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A device new to Tampa Bay protects from shark attacks

  • 2 min read

A device new to Tampa Bay protects from shark attacks


Christie Post
5:28 PM, Jun 16, 2015
CLEARWATER, FL – As two teens recover from shark attacks off a North Carolina beach earlier this week, the dangers are lurking on many people’s minds.

However the likelihood of getting bitten by a shark is slim.

You are 30 times more likely to be struck by lightning than be attacked by a shark. You are also more likely to be bitten by a snake or dog.

Still, the fear is real.

Florida has more shark bites than any other place in the world.

The University of Florida tracking 300 attacks between 2004 – 2013.

“As a parent it is at the top of my mind when we pick vacation spots,” said Brenda Woodcock.

Benji Kelley said, “I remember jaws as a kid. I definitely don’t want to swim with them, but I don’t ever think of them.”

“We are really not scared of sharks but it’s all about good judgment,” said Michele Clam.

Now there’s a way for those worried to protect themselves.

An Australian based company, Shark Shield is keeping divers safe with technology new to Tampa Bay.

The company testing it on sharks we commonly see here.

“On bull sharks, tiger sharks, hammer heads, oceanic white tips,” said Amanda Wilson.

The device straps on your ankle creating an electronic field that serves as a barrier between you and the shark.

Wilson saying it saved a dolphin tour operator from an attack by a great white shark in Perth, Australia.

“She believes that’s the only reason she is alive today,” said Wilson.

With hundreds in the bay area using it, the company is now looking to make a smaller version attempting to save the lives of beach goers.

“At the end of the day a shark attack is very, very rare. I think the biggest thing is giving people a peace of mind,” said Wilson.

The device is sold in a dozen of dive shops all over the bay. Retail prices range between $599 and $699.

“It induces spasms in their snout so that causes a short-term temporary pain, no long term damage to the shark,” said Wilson.

The result – sharks staying 15-20 feet away protecting divers, surfers, even fishermen.

Other ways to avoid shark attacks are as simple as staying in groups, not wandering too far from the shore, and not going in the water at night when sharks are the most active.

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