The odds of being attacked by a shark are actually pretty slim. Statistics show that most of us have a higher chance of being struck by lightning. However, those of us who spend more time int eh water, like surfers, will inevitably have even higher chances, right? But what if we could do something proactive to lower those chances? In recent years, a number of so-called “shark repellents” have popped up on the market. These devices interfere with any number of a shark’s senses. What follows is the lowdown on some of the most popular.
Shark Shield is an electrical device that has actually been proven to accurately repel sharks. The device comes in a couple of different designs—one for swimmers and divers and another for surfers. For surfers, the device attaches to the board. It works by messing with the electrical sensory organs that sharks have in their snouts. Research has shown that it will accurately repel two of the most dangerous species—Great Whites and Tiger Sharks—most of the time, but not every time. We suppose that if an animal is determined enough nothing will stop them, but this device might stop the investigatory bites that can still result in a lot of damage.
This product utilizes the concept of magnetic fields to deter sharks. It operates similarly to the Shark Shield by messing with the electrical senses in a shark’s snout. The band is worn around the surfer’s ankle or wrist and researchers have found that it does a pretty good job of deterring smaller tiger sharks and bull sharks, but great whites don’t seem to be affected by it. It only costs about a fifth of what Shark Shield will run you, so it’s a good entry-level investment.
SharkStopper uses a completely different technology than the first two devices. It operates on acoustics, emitting Orca calls as an attempt to deter sharks. The device is worn on the leg and transmits the sound. However, similar devices have been tested by fishermen in areas heavily populated by seals. The device did deter the seals for a while, but the animals soon realized no orcas were actually present, so they quickly returned and began to ignore the sounds. It’s unknown if sharks would behave the same way.
This “device” is actually an aerosol can containing extract of dead shark tissue. The idea hinges on the belief that sharks don’t like being around dead members of their species. Releasing a cloud of the contents in the water around you is supposed to give you a “safe zone.” However, the whole idea assumes that you’ll see sharks coming and have time to use the can, and that’s not always going to be possible in an actual shark attack.