Cape Town shark attack, was it the legendary "Submarine"?

Cape Town, South Africa – Many dont know about the Urban legend of the 70s and 80s of a great white shark the size of a submarine swimming around Cape Town.

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Cape Town, South Africa – Many dont know about the Urban legend from the 70s and 80s about a great white shark the size of a submarine swimming in and around Cape Town. The shark was given the name “submarine” for obvious reasons.

During the last few years what first started as a hoax by journalists turned out to be more than a hoax as some claim.

Apparently the legend ( of a great white shark the size of a submarine ) started when a group of journalists got together at the also famous “Tavern of the Seas”, when they got in an argument about how easy it would be to fool the average newspaper reader. The story goes that they would post a fake eye witness account of a massive great white shark with a fake eye witness account. They would then see what happens.

After they started the hoax the phone lines were apparently jammed with the sightings of the shark.

While that might sound like the hoax got caught out and the entire event blew over, it is far from over. In the Strand area there was an old legendary photo near the old Rialto where they showed a great white shark that was caught not far out in sea. The shark looks almost like it is two storeys high as it hangs from the cable wire holding the caught shark. It was a true trophy and raised a lot of scares at the time. The exact date we are unsure of but memory recalls it to be in the 1940’s.

After that people started spotting sharks as well almost like the hoax but many claim that there really is the “submarine” dwelling our coasts. The “Submarine” was not the name given to the “Tavern of the Seas” hoax but the name came when a boat got attacked by what the witnesses called “A giant shark”.

Some go as far as to call the legend of the “Submarine” shark a Megalodon shark that could basically swallow people whole. The “Submarine” is not a hoax.

Here is another eye witness account of the “Submarine”

My father tells the story of when he and my uncle went out fishing in a row boat. While out near Seal Island they spotted a dark shadow under the water. The Submarine swam past their little boat right at the surface of the water and my Dad says that once he could no longer see the head, he turned and could not see the end of the tail which was still coming past the boat. Apparently my uncle, out of pure terror, rowed the boat to shore at such a speed that it looked like he had two outboard motors powering the boat! My uncle has not been in the sea since that day (nearly 40 years ago now)!


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30 thoughts on “Cape Town shark attack, was it the legendary "Submarine"?”

  1. Hi

    I am looking for eye witness accounts or people who have stories of family members seeing the “Submarine” or Megalodon shark off the coast of Cape Town.

    It is for a documentary series for the Discovery channel.

    If you are someone or know of someone please email me at


    1. Casting Director,

      Looking for “eye witness accounts or people who have stories of family members seeing the “Submarine” or Megalodon shark off the coast of Cape Town.”, for your “documentary”?

      How much are you paying for the story? If I am well compensated, I will be happy to provide my fish story for you…grin…

  2. megalodon could possibly still roam our oceans today but its highly unlikely but you never know what we will find. 95 % of the oceans are unexplored and we found animals that we thought were long gone. megalodon impossible no but is highly unlikely still roaming our oceans. its scary too think something that big still patrolling the oceans today

    1. The only suitable prey for a shark that big would be whales… if Meg was out there, people who hunt, study or watch whales would see them all the time – just as you’ll see great whites if you hang around a seal colony for awhile.

      1. maybe, but they are toothed whales that big or larger that eat seals, giant squid, rays and other sharks. Also most whale carcuses eventually sink. they could live in very depth water and rarely come to the surface.

  3. I would love to talk about my shark experience on camera….I can even provide a video recording of about 32 seconds of what appears to be a great white shark that was bigger than my boat.

  4. is the shark called submarine steel live . my grand father ones told me there was a shark off the cost of laebon in the medtrane sea the fin stood out the water 3feet at lees but my grand father has past was 5yrs ago to panracrick cancer

  5. in my opinion..the ocean is a vast undiscovered part of our earth..i would believe the existence of megladon or the 35ft great white (submarine) cruising the false bay coast..until a few decades ago the selacanth was regarded as extinct until it was found off natals coastal waters alive..i think seein is believing so if there is a 35 ft great white stalking our coast den surely our naval defense will know about the existense of it an im sure with the type of technology available it shud be easy to track this shark down jus because of its sheer size an if this shark is as samrt as they say it is then we in big trouble!!!

  6. Some people do not belive anything unless they are attacked, the people who died in the shark attack by submarine that night I looked up and they really died of a shark attack; if there the people who do not believe Discovery well then they are morons, I beleive them, they have the video. Plus look up the deaths in the people who died in their town newspapers. I will never go to Shark Alley. Plus there will always be people who do not believe anything unless it happens to them, The Discovery people are just trying to warn you about the the Sharks that are out in the oceans wheter you belive them are not , Pleaese go to South Africa and swim around in the water long enough and I am sure you will meet up with SUBMARINE or one of his brothers

    1. no, they are not in the business of warning us. they’re in the business of making money. ratings bring in money. sensationalism brings in ratings. fish stories, lies, twisting of truths creates sensationalism. i have been to south africa, and have been in a cage, and first hand saw very large great whites. submarine is a myth and megladon is extinct.

  7. Hi. I’m 75 years old. Born in Cape Town in ’41. I’ve dived cape waters an fished fron boats off false bay coast and Seal Island. Left Cape for natal. However I can vouch the “sub” is no myth. No doubts its size is exaggerated. On two occasions we witnessed a white at a length of app., 25 to 27 ft. Our boat was 21 ft. This was back in late 60’s.

    1. Well apparently there’s such outrage over the Discovery Channel showing a Mockumentary of this, that they had to apologize and refuse to show anything Megalodon related it seems for SHARK WEEK 2016, At least nothing I’ve seen thus far which started last night… I think it’s a load of crap that people got this worked up over Discover Channel showing something like this, which face it: it was pretty entertaining when they showed it as much as people may not want to admit it..

  8. To say that megalodon is extinct without scientific proof and in spite of the fact that we know literally nothing about what really goes on down in the depths of the oceans is really shallow, no pun intended. Just because of the fossil records which obviously don’t mean crap as several so called extinct species of animals keep popping up along with NEW species. I am not commenting as much on the boat issue as the picture of the whale that was clearly bitten in half laying on the beach which is NOT a hoax but lets hear someone explain that one as some crazy killer whale story or some other crap???? Don’t deny that what you fear may still live and roaming the unknown oceans today. WE know more about Mars then we do about our own oceans.

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