Do those shark deterrent wetsuits work? Study says yes.

Shark Updates

It took 90 seconds for sharks to attack black neoprene while attacks on patterned suits took around 5 minutes to happen

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 25 November, 2016 – It’s called using “visual pattern technologies” also known as SAMS, the stripey outer design seen on shark deterrent wetsuits, and it’s making headlines again this week.

The theory behind the suits? According to the company SAMS is a series of designs based on scientific analysis of shark’s visual systems that can be applied to a variety of applications, including neoprene wetsuits, to disrupt sharks’ ability to visually detect its prey.

Since Shark Mitigation Systems began work with The Oceans Institute at the University of Western Australia to develop these shark deterrent wetsuits, a lot of speculation has gone on as to whether these suits can actually work, or whether they just make the wearer feel more secure without any real scientific backing.

The company just launched a statement pointing to a scientific study that proves the suits work. They did some tests in Mossel Bay, South Africa floating black wetsuits next to their SAMS shark deterrent design wetsuits.

What did they find?

“Sharks took an average of 90 seconds to engage with a “control” black neoprene, while interactions between sharks and SAMS disruptive colouration design took between five to six minutes,” the company said in a statement. “Unbaited testing is the best way to replicate real-life scenarios. This testing has shown that our technology can increase the time taken before a shark encounter by up to 400% has some obvious safety implications.”

Professor Shaun Collin of the UWA Oceans Institute who has been working with Shark Mitigation Systems on the design and testing for several years said: “It is fantastic that we now have a data set of interactions with white sharks that is large enough to be statistically valid and capable of scientific analysis. The outcome is compelling and it is exciting to see results from our scientist’s new knowledge of shark visual systems making an impact on practical outcomes”

The company continues to commercialise the technology, having signed licencing agreements with a number of water apparel companies.