Shark attacks appear to be on the rise in recent years. In Hawaii alone, the past year brought 13 reported shark attacks, a dramatic increase from the 3 or 4 attacks a year from 2009-2011. Australians are no strangers to dangerous sharks and believe they have come up with a shark deterrent technology that can reduce your chance of an attack when out on the water.
Hamish Jolly of Shark Attack Mitigation Systems (SAMS) collaborated with the Oceans Institute at the University of Western Australia to create an unique design technology that when applied to wetsuits, greatly reduces your chance of shark attack. The patented designs can also be applied to stickers for surfboards, dive tanks, kayaks, and other watersport products.
Although sharks use a number of senses to locate prey, vision is the crucial sense in the final stage of an attack. By disrupting a shark's visual perception, an attack can either be diverted altogether or at least delayed to allow you time to exit the water.
Two different design patterns, the Cryptic and the SAMS Warning, either present you as potentially dangerous and unpalatable to a shark, or make it very difficult for the shark to see you in the water. The Cryptic Pattern uses disruptive coloration and shaping from the perspective of a predatory shark. The pattern is not only difficult for the shark to see but is also designed to blend in with the background colors.
Modeled after the striped pilot fish that lives happily amongst the sharks, the SAMS Warning pattern is designed to overtly present you as unlike any shark prey, or even as an unpalatable or dangerous food option. At the very least this could provide the time you need to evacuate the area if a shark is in range.
The company is already working with a number of wetsuit manufacturers, such as Radiator, and expects there should be a very little premium for the design technology over normal wetsuit pricing.