple categories but can win only one prize overall. 

•Professional photographers or videographers may only submit entries for the Grand prize and Portfolio categories only.  A professional is defined as individual who has been paid for his or her work more than once in the past 12 months. Print sales are excluded as a criteria for a professional.

•Participants can win only one first place prize and/or grand prize with 3 prizes overall.

•Submit still images in JPEG format with images sized to 12 inches on the longest end and resolution no greater than 300ppi. Video files must be in mp4 or .mov format. Bring your own device to transfer images to judges computer. If the judge cannot play the file, it will not get judged. 

•Post processing of still images is acceptable but over processed images will be disqualified at the discretion of the judge(s). i.e. clone stamped marine life, excessive color saturation and sharpness.

•All submitted files must be named with category, shooters name i.e. Bestshark_MikeGerken or Bestwreck_MikeGerken etc.

•All images submitted must be taken on the dates of the shootout only. Metadata of the files will be required.

•Submissions will only be accepted by the judge from the participant only.

•Files must be delivered in person to the judge no later than 6pm Saturday, June 3 at the Olympus Dive Center. No emailed files or FTP files will be accepted. 

•Video files must be no longer than the prescribed length of time for that category otherwise they will be disqualified. 

Point & Shoot Criteria: What is a point & shoot camera? Any camera that does not have internally housed interchangeable lenses such as SLR's or mirrorless cameras. Externally mounted wet lenses will fall under the point & shoot category. Examples of point & shoot cameras are Go-Pro's and SeaLife cameras. There are many more.

      Example Categories (subject to change)

•Grand Prize Best in Show - One photo or video will be selected out of all submissions in all the categories and take home the grand prize.

•Best Wreck Photo- Submit any photo that has a wreck as the primary focus of the shot. 

•Best Shark Photo - The most compelling image of any shark species will be accepted in this category.

•Best Video Short - Edited - 2 minutes max length

•Best Video Short - Unedited - Single stunning clip under 30 seconds or less.

•Best Point & Shoot Camera Photo - The best photo of any subject matter will be the winner of this category. See above for criteria. 

•Best Body of Work - Submit 4 images and win based on the body of work and not a single image.
Wreck Denizens of North Carolina - TrailerThis documentary explores the lives of the sand tiger shark. Often misunderstood, the sand tiger is a docile shark species that can be found in large numbers on the wrecks off the coast of North Carolina. Listen to shark enthusiasts and scientist give their take on what it is like to dive with sand tigers. See rare and stunning footage of sharks in their territory.

To view the full length video visit:

View this video trailer from the documentary, "Wreck Denizens of North Carolina".

Filmed and produced by Mike Gerken.

Purchase the full length video for download or streaming at:


Email mike@evolutionunderwater.com with questions and to reserve your spot.