SAMS WETSUIT TO HELP PREVENT SHARK ATTACKS

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SAMS WETSUIT TO HELP PREVENT SHARK ATTACKS
The Shark Attack Mitigation Systems wetsuit. Shown is the Elude Dark women's wetsuit.

Scientists have come up with a novel way to avoid the dreaded shark attack – use strange patterns on wetsuits to mess with their heads so they don’t think it’s you.

The unique designs are certainly out-there, and promoters of these new products – which also include stickers for surfboards and kayaks – are hoping you value your life more than your neoprene dress-code and don the new rubber.

Dive and surf wetsuit maker Radiator is the first licensee of SAMS Technology, as in Perth-based Shark Attack Mitigation Systems. Western Australia leads the world in fatal shark attacks, including five deaths in the past two years. So, prompted by community concerns, SAMS founders Hamish Jolly and Craig Anderson collaborated with The Oceans Institute at the University of Western Australia to discover practical solutions for shark-attack protection.

Jolly and Anderson saw within the large body of anecdotal evidence the suggestion that visual contrast, colours, shapes and patterns may impact how a shark perceives and engages with objects and other creatures in the marine environment.

And it’s not a new idea. Some Pacific island tribes believe specific patterns painted on the body are effective in protecting against shark attack. Similar views are held by marine biologist Dr Walter Starck and Australian naturalist and environmentalist Dr Harry Butler, both painting either white or yellow stripes on black wetsuits to act as a shark repellent.

SAMS adds a recent study has also found sharks see in black-and-white and scientists studying marine biomimicry note the disruptive colouration of many fish species, in particular the striped colouration of pilot fish, which they claim is the only fish to deliberately reside around a shark’s mouth in 100 per cent safety.

Armed with this knowledge Jolly and Anderson asked Ray Smith, creator of the Quiksilver logo, to incorporate the Oceans Institute’s findings into the design of a range of shark deterrent wetsuits. Earlier this year, university-conducted tests are said to have returned positive results from independent analysis in a live environment off the WA coast. 

Radiator’s new range of shark wetsuits are said to disrupt a shark’s visual perception, so an attack can either be diverted altogether or at least delayed to allow time to exit the water. Its two design variations either present the wearer as potentially dangerous and unpalatable to a shark, or make it very difficult for the shark to see the wearer in the water. Radiator adds though, "there are no guarantees."

The company has three types of shark-deterrent dive suits available: the Elude Mid, for snorkelling and shallow to mid-depth diving; the Elude Dark, for mid to deep-depth diving, and the Diverter Dive, for diving in murkier conditions (and similar in design to the surfing wetsuit).

All dive suits (M&F) have an RRP of $495

Surf wetsuit (M&F) RRP $429

Visit Shark Mitigation for more information.

 

 


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