North Carolina

Wreck•Shark Shootout


hosted by 

Mike Gerken

Tue, May 30 - Sat, June 3, 2023


Olympus Dive Center

(Optional Dive on Sun, June 4)

Words From Your Host

After two years of Covid cancellations, the NC Wreck•Shark Shootout for 2022 was a huge success and so much so that 2023's event is already sold at half capacity. Without further ado I invite you to join us for the NC WSS 2023 at Olympus Dive CenterNote that there are changes to this years event. The Shootout now starts on the Tuesday May 30 the day after Memorial Day and no longer on Wednesday. It runs for five days ending on Saturday June 3. There is no longer a "Recon" dive or a 4 day dive package option. There is however an optional post-Shootout dive on Sunday June 4. Please contact me as soon as possible and I will send you an emailed application to reserve your spot. I look forward to sharing a piece of the ocean with you.

All the best,

Mike Gerken

PS: If you can't make these Shootout dates then consider joining me for NC Wrecks & Sharks Expedition in mid-July. Contact me for details or visit the web page.

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, knows the boats well and entrusts them to transport divers to the wrecks. 

Meg Tooth Hunt - Monday June 5, 2023

After the Shootout head to Wilmington, NC on Monday, June 6 to make a run 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 $350 per diver/per day for 3 dives in depths of 110'. Can't make this date? Then inquire with Mike about other dates.

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]. Mike will then contact you after sending an invoice with with instructions on how to make payment.

El ToroEl ToroAnnette Papa poses along side this sand tiger shark on the wreck of the Spar.

Price - $1350.00

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.

•Presentations - Keith Rittmaster from Bonehenge Whaling Center right in Beaufort will be this years guest presenter. 

•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

•Free Events T-Shirt

Dive Sunday June 4 - Additional $185.00

Sign up for an optional dive day scheduled on Sun June 4, the day after the Shootout ends. 


What's Not Included:

•Tank rentals 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.

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

Payment, Cancellation & Refund Policy - Please Read!

• There is a $300.00 Deposit Required to secure your reservation. $150.00 of it is non-refundable regardless of when attendee cancels.

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

• Payment by Venmo also accepted without fee. 

• Payment by check is welcomed with no transaction fees incurred but will not be accepted within 2 weeks of event start date.

• If remitting payment electronically without an invoice from point of sale know your 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.

• 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 $50.00 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 2023 Olympus Dive Center reserves the right to add a fuel surcharge pp/pd 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. (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 this filled out 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.

Trip 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 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 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 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. Diving North Carolina can be challenging. You must so be prepared physically and mentally to participate. 

2023 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




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)

Monday May 29 at 3pm: Meet & Greet at the Olympus Dive Center; sign waivers (dive shop open till 8pm). Join me for an informal get together at The Promise Land Bar & Restaurant 5 pm until whenever. Amendment: Your host will not be at this event due to travel issue. Please head over and introduce yourself. 

Tuesday May 30 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 as soon as all are on board. 

Tuesday May 30 at 5pm: CANCELLED Mike will offer a 90 minute long workshop with tips and techniques for landing great shark pics on the wrecks of NC. CANCELLED. 

Wednesday May 31 at 6:00am: Day Two of the Shootout commences. 6am at the shop. 

Wednesday May 31 at 4pm: Lo-Country Boil right on the dock after a days diving. This is delicious and catered by a pro. 

Thursday June 1 at 6:00am: Day Three of Shootout commences. 6am at the shop.

Thursday June 1 at 6:00pm: Presentations by Mike Gerken and guest lecturer. Location to be announced. 

Friday June 2 at 6:00am: Day 4 of Shootout commences. You know the routine.

Saturday June 3 at 6:00am: Last day of diving. Deadline for contest submissions will be 5pm with possible extension to 6pm depending on when boats return to the dock. 

Saturday June 3 at 6:00pm-9pm: Awards dinner at The Promise Land Restaurant 900-B Arendell St., Morehead City, NC

Sunday June 4 at 6:00am: Optional final day of diving. The competition is over. Let your hair down and relax for fun filled day of diving.

Monday June 5: Megladon shark tooth hunting in Wilmington, NC - Limited to only 6 spots. SOLD OUT



Wreck Denizens of North Carolina - The Documentary


filmed and 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 spirit of human beings but I place sportsmanship on a higher pedestal. Bring your ambition to succeed to the event but accompany it with a sharing and positive attitude. We are here to enjoy our passions together and leave with everlasting memories and not bad 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 & Brandi Mueller will be the judges 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.

• 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; Best Portfolio must have each file numbered sequentially ie 35_Portfolio_1 or 2 or 3 or 4. 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, June 3 at the Olympus Dive Center. No emailed files or FTP files will be accepted. The submission deadline may be extended to 6pm in the event of delays. Plan ahead. Be strategic. 

• Judge(s) may allow submission extension based on time of arrival at submission location i.e. if there is a line in waiting to submit.

• 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. Still images may not be used in this category. 

• 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. 


Categories & Awards for 2023

Scroll up for sponsor and prize description

Grand Prize - Best in Show - The Cortez Club & Costa Baja Resort Dive Package


Best Point & Shoot Photo - 1st Place - Atlantis Resorts Dive Package

Best Point & Shoot Photo - 2nd Place - Sea & Sea YSD3 Strobe

Best Point & Shoot Photo - 3rd Place - Backscatter $250 Gift Certificate

Best Point & Shoot Photo - Runner Up - Shearwater Swag


Best Wreck Photo - 1st Place - Odyssey Liveaboard 1 week

Best Wreck Photo - 2nd Place - Wrightsville Beach Divers Meg Tooth Charter

Best Wreck Photo - 3rd Place - Sherwood Magnum Regulator

Best Wreck Photo - Runner Up - Shearwater Swag


Best Shark Photo - 1st Place - Sam's Tours & Palau Central Hotel Dive Package

Best Shark Photo - 2nd Place - SeaLife Housing; Light

Best Shark Photo - 3rd Place - Backscatter $250 Gift Certificate

Best Shark Photo - Runner Up - Shearwater Swag


Best Video - 1st Place - Utila Dive Center Dive Hotel Package

Best Video - 2nd Place - BigBlue Video Light

Best Video - 3rd Place - Olympus Dive Center 3 Day Dive Lodge Package

Best Video - Runner Up - Shearwater Swag