Experts have developed a shark-repelling wetsuit that uses scientific data and formulas to prevent attacks and improve the ocean experience
For years, standard black wetsuits have been used by swimmers and surfers around the world. The warmth and buoyancy that they provide make them a must-have for ocean enthusiasts. But while the suits may prevent hypothermia, they fail to ward of deadly predators.
Unfortunate swimmers and surfers fall victim to shark attacks not because they are a delicious treat, but because they are often mistaken for one. Surf entrepreneurs Hamish Jolly and Craig Anderson have paired up with The Oceans Institute at the University of Western Australia to develop wetsuits that make beach goers look less like seals, and more like other tasteless ocean dwellers.
The first wetsuit, the “Elude,” is designed to make swimmers and snorkelers blend into the water around them. The suit’s “disruptive coloration and shaping” is difficult for sharks to distinguish from the surrounding environment, thus decreasing the likelihood of an attack.
The “Diverter” was created especially for surfers, and is intended to make users appear as a dangerous or unlikely food choice for sharks. The suit is marked with large white and dark blue stripes, much like that of the striped pilotfish which lives in harmony with the animals. The company notes that the product is intended to repel sharks, but that it should be treated as a tool for providing enough time to exit the water if a shark comes in close range.
The technology behind the designs is quite sophisticated. The wetsuits use scientific data about sharks’ vision to effectively manipulate how sharks perceive swimmers in the water. Shark Attack Mitigation Systems (SAMS) translates this data into a combination of variables. These include contrasting colors, shapes, and sizes that combine to create unique visual effects at different depths and distances. The designers have used this information to determine which patterns would most effectively impact sharks’ vision in the water, all while maintaining a trendy aesthetic.
The anti-shark wetsuits have hit the market at a crucial period. The Great White population is growing, and increasing populations and warmer waters are attracting more people to the beach. Western Australia, home to one of the deadliest coastlines in the world, has seen its number of attacks double over the past year, and experts predict that the number of U.S. shark attacks will rise this summer.
It would be great if we could finally end the sporadic war with sharks. Too many fatalities have occurred over the years, and its all been just a big misunderstanding. The anti-shark suits look like a promising resolution to bring peace and harmony to the world of ocean sports.