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Shark Deterrent Creates ‘A Virtual Net’ Around Swimmers, Surfers

16 July 2021

WELLFLEET (CBS) – Just this week, a shark was spotted at Duxbury Beach forcing people out of the water. From flags to signs, to alerts on your phone, if you head to the beach this summer, you’ll know if a shark has been spotted. Numerous sightings over the years have put beachgoers on edge about entering the water. However, there is a new electrical shark deterrent product that may allow people and sharks to coexist in the ocean.

“We really want to encourage people to be safe in and out of the water,” says Olaf Valli owner and president of SICKDAY Surf Shop.

Valli has felt the impact to his business from the recent shark sightings over the years, but there is one product that has been gaining popularity.

“I put Shark Shield on my boards… Why not reduce the risk if you can… you should,” Valli said.

It’s a technology that many local surfers have been using, to keep sharks away.

“The Shark Shield by Ocean Guardian, that system works off of an electrical pulse, that interferes with the sensory organ in the nose of the sharks, and it’s very effective,” explains Valli.

A sticker like decal is placed at the bottom of a surfboard. It has two electrodes connected to a power supply on the opposite side. When activated, a three-dimensional electrical field of protection is produced under the water repelling the sharks.

The personal shark deterrent product at SICKDAY Surf Shop in Wellfleet is flying off the shelves and the company that makes this, has even bigger plans for Cape Cod.

“We actually have a newer product, Blog postswhich is getting a lot of discussion on Cape Cod in the moment, the beach barrier, so it’s a larger scale product that can protect people going out into the water,” Amanda Wilson, General Manager of Ocean Guardian explains.

The Beach Barrier comes after decades of success from the company’s technology used by divers, surfers, fisherman and boaters.

“So, it’s basically the same thing but a much larger scale product. So, we’re running power from the land, so it’s just large cable with antennas dropping down into the water, and we’re creating a virtual net, that the sharks can’t penetrate,” Wilson says.

This virtual net is designed to replace drumlines and physical nets, with no impact to the ecosystem of the ocean.

“So, the benefit to our technology, it doesn’t cause that damage, we’re not going to kill turtles or whales or anything else that could potentially get caught in a net,” Wilson explains.

All while reducing the risk of encountering a shark in the water.

“Because everybody wants to go out and enjoy their favorite sport, but they don’t want that worry of sharks… because there are sharks, you can’t get away from it on the Cape,” Wilson says.

Studies still need to be done to determine the effectiveness of this kind of shark deterrent will work in the water off our coast, but Ocean Guardian states there are no known harmful effects on sharks or humans.

Read: This news story was published here on WBZ | CBS Boston. 

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