Manta rays are some of the most beautiful creatures to inhabit the world's oceans, and diving with manta rays can truly be a once in a lifetime experience. That said, not knowing what rules to follow or what guidelines to keep in mind can spoil an otherwise rewarding trip. No matter where in the world you plan to dive with manta rays, take a look below at just three things you should remember before you head out on the water.

Keep Your Hands to Yourself

As amazing as manta rays can be to view in person, and as natural a desire it may seem to reach out and touch them, you should never make physical contact with a manta ray. Not only are you likely to scare them away, but you may also be doing irreparable harm to their well-being. Manta rays are covered in a thin film of mucus that protects them from infection. Petting them as you would a domestic animal is especially ill advised because wiping away the layer of mucus immediately puts their health at risk.

Don't Make a Splash

While diving with manta rays is certainly a one of a kind adventure, it's best to limit any excited movements. Enter the water calmly and slowly, and try to avoid making any loud noises. Once you're on the ocean bed, remain as still as possible so that the manta rays feel comfortable swimming around you. If you are snorkeling, don't disturb the surface with your fins if at all possible. Manta rays are unlikely to approach your general vicinity if you are making rapid, unpredictable movements.

Lights, Camera, Action!

Many divers bring special underwater cameras with them in order to record their unique experience with manta rays. If you plan to do the same, make sure you have full control of your lights and cameras at all times; fumbling around with your equipment is an easy way to repel manta rays. If you are part of a daytime dive and want to snap a classic shot from under a ray, then position your light upward while the ray swims in path of the sun. This will create an eclipse effect that still retains plenty of detail. If you are participating in a night dive, then position your underwater light away from the manta rays, instead illuminating the plankton on which rays like to feed. As they approach, you'll have the time to focus on the photo.