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4 types of technology designed to prevent shark attacks

Recently, there has been a handful of shark sightings and shark attacks across the globe. In the past week alone, a bodyboarder in Reunion Island died following a shark attack on Saturday, while a mother in Southern California is fighting for her life after an attack at San Onofre State Beach this past weekend.

Given all the recent shark activity, many people might be feeling a bit hesitant about getting into the ocean. Luckily, for those looking for a bit of reassurance when in the water, there are a handful of various new-age shark repellent technologies designed to make you feel safer in the ocean.

While we here at GrindTV can’t speak to the efficacy of all the technologies listed below, here are four of the more prevalent shark deterrent technologies available today.

Camouflaged wetsuits and board graphics

A Rusty surfboard with the patented SMS zebra pattern. Photo: Courtesy of Business News Western Australia

In 2013, the Australian brand Shark Mitigation Systems (SMS) developed what they called the world’s first shark-repelling wetsuits, utilizing scientific patterns to make surfers essentially invisible to sharks, due to the inability of sharks to distinguish colors.

In 2017, SMS entered a licensing agreement to bring their camouflaging patterns to the bottom of Rusty Surfboards. By using the camouflaged wetsuits and board graphics in conjunction, SMS hopes it will make it harder for sharks to identify surfers.

The Clever Buoy

Over the past couple of years, perhaps no singular incident from the action sports world captured the attention of the general public at large more than Mick Fanning’s close encounter with a great white during the 2015 J-Bay Open.

It was a heart-stopping moment, and the organizers of J-Bay went all out to ensure surfer safety in the 2016 contest, including installing a device known as the “Clever Buoy” at the break.

The Clever Buoy — manufactured by the aforementioned SMS — uses sonar to detect the swimming pattern and size of fish near any particular beach and sends that information wirelessly to lifeguards to monitor, so they can see if any sharks are lurking nearby and, if so, work to clear the water.

The app that shows you all shark activity nearby

great white shark
Shark encounters often occur in clusters, which is exactly what Sharkbytes wants to prevent. Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Many times, shark attacks and run-ins don’t occur in a vacuum — they’re clustered together — like the string of shark attacks that occurred in the summer of 2015 off the coast of North Carolina. And knowing where and when shark encounters occur can help people make educated decisions about where they go to surf. That’s where the Sharkbytes app comes in handy.

Sharkbytes is a GPS-based mobile app that lets you search for shark incidents worldwide. It allows you to see any past shark encounters at a particular beach and gives you a detailed account of all incidents, including the date and location of the encounter, the type of shark encountered, and any injuries that occurred.

Analyzing all that data makes it easier for you to decide whether it’s worth it to paddle out on any given day or perhaps spend more time onshore polishing your volleyball skills.

High-tech Drones

drones to stop Australian shark attacks
The Little Ripper drones keep a watchful eye over the beaches of New South Wales. Photo: Courtesy of Westpac

Following a string of high-profile shark attacks in 2015, authorities in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) were looking for a way to quickly identify sharks in the water and assist in rescuing swimmers or surfers potentially in danger. The solution they developed was a squad of high-tech drones known as “Little Rippers.”

The $250,000 drones come equipped with an inflatable raft and GPS beacons that can be dropped from the drones to any surfer who might have a shark lurking nearby. The rafts keep the beachgoers out of the water to minimize the chance of attack while the GPS beacons assist in helping lifeguards quickly get out to the person in distress.

After testing out the Little Rippers program over the course of six months, the NSW government decided to improve on the program by developing its first drone pilot training school recently.

Currently, the state is looking into developing a camera system on the drones with a shark-spotting algorithm which could allow the drone to spot sharks in the water through artificial intelligence.

Read more about recent shark activity

5 possible reasons for the increased shark activity in SoCal

Shark swims under surfers who have no idea it’s there

Sharks invade SoCal beach near spot of recent attack