Shark-deterrent wetsuits work, study proves

According to the study, these combinations took around 5 minutes to attack, while a normal combination took around 90 seconds.


I’m really, really skeptical of most shark deterrents. For the most part, the studies that are done are done by the companies that sell the deterrent, and they have a pretty obvious reason for skewing the results. But how do you know if they all only sell snake oil? It sucks to find out the hard way when the hard way is attacked by a shark. If you’ve got a little time, take a look at a long (albeit very sarcastic) list of different options that may or may not be snake oil. But recently, a company that makes these “shark deterrent” zebra suits did a study that it says proves their patterned suits work.

According to Shark Mitigation Systems, an Australian company that makes a variety of shark deterrents, their models do work. When they put a regular black suit in the water next to one of their wetsuits, it took 90 seconds for the normal suit to be attacked while it took about 5 minutes for a shark to hit. hit the patterned jumpsuit.

You’ve probably seen their models online before. They come in several options, whether for wetsuits or for the bottom of a surfboard. Here’s what it’s supposed to do: “SAMS is a series of designs based on scientific analysis of shark visual systems that can be applied to a variety of applications, including wetsuits, to disrupt the ability of sharks. sharks to visually detect their prey. “

After conducting a study in Mossel Bay, South Africa, they released this explanatory statement. “Sharks took an average of 90 seconds to engage with a black ‘control’ neoprene, while interactions between sharks and the SAMS disruptive coloring design took between five and six minutes. Testing without bait is the best way to reproduce real life scenarios. These tests have shown that our technology can increase the time it takes to encounter a shark by up to 400%, which has obvious safety implications. “

For years that sort of thing has been the center of pretty harsh criticism. A common feeling is that the wearer is not buying something that actually deters sharks, but rather gives the user a false sense of security, which given the real chance of being attacked by a shark is worth something. thing. “It’s fantastic that we now have a dataset on interactions with white sharks that is large enough to be statistically valid and capable of scientific analysis,” said Professor Shaun Collin of the UWA Oceans Institute. “The result is compelling and it is exciting to see the results of our scientist’s new knowledge of shark visual systems impact the practical results.”

The problem here is that studies like this need to be done by an impartial group, instead of the company selling the product they are testing. Consumers want guarantees, and that will never be possible with sharks. SAMS, at least, admits it. “All sharks are dangerous and unpredictable creatures. It is impossible for SMS to guarantee that 100% of sharks will be deterred under all circumstances with SAMS technology, ”they write on their website. “Aquatic activities in the presence of sharks are inherently dangerous and are not recommended. Therefore, we recommend that if a shark is sighted, the user leaves the water. “

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