North Carolina

Wreck•Shark Shootout


hosted by 

Mike Gerken

Tue July 9 - Sat July 13, 2024


Olympus Dive Center

(Optional Dive on Sun, July 14)


Words From Your Host

The Shootout 2023 was such a huge success that I have decided to continue with the event in 2024. For the first time since 2014, the annual NC Wreck•Shark Shootout at Olympus Dive Center is now scheduled in July rather than early June. This means hotter days, warmer water and the possibility of more sharks. Time and again it has been proven to me that it is not the weather, the number of sharks or the conditions that make this event such a success (since these factors are not always optimal). It is the people that make it a great time. I'm blown away by the kindness, enthusiasm and sense of humor the majority of attendees bring with them. They are my inspiration to organize this event. Of course, it doesn't hurt when the visibility is 80 feet, the water temp 80 degrees and the wrecks chock full of sharks. After all, this is what North Carolina wreck diving is famous for and with some luck we will knock it out of the park in 2024. I will be on the hunt to add more sponsors and prizes to the already impressive roster of loyal companies that support this event. In the meanwhile, don't forget to look over the other exciting trips offered by Evolution Dive Travel. Contact [email protected] as soon as possible to get your application and reserve your spot. 

All the best,

Mike Gerken

PS: If you can't make the Shootout or if you are not a photographer then consider joining me for NC Wrecks & Sharks Excursion July 25-28, 2024. All of my trips are photo-centric but non-photogs are always welcome. 

The Shootout

Every year enthusiastic divers and photographers journey from all over the US and the world to share a love of diving, underwater photography, wrecks and of course, sharks. They submit photos and videos into the photo competition and vie for big prizes (scroll down). The NC Coast is famous for their numerous shipwrecks that are home to the prolific sand tiger shark; Carcharias taurus, cousin to the great white shark. The wrecks are also host to a myriad of marine species from up and down the food chain. Large numbers of jacks, barracudas, tunas, spade fish, cobia, giant stingrays, sea turtles and. Join Mike for an amazing week which includes photo workshops, presentations, social gatherings and the awards dinner on Saturday night. 

The Dive Boats

Both of Olympus Dive Centers USCG certified dive vessels will be utilized for the event; the 65' M/V Olympus and the 48' M/V Midnight Express. Max number of divers is 43. These boats are spacious, fast and most importantly, safe. Mike was for 6 seasons captain of the Midnight Express and knows the boats well and what they can provide the divers.

Meg Tooth Hunt - Monday July 15, 2024

After the Shootout head to Wilmington, NC on Monday July 15 to head offshore in search for ancient megalodon shark teeth. Your imagination will run wild when you hold one of these 10 million year old fossils in your hand. This is for advanced certified divers only. A six-passenger dive boat with Wrightsville Beach Divers will be utilized. Reservations are on a first come first serve basis and space is limited. Cost is $390 per diver/per day for 3 dives in depths of 110'. Can't make this date? Then inquire with Mike about other Meg Tooth dates. PS: Mike will not be on board the vessel for this excursion. 

Sign Up

Contact Mike to receive your application via email. It will be sent in editable PDF format. Please fill it out completely in ink or electronically and email it back to [email protected]. You will then be sent an invoice with instructions on how to make payment and finalize your reservation. 


Price - $1395.00

(Add $40 per night for Olympus Dive Lodge accommodation)

What's Included:

•Entry Fee

•5 Days Diving; 2 Dives/day

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

•Presentation Night - Guest presenter to be announced

•Catered Lo-Country Boil on the Dock post dive

•Awards Dinner at The Promise Land Restaurant; food, beer & wine included

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

•Event T-Shirt

Dive Sunday June 4 - Additional $185.00

Extend your trip and sign up for an optional dive day scheduled on Sun July 14, the day after the Shootout ends. 

What's Not Included:

Accommodation. Contact Mike for recommendations and assistance.

•Tank rentals and Nitrox fills.    Visit this link for air and nitrox pricing.    Visit 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.

•Fuel surcharge if necessary. Please scroll down for details.

Visit this link for Diver Certification Requirements (Advanced Certified Divers Only!) This event is not for beginners.

The organizer(s) of this event reserve the right to refuse entry of any individual(s) regardless of their certification level.

Payment, Cancellation & Refund Policy - Please Read!

• $300.00 Deposit Required to secure your reservation. $100.00 of it is non-refundable regardless of when attendee cancels.

• Payments can be made via Square or PayPal with a 4% transaction fee added.

• Send money via Venmo for fee less transaction. Any transaction fees incurred will be added to the total.

• Payment by check is welcomed but will not be accepted within 3 weeks of event start date.

• If remitting payment electronically without an invoice from merchant there may be no buyer protection. 

• In the event of a cancellation(s) due to bad weather or mechanical failure each diver will be refunded only the cost of the daily charter rate of Olympus Dive Center for each day canceled. Presently, this is $185.00 per full day.

•Myself and the captains want you to experience the best NC diving has to offer but not at the expense of safety. If there is somewhere in the ocean they can get to then we will go diving even if it means to the inshore wrecks for multiple days. Conditions will be the same for all competitors. 

El ToroEl ToroAnnette Papa poses along side this sand tiger shark on the wreck of the Spar. • In the unlikely event that all 5 days of diving are canceled on site and not prior to the start date there will be an additional $200 refunded per attendee.

• If the entire event is canceled prior to start date of May 30 due to, i.e. public health concern or typhoon there will be 100% refund issued minus $75.00 admin fee. 

• The awards dinner, cookout, workshops, presentations, admin fees, entry fees, professional services and dive fees, are all included in the cost of the package.

• In the event of abnormally high fuel prices in 2024 Olympus Dive Center reserves the right to add a fuel surcharge pp/per day of diving to the total cost of your package. The charge will be subject to the price of fuel at that time and can range from $0.00 to $30.00 per day. (i.e. it was $20.00 per day in 2022).

The fee will be collected by Olympus the morning of each charter upon check-in. Notifications will be sent out 2 weeks prior to event start date confirming the surcharge rate if any.

• Once an application is received it will be reviewed and event manager will contact you with any questions before sending an itemized invoice with payment instructions.

• Reservation will not be final until deposit received. It is a first-come/first-serve basis.

• Full payment is due 60 days prior to event start date. Reservation will be forfeited if payment is not received on time or if event manager is not contacted with reason for delay.

•There are no guarantees each attendee will be granted to dive from the vessel of their choice.

Travel Insurance

It is strongly recommended to purchase travel insurance and dive accident insurance such as Divers Alert Network (DAN) in the event you will have to cancel and lose your deposit or worse the entire trip amount (read policy above). In addition, certain policies will protect you in the event of extreme event or diver injury. 

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. Take seasickness medications as needed. During July water temperatures are 76-82F 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. Please inquire with Mike as to if this event is for you. Diving North Carolina can be challenging. You must so be prepared physically and mentally to participate. 

2024 Sponsors and Prizes

(Subject to change)


La Paz, Baja, Mexico Diving

The Cortez Club

Dive Package for 2

5 days diving +

7 nights at

Costa Baja Resort

Value: $5200.00

Truk Odyssey Liveaboard 

7 Nts/6 days diving on Truk Lagoon's 

luxury liveaboard

Value $3495.00




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.

Value: $3000.00




Sam's Tours &

Palau Central Hotel &

Carolines Resort Palau

Value: $3200.00

5 Days Diving Land Based Diving for one

4 Nights accommodation Palau Central for two

3 nights accommodation Carolines Resort for two


Utila Dive Center - Honduras

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

Value: $1850.00


Dressel Divers - Cozumel

5 Nights Deluxe Room at the Iberostar Resort 

+ 4 days of diving @ 2 Dives/Day
Value: $1500.00


Wrightsville Beach Diving

Offshore Megladon Ledge Diving

3 Day Dive Package

Value: $930.00 


Gift Certificates




15000 Lumen Video Light

Value: $1099.00



SeaLife SportDiver 

Underwater Housing for 



Sea Dragon Mini 900 Dive Light

Value: $449.00


Olympus Dive Center

 3 Day Dive Package

3 Nights Divers Lodge

Value: $480.00

Fourth Element

60L Expedition Duffle Bag

Value: $160.00


Sherwood Scuba

Magnum Regulator

Value: $350.00


Sample Products




Mask, Fins

Value: $175.00



Hampton Dive Center

Dive Equipment







Become a Sponsor


Place Your Ad Here!


Become a Sponsor


Place Your Ad Here!



Become a Sponsor


Place Your Ad Here!





Schedule of Events (subject too change)

Mon July 8, 3pm:  Meet & Greet - Check-in to Olympus Dive Center; sign waivers and load tanks. Join me for an informal get together at The Promise Land Bar & Restaurant 5 pm until whenever.

Tue July 9, 6am: 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 as soon as all are on board. Don't delay. 

Tue July 9, 5pm: Mike will offer a 90 minute long workshop with tips and techniques for landing great shark pics on the wrecks of NC. 

Wed July 10, 6am: Day Two of the Shootout commences.

Wed July 10, 4pm: Lo-Country Boil on the Olympus dock. Trust me, you don't want to miss this. 

Thu July 11, 6am: Day Three of Shootout commences. 

Thu July 11, 6pm: Presentations by guest lecturer at The Promise Land Restaurant

Fri July 12, 6am: Day 4 of Shootout commences.

Sat July 13, 6am: Last day of diving. Deadline for contest submissions will be 5pm with possible extension to 6pm depending on when boats return.

Sat July 13 at 6pm-9pm: Awards dinner at The Promise Land Restaurant 900-B Arendell St., Morehead City, NC

Sun July 14, 6am: Optional final day of diving. The competition is over. Let your hair down and relax for fun filled day of diving.

Mon July 15, 6:30am: Megladon Shark Tooth Hunting in Wilmington, NC - Limited to only 6 spots. 100% deposit for this required. 




Wreck Denizens of North Carolina - The Documentary


Filmed & Produced by

Mike Gerken





Email [email protected] with questions and to receive your application.

Bad Weather Events: Diving NC requires persistence and patience due to the nature of the weather here. In the event of charter cancellation(s) due to foul weather there are numerous activities in the area to enjoy. Don't be a mope. Make good use of the beautiful Crystal Coast by visiting the beaches, wild horses, museums, aquarium, bars, restaurants, fishing, gun range and much more. Ask Mike for advice and I will be happy to help.

Photo Video Contest Rules

Message from Mike Gerken: "I admire the competitive nature of the human spirit but I place sportsmanship on a higher pedestal. Bring your ambition to succeed to the event but accompany it with a gracious attitude. We are here to enjoy our passions together and leave with everlasting memories and not negative feelings. Thank you." -Mike Gerken

NOTE: Understand that competitions are subjective based on the judge(s) preferences. Not everyone will agree with all of the decisions the judge(s) make but I ask that the decisions are respected. The judges will be happy to discuss why certain images were chosen while others were not after the competition. 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. Rules violations can be brought to the attention of the organizer and judges prior to or during the awards dinner only and will be dealt with on a case by case basis. 

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

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

• Any individual photo can be submitted into only one category. No duplicates. Be strategic with your submissions. 

• Professional photographers or videographers may only submit entries for the Grand prize only.  A professional is defined as individual who has been paid for his or her work more than once in the past 12 months. Additional criteria will be examined on a case by case basis and determined by the judges if any individual is deemed to be a pro. Contact event leader Mike Gerken to determine in advance if you are a professional or not. 

• Participants can win only one first place prize or grand prize with 3 prizes overall. Be strategic with your submissions. 

• Best in Show category requires no separate submission. Judges will determine the best image from all submissions in all categories. The Best in Show winning image will cede the first place prize of that category to the next best image in that category in order to win the grand prize. 

• 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 format only and not larger than 4GB. Bring your own device to transfer images to judges computer. If the judge cannot play the file, it will not get judged. Ask to test the judges computer out prior to the judging if it is a concern.

• 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 over-sharpening. What is defined as "over-processed" will be at the discretion of the judge(s). 

• Each contestants will be assigned a number from 1-45 prior to submitting images for competition. That number must be first in the file name followed by the category of each photo or video file submitted. ie 35_Wreck, ie 20_shark; This method will provide complete anonymity of the contestant to the judge(s).

• Event manager, Michael Gerken will assist with judging if it is requested by the judge(s).

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

• Submissions will only be accepted by the judge from the participant only and in person. No FTP or emailed files.

• Files must be delivered in person to the judge no later than 5pm Saturday, July 13 at the Olympus Dive Center. 

• Judge(s) may allow submission extension based on the queue and time of arrival at submission location. 

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

• In order to prevent interference with other photographers, external lighting that is not held by the photographer or attached to the camera itself is not permitted in the competition.

• Best Video Edited category submissions must be no longer than 3 minutes in length with maximum of 30 seconds of above water footage. 

• Any materials utilized in the video production must have copyright permission, ie the soundtrack. You cannot use any track or logo that is not copyright approved. Submissions without written or digital copyright will be disqualified. Please provide proof of copyright to the judge(s) prior to or upon submission. Search public domain music web sites for your tracks. 

Point & Shoot Criteria: A Point & Shoot camera is defined as any camera with a fixed lens. Examples of point & shoot cameras are Go-Pro's and SeaLife cameras. External or "wet" lenses that mount to the exterior of a housing qualify as a Point & Shoot system. Mirrorless, SLR's and the like are not point & shoot. 

      Example Categories

•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 - 3 minutes max length

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

•Most Humorous - Keep it tasteful.


Categories & Awards for 2024 (TO COME)

Scroll up for sponsor and prize description

Grand Prize - Best in Show - 


Best Point & Shoot Photo - 1st Place - 

Best Point & Shoot Photo - 2nd Place - 

Best Point & Shoot Photo - 3rd Place -

Best Point & Shoot Photo - Runner Up -


Best Wreck Photo - 1st Place - 

Best Wreck Photo - 2nd Place - 

Best Wreck Photo - 3rd Place - 

Best Wreck Photo - Runner Up - 


Best Shark Photo - 1st Place - 

Best Shark Photo - 2nd Place - 

Best Shark Photo - 3rd Place - 

Best Shark Photo - Runner Up -


Best Video - 1st Place - 

Best Video - 2nd Place - 

Best Video - 3rd Place - 

Best Video - Runner Up -