Shark deterrent wetsuit
Out of all the shark deterrents out there, probably one of the most interesting of all is the wetsuit version. It seems to be "shark week" with all the recent posts on this topic but you'll find this one highly appropriate.
It's important to note that the following is not a deterrent but probably an attraction to sharks, so be careful not buy one of these goodies.
Since that's out the way, let's take a look at the real deal and more importantly, do they actually work? Who and what kind of review can we expect to read from people who have purchased these things? Perhaps something like "Great suit, I windsurfed in shark-infested waters to test this new suit and it seemed to have worked, I'm still here", or how about "Unfortunately my husband's suit never worked".
Obviously we can't get rely on reports like that but rather relying on research or studies completed by the seller of these wetsuits. Let's take a look at the kind of shark repelling suits that are available. If you search online stores such as eBay or Amazon you'll find they are quite scarce but this one did show up below and if you click on it you'll see the product:
As you can see, this particular item is actually a rash vest but it claims the following:
"The unique color pattern of our rash Guard mimics the features of highly venomous Lion Fish, therefore minimizing your chances of being mistaken for a sea lion or any other type of favourite food on the menu of local sharks."
"The design of our Rash Guard makes swimmers and surfers look unattractive to sharks. Lion Fish is not on a shark's normal menu, and despite attempts to train sharks to eat Lion Fish, these attempts were only limited to one place off the coast of Honduras."
as well as
"In addition to poisonous looking fish stripes on the surface of our Rash Guard, the large eyes placed in an unnatural location should also confuse and scare off potential predators looking for a quick bite."
"...there were articles published in ABC News Australia’s web site confirming that using particular patterns on swim garments would make the wearer appear obnoxious, poisonous or unattractive to the sharks.
While we can't guarantee that wearing our Rash Guard will make your totally invisible to sharks, there is a good probability that your already slim chance of being bitten by this predator might become even slimmer."
So the question is this, does it work?
Recently Professor Shaun Collin and Dr. Nathan Hart of the University of Western Australia’s Oceans Institute published research suggesting that sharks were cone monochromats, which means they are probably colour blind animals.
Based on that it may be possible to design a suit that can create some kind of camouflage suit that reduces the chance of attack, which would also entail a suit designed for certain types of water conditions. Otherwise another option is to create a wetsuit that repels the shark directly. To repel them directly would require the use of contrast.
There is strong evidence that if something looks like food that sharks don't like, then sharks will avoid it, according to Dr. Hart. Tiger sharks were also observed swimming past dummies that had striped pattern wetsuits, but those clad in traditional black wetsuits were attacked.
One question raised is that, what if the designer unknowingly produced suits with patterns that attracted sharks? Obviously there are foods in the ocean that sharks like to eat? The answer is that this is already the case with our usual black wetsuits and surfboards. We've all read articles on how surfers look like seals in the water when paddling on their surfboards in full bodied black wetsuits.
The combination looks entirely natural to a shark in terms of food, especially the big sharks. One thing is certain, if they work there is no shortage of demand.