Testimonials

Stephen Waites, Sailing, Glenelg, South Australia

My name is Stephen Waites and I have been operating daily Dolphin swim tours out from Glenelg, South Australia, now for 7 years (started January 2001). I started using the Ocean Guardian devices after there were a couple of Shark fatalities in the area in which we operate from.

We started by using one Mariner Shark Shield, but have now upgraded to three. This is so we are able to offer our swimming customers full coverage of protection.

Temptation trails two mermaid lines from the Stern of the vessel, five metres apart in which the swimmers hold onto. In the centre of these lines we run the three Ocean Guardians at two metre intervals.

We would never operate a Dolphin swim without these devices.

Kind Regards,

Stephen Waites
Director
Temptation Sailing
www.dolphinboat.com.au

Peter Loveday, Prawn Fisherman, Australia

All of my working life I have had to endure the endless problems that sharks have caused to my occupation. Loss of catch through torn nets and down time for repairs caused a dent in my bottom line profits, but I considered this an occupational hazard, which had to be expected and accepted.

I heard about this new Shark Shield product that was on the market, so as an experiment I purchased a personal diver unit and set it up on the top of the net. It kept the sharks away! Now I don”t drop my net unless the Shark Shield unit is fully charged, because, since purchasing the unit six months ago, I have not had one shark problem. They still follow the net up, but stay a few metres away thoroughly frustrated.

I contacted the manufacturers in Adelaide to tell them how well it worked and found out that they have two new professional units called ProLine and Mariner, which produce a larger field and adapts to our nets very easily. Recently I did an experiment by leaving the unit uncharged, amazingly the sharks got into the net. I won”t do that again.

The units are very robust, come with mains and 12V accessory charger and, apart from a fresh water wash, require very little maintenance.

This new technology has saved me time and money.

Jon Schwartz, Kayaker, California, USA

My name is Jon Schwartz. I was out in Honokohau Harbor in Kona kayak fishing with my wife today. While tying on a bait, I heard a splash, and we paddled toward it. Then a 12 foot tiger shark came up to check us out, it took a look at us and then started steaming for us.

I just got it (Freedom 4) the other day and so I didn”t think the charge would last the whole time we were out, so I had it at the ready, not expecting it would come to this. I had the antennae loosely coiled up in the back, and as it came at us I plopped the antennae in the water, and reached for the switch. My wife and I were hoping to God it would work. We didn”t know if it would. How would we know, I just read the manual two nights before in the hotel room. Well I turned it on, and thank God, it acted as if I annoyed it terribly, and turned tail with a splash and ran off.

I really actually owe my life to this thing; moreover it saved the life of my kid”s mom. This may sound like it”s too perfect to be true but it”s true, I only wish I had it on video. It”s the best $600 I ever spent!

Gary Maclachlan, Kayaker, NSW, Australia

I have been using the Freedom 4 Shark Shield successfully for the last 3 months. I fish for pelagic game fish off the NSW coast, very often on my own. The Freedom 4 has granted me peace of mind when far out at sea on a solo fishing trip. I mount the device through the draining holes that are in the middle of the ski.

The wetsuit part goes under straps on the base of the ski and the cable hangs down through the holes. This results in the device offering protection directly below where you sit on the ski. I have witnessed the device deterring large hammerhead and tiger sharks. What happens is whilst fighting a fish like a king fish they generally circle a bit under the ski, this is when I normally loose the fish to sharks. However I have witnessed the sharks trying to get near to the fish but being deflected by the device as they get to close to it.

David Incher, Surfer

The unit is well designed. Installing the pad on the board, charging and fixing the Ocean Guardian to the pad was relatively simple. The big advantage of the Ocean Guardian unit is the peace of mind it gives. Having used the unit about a dozen times, I have found that I am much more comfortable going surfing by myself or in ‘sharky’ locations/times of the day. If I am unsure which board to ride I go for the board with the Ocean Guardian attached (I am buying new pads for my other boards).

I had previously heard the argument that, as Ocean Guardian repels sharks, it may also repel other more desirable marine creatures such as dolphins. Nothing could be further from the truth as I had an amazing ride with a dolphin only inches from my board, mirroring my every turn and cutback for about 50 meters!

Adam “Trout” Traubman, Kayak Fisherman, Hawaii, USA

Aloha, Paul. I just wanted to touch base and thank you again for the Shark Shield. Your timing was impeccable, and I’ll expand on that later. I’d like to first clarify that sharks are obviously not looking to intentionally hurt human beings. They are highly misunderstood and often times punished for following their innate urge to feed on what it thinks it sees as edible, even though it may be a mistake (ie, shark hunt following an attack on a human). But when I am on the water and no longer at the top of the food chain, I can’t help but feel a little vulnerable… and rightfully so. With a wife and two kids and a third on the way, I promised them I’d try to minimize my risk-ridden hobbies, including kayak fishing and surfing “populated areas.” In the past, I have had run-ins with sharks in Mexico, California, and here in Hawaii. I would prefer to go out on my own terms, if you know what I mean!

Rewind to several weeks ago, I was relieved when I saw the FedEx driver pull up with the package you sent. I was preparing my gear for the following morning, where one of my close kayak fishing buddies and I were to be filmed for a fishing TV show. While there are sharks virtually everywhere in Hawaii, the secret spot we would be visiting was sharkier than the average fishery due to strong currents, prolific ledges/drop-offs, and an abundance of bait fish.

After several hours of good kayak fishing (ono, mahi mahi, kawakawa, uku, etc.), my buddy spotted two sharks below his kayak. The film boat moved up on him and one of the crew kept the bang stick close by. I saw another one off of my bow, and made sure my baits were out of the water and in the tank well. The shark was out of sight, but I still felt its presence. I calmly deployed the Shark Shield and in a fraction of a second there was a huge explosion about 25 feet away on the surface where a shark had slashed and spun around. It was gone and never came back (as far as I know, of course). I left the unit on and we didn’t see anything for the rest of the day, other than the fish we boated.

Can I live without a Shark Shield? Probably. Do I want to risk it when the situation could easily be avoided by using a Shark Shield? Definitely not.

Wayne, Professional Coral Diver Karratha, Western Australia

In the past 10 years I have done around 12,000 dives in open waters as a professional coral collector. For about the last 5,000 dives, I have used the Shark Shield Mariner and had it cable tied to my hooker line. In those 5,000 dives only once has a shark come into me. In this instance it was a large hammer head that came in to about 4 meters, then flinched and shot off. I did not see the shark for the rest of that dive.

When I take other divers out for a day and they do not use a Shark Shield, they have sharks come in on them an average of once every 2 dives. In the past 5000 dives I have onlys seen 4 sharks, all of which were off in the distance; I think this also speaks for itself. Recently, a friend of mine was pinned down for 30min by a 17ft shark while were were out on a dive together. It toook me a while to find him, but once I arrived the shark took off because I had the Shark Shield on and we never saw it again. Again I think that this speaks for itself.

I am in the water over 220 days of each year doing around 5 dives a day. I make it no secret that in a lot of places if I didn’t have the Shark Shield on, I wouldn’t dive. No question. Shark Shield has proved itself to me in those 5000 dives. Why anyone would get into Australian waters without one is a mystery to me, it’s cheap technology that will save your life one day. I know what its like to be alone in the water and have a huge shark circling you when you don’t have a Shark Shield. It has never happened to me with a Shark Shield on.

Cheers Wayne
Professional coral diver
Karratha, WA

Tory Goodall, Coastal Water Dive, Western Australia

Most of my customers would never admit to having shark phobia, until I admitted that I do!

One of our biggest markets here is spearfishing which puts them in the higher risk category because of the nature of attracting sharks. These guys tend to have a “macho” personality and the purchasing of an Ocean Guardian tends to attack their masculinity. We very successfully overcame this issue by promoting it to “save their catch”, this justified their purchase and kept their testosterone level high – everybody suffers from shark phobia, even these guys.

I believe I was one of the first shops that could see the potential of Ocean Guardian and got behind it. We rely on exhibitions and marine shows to promote awareness to our somewhat isolated regional location. The first time we promoted Ocean Guardian at such an event we sold over 50 units which paid for staff and outgoings from this single product. We learnt that the general public want this technology.

I constantly hear remarks such as ‘that will make me feel a whole lot better,’ and ‘now with one of those I will learn to dive.’

This year we anticipate selling 300 plus snorkel and dive units and the potential surfing market is approx. 4 times larger.

The bottom line profit from Ocean Guardian last year paid wages for 2 full time staff members – not bad for a one off product.

I have now justifiably devoted a whole section of my shop to promoting Ocean Guardian and even have a sandwich board on the pavement –THE NEW REVOLUTIONARY OCEAN GUARDIAN AVAILABLE HERE.

A great percentage of my sales are to parents, grandparents and family wanting to protect their offspring. I am convinced that many people using Ocean Guardian today would not have continued in their activity if it were not for Ocean Guardian.

You guys are on a winner, thank you for what you have done for my business!

Tony Grogan, Technical Diver, USA

In the midst of a cloud of fish and blood I put the second grouper on the stringer. I am determined not to let these bulls have their way as they rush in trying to get to the fish during my slow ascent from 130 feet all the way up to the surface. As they charge in, I am glad that I have my Shark Shield turned on. This wonderful invention puts a protective electrical field around me that shocks the sensory receptors called Ampullae of Lorenzini in the shark”s snout. I love wearing the Shark Shield while spearfishing because it helps turn sharks away and causes them to think twice before accidentally or intentionally biting me.

The best version of the Shark Shield for spearfishing, in my opinion, is the Freedom 2 or 4 unit. The electronics and battery are in a neoprene pouch that is strapped to your calf. From this pouch extends a seven foot long tether antenna containing two electrodes, which trails unobtrusively behind the diver. I like this unit because it is easy to take on and off between dives and there is no interference with your kicking, you tend to almost forget it is there. The manufacturer says Freedom 4 is fast becoming the most popular unit for those who dive. Freedom 2 has a 2 hour battery pack, whereas the Freedom 4 has a 4 hour battery. I was an early adopter of this technology, having used it now for almost two years. I usually leave the Shark Shield turned off until I spear a fish, unless I already see sharks or the visibility is low. The Shark Shield can shock you and your fellow divers if the tether antenna is touched, but the tingle is not a bad shock.

The electric pulse the Shark Shield puts out every half-second only affects sharks, rays and skates. Other fish and marine creatures are not disturbed. It does not scare away the fish we are seeking to spear and it does not attract sharks to you. The effective protective range in my observations starts about ten to fifteen feet away as the shark approaches. His initial discomfort increases as he gets closer until it becomes intolerable. The shark then veers away. The bottom line is that this is a great product that works well. I will not leave home without it. The Shark Shield is the best solution for spearfishing with sharks on the market today.

Tim Thomas, Spear Fisherman, Queensland, Australia

Having just come off a boat, after 2 weeks spearfishing in the Coral Sea, I can say that the Shark Shield served me well. Many times I had half a dozen white tips after my fish and they couldn”t get close. One time I turned my shark shield off, burlied up, put my fish on a Bombie and then let the sharks come in numbers to get a smell. I then turned my shield on and as much as they were very determined, it was like they were getting punched in the head by a invisible fist. Felt good to have something like that on my leg. For me the shark shield worked even before I was in the water. Originally I was stuck between my love of the ocean and the fear of sharks. The Shark Shield gave me the Confidence to get water and I see for myself that this beautiful environment doesn”t warrant fear, only respect.

As a Free-diver and Spearfisherman, I am very careful selecting new gear as I am sensitive to any adjustments. The General Purpose Shark Shield unit made me a little unsure. In the water swimming with it, I was aware of it for the first 10-15 minutes. However, after some adjustments in my kicking I felt little difference. I deliberately dragged the General Purpose unit through stag-horn coral, caves and most every rough surface to see if it would get caught up, and in the last six months of regular diving I”ve had to reach back and unhook it twice. Its only 2m long.

Sure I notice it being there, its about the same drag as like a large knife on your leg. However, on the rare occasion when the men in grey suits turn up (sharks), I thank God its on there.

My thoughts on wearing the Shark Shield are similar to driving a car, “Why wait for a car crash to put your seat belt on?”

Tim Miles, Dive Course Co-ordinator & Dive Instructor

When I was first introduced to Ocean Guardian I was a little hesitant to prominently display the product. It was just so revolutionary that I needed some time to ask questions to existing clients and new students and to make sure I was not highlighting what I believe to be the single biggest factor that prevents people taking up diving.

I can still remember the first time I mentioned to a new class that we would be wearing them on their first sea dive. Amazingly, although some of these males were rather macho, every student seemed to breathe a sigh of relief and statements followed like “I’ve been paranoid, but just didn’t want to broach the whole shark thing.”

From then on I realised I did not have a problem, and the word got around that we were offering “Shark Free Dive Courses.” The product was moved to a high visual area in the shop and customers we did not know walked in and bought it. This year we have sold many units, which has impacted well on our bottom line.

Our sales are to existing divers, surfers, swimmers, snorkellers and new dive students. One of the things that has helped us with sales to new and certified divers is the use of Ocean Guardian products for training and on the deco bar.

I personally have been diving for many many years and it wasn’t until a few months later, after wearing shark protection, that I realised that I too was even more relaxed. Sharks have never stopped me from diving, but they took the edge off sometimes.

One of the most disappointing aspects of my business is the time spent on training a novice only to see them not continue with the sport I love. I believe that shark protection will give them the confidence, after leaving the safe confines of the instructor, to venture by themselves.

This new technology will have a significant effect on all water users in the future.

Steve Robinson, Scuba Commercial & Wholesale

This industry has never had an answer to the biggest single factor that prevents students from learning to dive other than the denial that a problem exists and chances of shark attack are extremely minimal. What our industry fails to realize is that whether justified or not, shark phobia exists in the majority of people and their perception is a reality that cannot simply be explained away.

The bulk of our market is orientated to the existing trained diver. Following some recent shark incidents in our area, our sales of Ocean Guardian surpassed 150 units last year and I am convinced that many of our customers would have terminated their sport or their loved ones intervened to prohibit their participation if it were not for the “peace of mind “ that Ocean Guardian delivers. Following the recent shark attack, the only product we could sell was Ocean Guardian.

The shop owners that believe this product will accentuate a negative issue are not catering for the customers needs. Unfortunately for me those shops that held this historical attitude have now realized that their customers have been spending a good dollar in my shop so now marketing Ocean Guardian.

I remember when buoyancy vests were shunned by dive shops as was the Automatic Deployment Device for parachutes. Ocean Guardian is going through the acceptance stage and I can see the future when all divers will consider this piece of equipment as an integral part of their gear. I know when I sell a Ocean Guardian that the customer will stay diving forever.

Simon Jedreski, Snorkelling, Santa Fe, Phillipines

November 2018: Honestly I’ve never been able to have confidence in the ocean before I got the Ocean Guardian FREEDOM7. Due partly to an encounter when I was young. It’s been awesome with managing my irrational fears!! I’m now able to explore the sea without hesitation. It really has been life changing for me.

Saved from a White Pointer

Western Angler (www.westernangler.com.au), 22nd Sept 2011

The following information is from a blog on Western Angler. Shark Shield has also been made aware of this event by several other sources who have spoken directly to Geoff & his wife.

Geoff had just bought some new dive gear and wanted to test it out prior to the cray season. Both Geoff and his wife took their 7 mtr ally boat to Busselton (Western Australia) where they launched and headed to a calm patch of water in Meelup Bay. This was about 1 week after the body boarder got taken at Bunkers. This was also Geoff’s wife’s first boat dive.

They had enjoyed some time on the bottom when they decided to ascend to the surface from around 12 mtrs down. They were near the boat and Geoff was several metres’ ahead of his wife heading towards the transom.

Before getting on to the boat Geoff looked back at his wife and saw what he thought was a whale heading towards her. It instantly became apparent it was a massive white pointer as it came directly up to Geoff’s wife and stopped level with her, 3 metres away.

Geoff’s wife had a very clear view of the front of the shark and described how she could see every little wrinkle cut and ripple in its huge face.

After what must have seemed like an eternity the shark dropped to the bottom and at the same time Geoff made contact with his wife and he pulled her back to the transom.

As he was helping her to the back of the boat the white who was now on the bottom and directly underneath them, went from cruise mode to all ahead engines, in a split second it finned hard and arched up coming directly at them both with no sign of stopping.

At that point Geoff thought this was his last moments and was in disbelief thinking this is it, this how I’m going to die. As he watched the shark move in he realised that there was nothing left to do, at the last moment the great white hit the brakes and shook its head side to side like a person does as they walk into an unseen spider web.

The white then veered off and pushed into the blue. Not believing his luck Geoff got his wife on the transom but could not get up himself because she was blocking the way.

There was a certain amount of directness in his voice when he asked her to move into the boat. She was frozen and simply could not move. Geoff with a full kit of scuba gear pulled himself up over the transom and his wife and fell into the boat backwards. As he reached over to bring his wife in, the white cruised under the transom and hung around the boat for a few more moments.

Geoff also explained he had a Shark Shield on and is in no doubt that at the moment of pause that is what saved his life.

His wife did not have a shield and this may explain why the white sized her up and set up an attack from the bottom.
What the white didn’t bank on was the shield that now enveloped Geoff and his wife.

Geoff didn’t make the footage public out of respect for the very recent sad event that took place a few days earlier. He did call the police and after they got into the boat they headed towards the shore and warned nearby paddlers and swimmers.

(http://www.westernangler.com.au/forum/topic?id=2529&p=3#p18433)

Rene Spruyt, Abalone Diver, Australia

In August ’99 I was trying to erode the remaining 2 tons of my yearly abalone quota, I decided to work Weirs Cove at the western end of Kangaroo Island, which normally is a difficult area with large swells, but with the right weather, a days catch there is worth 2 or 3 elsewhere.

Visibility was incredible. At a depth of 10M the vis was about 35M. My bag was half full and I was working outside the cage and changing position – that’s when I saw it!

This Great White was BIG, 5M at least and coming straight in. The cage was too far away, but almost between me and the shark. It came directly towards me, but as it got to approximately 5M from the cage it shook and almost turned inside out – that’s when I realised it had hit the “Shark POD field” that I had set up on the cage.

My relief diver had previously had a similar experience and had told me that “Shark PODs* work”. Now I believe him.

*Shark POD is an old obsolete product and no longer in production

Ray Klefstad, Diver Florida, USA

I was wearing a Shark Shield while diving off Florida in the gulf. We were about 20 miles off-shore diving some wrecks. My friend had caught a small black fin tuna which we cleaned off the stern of the boat. We later jumped in and the area was swarming with brownish sharks (I’m guessing Lemon Sharks). There were also many large jewfish and barracuda hanging around the wreck.

We continued to free dive around the area, but there were sharks everwhere. At one point, I heard my buddy scream from the surface.

I looked over and one of these sharks was charging right at him from the depths. I quickly turned on my shark shield and swam closer towards him. We both approached my buddy and the shark clearly reacted to the shock from the Shark Shield and bolted away.

We got out of the water and decided not to clean any more fish over the side of the boat in an area we were diving.

Pete Watman, Spearfisher, Sydney, Australia

My brand new replacement unit arrived yesterday and I just wanted to thank you for your great service and no-fuss approach to business. Like a lot of divers I bought an Ocean Guardian after a bad encounter with a great white.

Knowing something wants to eat you without sustaining an injury from its prey (me and my spear) is quite chilling. It took me a while to get my mojo back!

My second encounter with an even larger GWS went differently – probably because I was wearing an Ocean Guardian. The shark came up, checked out me and the kingfish I’d just speared and kept going.

I often spearfish alone or separated from the group and the Ocean Guardian is a reassurance – as much psychological as physical. We’re seeing more and more large sharks in Sydney waters and also in NZ where I often dive. I’ve had to physically fend off whalers plenty of times in the past – but never when wearing an Ocean Guardian. I’ll be taking the new unit to Tonga on a trip in August.

Thanks for helping make me feel more at ease in the water.

Pete Watman

Paul Hosie, Diver, Perth, West Australia

If faced with a five metre white pointer in the waters off Western Australia, not many people would swim toward it to get a closer look but that’s exactly what Paul Hosie did over the weekend.

Mr Hosie says he has seen plenty of large marine life underwater including whale sharks, manta rays and seals but this was his first encounter with the ocean’s top predator.

Paul Hosie was diving at the HMAS Swan wreck site just off the coast of Dunsborough on Sunday when he noticed a big black shape go past him just 10 metres away.

“When I looked at it there was no doubt what it was; it was dark above with white below, just the enormous bulk of it and a massive tail fin.”

The unmistakable sight of a great white shark would leave most people swimming in the opposite direction but Mr Hosie was fascinated by the sight and wanted to get closer.

“After about five minutes of observing it, I decided that I wanted a closer look. A lot of people would say that was a foolhardy stupid thing to do but I had an Ocean Guardian and I know the behaviour of these things.

“People are taken from the surface, that’s how these things feed and attack not at depth, not normally.”

Mr Hosie is an ex-Navy member who has been recreational diving for 18 years and was diving with his fiancee Christie at the time. He says he has seen many sharks over the years but this was by far the largest shark he has seen while diving.

Mr Hosie and his partner were wearing an ‘electronic shark deterrent’ at the time, which is a device that straps around the ankles with an antenna hanging below the diver which emits an electric field that induces spasms in a shark’s snout.

However, the effectiveness of the device was about to be tested by Mr Hosie as he swam down away from the wreck and down to the ocean floor, the same level as the shark.

“It actually did take an interest in me because something had moved into its space and it swam straight towards me from about 20-30 metres away.

“At about 10 metres away when it was still heading straight towards me and I established eye contact, that’s when I thought, ‘maybe this wasn’t such good idea’.

“But I had faith in my Ocean Gaurdian otherwise I wouldn’t have been wearing it and about 5 to 7 metres away, it turned away from me.”

Mr Housie has been wearing the electronic shark deterrent since a fellow diver was killed by a great white in 2008 at Port Kennedy, a location that Mr Hosie frequently dived.

“I don’t go diving to put my life at risk; I dive to enjoy the experience so from then on I’ve worn an Ocean Guardian all the time.”

You can listen to Paul Hosie’s full interview with ABC’s Geoff Hutchison above where he describes his close encounter with a great white shark.

See the full ABC story and interview here.

Pat Johnson, Spear Fisherman, Virginia, USA

On 9th August 04 I was freediving a wreck off the coast of Hatteras, NC and I had speared a wahoo. After the fish’s second run I began to pull my line in and noticed the fish was being eaten by a large barracuda. I was disappointed needless to say, but what happened next was amazing. Two of my dive buddies were nearby and we saw a large bull shark coming straight up off the bottom at top speed toward the speared remains of the wahoo.

When the bull got in range of the Ocean Guardian he immediately stopped, almost as if he hit a wall, and returned to the bottom as fast as he had come up for the wahoo. Awesome! If the shield stopped a charging bull shark on its way to a ‘fish on a stick’ then this product really works well.

Lieutenant Robert C Pigman, Orlando, USA

Lieutenant Robert C Pigman (Deputy SWAT Team Commander, Orlando Police Department City of Orlando, USA)

I bought the FREEDOM4* system and used it for the first time this past Sunday. I found that the peace of mind alone was well worth the cost.

I purchased the unit from Rosalind (SeaChange USA) who was very helpful in my decision to purchase this product, as she answered all the questions I had about the system.

I feel people should be aware of the information about this product with the increasing number of shark bites we have experienced recently in Florida.

*FREEDOM4 is an obsolete product and no longer in production

Kyle Kinmon, Spearfisher, Bahamas

I had a close encounter with a hungry big bull shark three days ago and wanted to say thanks for saving my life! I was spearfishing on the Great Bahama Bank and had just shot a large hog fish. After wrestling it from underneath a ledge, I turned and looked up to push off the bottom toward the surface. I was 40 feet deep and hugging the fish to my chest. To my surprise, I made immediate eye contact with a very thick eight foot bull shark coming full speed in attack mode directly toward me. Amazingly, when it got within 10 feet, it turned 90 degrees to the right, swam to the bottom and disappeared into the distance. I have no doubt that if I was not wearing the FREEDOM7, I would have been badly injured, and lost my trophy hog fish! I have had the Ocan Guardian for more than five years and will never be without it while spearfishing. Thank you.

Justin Baker, Spearfisher, Florida, United States

Used my Ocean Guardian a few days ago for the first time honestly not by virtue at first but circumstance… I shot a nice mutton snapper at 60 feet with only about 25 feet visibility and right before I hit the surface a bull shark showed up and decided my fish looked like a good snack… Despite my best efforts I lost the fish and now had shark on the brain. I went back to the boat and put the Ocean Guardian on. Immediately I felt more comfortable diving in the murk and didn’t lose another fish while still seeing a few more sharks. And just to answer a few questions before they are asked, yes I got shocked/no it wasn’t that bad and it was definitely far less of a pain in the butt to dive with than I expected!

Stoked on this device!

Joseph Burke, Spearfishing Guide & Commercial Abalone Diver, Vanuatu, Tonga, Australia, New Zealand, & Niue

As a spearfishing guide in Australia and the Coral Sea, often 200 miles from shore, I, Joseph Burke, have had occasion to swim with many sharks. My job is often to cut bait in the water with sharks to attract Dogtooth Tuna and other prized fish. As I am holding the bleeding fish the sharks are interested in me and are unconcerned with the other spear fishermen around me.

On average I push 5 sharks a day away from me as they came in for a feed on the bait I was holding. 3 years ago after the diver doing my job on the boat, a week before I was to arrive, was bitten by a bronze whaler I decided to try an Ocean Guardian. To my amazement I was unable to reach a shark to push it away with my spear gun because, at about 2 meters out, the sharks would turn away.

I never guide now without my Ocean Guardian and I have had occasion to use it on sharks in Vanuatu, Tonga, Australia, New Zealand and Niue.

It’s not as exciting diving with my Ocean Guardian, but it is a lot safer.

John Walker, Diver, South Australia

Like hundreds of fellow South Aussies, curiosity to see sharks feasting on a whale carcass in Backstair’s Passage was too great to be ignored. Being a recreational diver I decided to use the opportunity to put my Shark POD* to the test in real conditions.

The Shark POD and footplate were fixed about 90cm apart to a buoy and submersed in the water with the POD just below the surface. The switch for the unit was accessible from the boat. It took several hours for a shark to come close enough, but finally one swam under the boat a couple of times. The shark returned swimming across the back of the boat. As it reached the port side of the boat it rolled on to its side readying for an attack to the motor. As the shark drew level with the prop I activated the Shark POD, which was submersed on the starboard side about 2 metres away from the outboard leg. The shark immediately shuddered and froze. After several seconds it veered sharply away from the boat and disappeared.

The cost of the Shark POD was certainly vindicated. Simply put, the Shark POD is as much a part of our dive equipment as the air tank.

*The shark POD is an obsolete product and no longer in production

Joe Backer – Recreation & Professional Shelldiver

You may have caught an abbreviated part of the White Pointer encounter put in the full test review of the Shark Shield on www.digitalreviews.net , but here’s the full story. Having been a recreation swimmer/spear fisher and professional shell diver for approximately 40 years, diving up to 15 km off the coast and 60 metres deep, I’ve had all sorts of encounters with sharks. From having to “smokie” a 3.5 metre Bronze whaler (silly move) then being back to back with the buddy, pushing them off when 11 or 12 more of them sensed the blood. The choice being for us to go up and die, (7 minutes into decompression after a 44 metre dive) or stay down and maybe die. We chose the latter on that occasion.

Even though we were not shooting fish on the many excursions we encountered sharks, no matter what the species, they always seemed to do a circle around us, usually not in any hasty or aggravated manner, but a cruise to see what was happening. Were we edible, maybe????

Usually, if I tried to attack them with the hand spear they would stay out of reach and on all of the occasions with the exception of one, they seemed more scared of me than I of them until the encounter at Bird Rock.

On this next encounter we were shell diving Cheynes Beach, Bird Rock, known to be out in the wilds, 58 metres to the bottom and about 5 kilometres offshore. We had been enjoying ourselves looking for cowries as usual and had gone a bit over our usual stay time which meant it was essential that we do a minimum of 8 minutes decompression.

Visibility was great and we could see about 35 metres of anchor rope going lazily to the bottom, and proceeded to play our usual charades while we waited for the dive computers to say we could break the surface. Suddenly, out of the blue haze at about the same depth we were glided a big Grey and White shark coming straight for us. I immediately realised that this was a White Pointer. Not because of his colour or shape or anything else, but his eyes and manner was so different. He was not scared and swam toward us with absolutely no fear and with such self assuredness and arrogance that he left no doubt that he was superior.

I find it difficult to put into words the difference between other sharks and sightings, so that you could understand the vast difference between everyday sharks and White pointers, anyway I removed the safety off the smokey and with 14 feet of hand spear extended, tried to prod him. He casually and arrogantly glided to the side, completed his circum-navigation of us while we clung feverishly to the anchor rope. Eyeing us with his gimleted unblinking black eyes, he casually mouthed the outboard leg, the harsh crunching sounds breaking the ominous silence as he tested the strange metallic object that dared to stay still before him, and then silently glided away. As the deco meter hit zero we jumped back in the boat, feeling a great sense of security with 3mm of aluminium between us and the water!

I have written this article mentioning the former White Pointer shark encounter hoping that you will see the difference between the encounter at Bird Rock and Cosy Corner.

Saturday the 10 December 2008 the sun beams down, clear skies, no wind, another magic day. We decide to shoot some fish and therefore we must go away from where other divers may go to look at the beautiful life beneath the sea. We head to Cosy Corner and run the boat well out, away from islands and pick a spot in open water where it’s about 15 metres deep. Throw on the Scuba gear, velcro strap the borrowed Freedom7 Sharkshield on to my ankle whilst having a shot at my buddy about wearing an old model Freedom 4 and we are good to go.

Over the side, visibility is good and I go straight to the bottom, already lining up some good sized Sea Sweep for dinner. I shoot 5-6 Sweep and after gutting them mid water decide I have effectively got sufficient dinner for both of us. After looking around to see if any Wobbegong sharks have come for the gut remains now drifted to the bottom, I caught sight of a large Queen snapper.

Away I go and decide this will be the last fish, pick the lateral line and with a good solid “thunk” I have my fish. With blood all round me I realise this will be the last fish as he is too big to get fully into the bag, so I pull out the hand spear paralyser’s prongs and with the Queenie’s tail sticking well out of the catch bag, I turn to go.
Whoa, what’s this; my buddy has a fearful expression on his face and is giving frantic shark signals. I can see nothing but decide “discretion is the better part of velour” so let’s get to the boat. Once in the boat my buddy finally becomes coherent and tells me how a 4-5 metre Grey and White shark arrowed down towards me as I was putting the fish in the catch bag. “It got to within 5-6 metres of you, gave an immense shiver, veered then departed as quickly as it came” he said. I shudder to think what may have happened with no Shark Shield as here is one of the most feared sharks, the White Pointer, lining up my catch for tea (maybe with me as dessert) and yet he departs as quickly as he came.

It’s the difference between encounters that interests me and the fact that he gave a shake, and then goes away and does not return.

Draw what you will from the story, but I am convinced that the Shark Shield works well even when the sharks are focused on feeding, so needless to say both my wife and I have now bought a Freedom7 each which we religiously wear swimming, snorkelling and Scuba diving.

Kind Regards
Joe & Kerrie Baker
Albany Western Australia

Jeff Grocke, Abalone Diver

I have from a young boy had an affinity with the sea, and acquired a love for diving that still continues today. I have been professionally abalone diving for some 20 years. The majority of those years I have free dived without the protection of a cage unit. It wasn’t until 2 years ago after 3 White Pointer sightings over the years, and continued pressure from my family, I decided that perhaps I was “pushing my luck” and purchased a Shark POD*.

I was however, a little sceptical of the protection that the inventors claimed the unit to have, but my doubts were short lived after my fourth confrontation.

I was diving in approx. 25 feet of water for Blacklip Abalone when the swell built up, making it too uncomfortable to work “blacks” so I swam out to the drop off of approx. 45 feet. As I swam out, I caught sight of an 11 foot White Pointer swimming in towards me. I sat on the bottom and watched as he turned and swam along the face of me approx. 18 feet away, and then turned in toward me. I realized then that the battery was low, as the red light was on and remembered Mike telling me that fully charged, the protective electrical field is approx. 7 metres in diameter. How far was it when only half charged? The Shark kept coming straight at me, not rushing, but definitely curious. He hit the field approx. 10 feet away from me and unbelievably it was like he hit a brick wall. He turned tail and bolted leaving me in a wash. I sat on the bottom for a further few minutes but never caught sight of him again. I was that confident, even with a low battery, that I finished filling my bag and returned to the boat where my sheller was totally oblivious to the Shark.

*Shark POD is an obsolete product and no longer in production

Ian “Shark Gordon”, Shark Conservationist & Discovery Channel Presenter, Australia

I have been involved with electrical shark deterrents since their inception in the early 1990’s. The original manufacturers of “Shark POD” (Natal Sharks Board of South Africa) sought my input to trial the new technology with a number of species of sharks including Great White Sharks off South Australia.

My many years of diving with these incredible creatures has led to a great respect and a firm belief that a shark protection unit that enables people to enter the water without fear will ultimately help to ensure the sharks survival in the future.

The incredible invention of the ‘Shark POD’ technology is a tribute to the dedication and perseverance of a company setting new ground.

My early scepticism changed when I witnessed sharks repulsed from baits set out to attract them. But it took me considerable time to leave the protection of a barred cage, protected only by an invisible electrical field. This I did to test the POD’s effect on sharks in a series of experiments – but it worked. I however do not recommend that this technology be used with Great White sharks in “hot spot” areas as a sole form of protection.

Over recent years I have followed the trials and eventual manufacture of the new ‘Shark Shield’. This unit is lighter and smaller than the old POD with a larger more powerful battery. It is also much more user friendly allowing greater flexibility of use. People often ask me, Does it work? – YES. But can I give a 100% guarantee against shark attacks? – NO. The one thing that stands out in my years of research is the unpredictable nature of the animal.

I firmly believe that in the vast majority of cases, when used correctly, it will repel most sharks, but it should not be seen as an invincible tool leading us to believe that now the ocean is our domain. And perhaps this is a good thing, a part of the planet we can not dominate.

With the help of ‘Shark Shield’, and if used correctly, we now have the opportunity to explore the oceans with less risk.

Greg Pickering – Abalone Diver, South Australia

I can say without any doubt that Shark Shield™ works as advertised. I recently had two separate encounters with Great White sharks and each time the unit repelled the shark at 4 to 5 meters.

Great White Scare for Police Divers

A GROUP of Water Police has been forced to wait 10 minutes underwater while a 4m great white shark circled above.

The divers were at 18m, on a training exercise at Grange tyre reef, when the shark appeared near a boat above them.

They remained in radio contact with boat crew until given the all clear to surface.

The divers were wearing Shark Shield, an electronic shark protector vest. The incident, on Monday, is one of four shark sightings this week.

Glenelg Marine, South Australia

We were concerned initially that the promotion of Ocean Guardian may have a negative affect on our customers and we had a lot to lose considering we are the largest training facility in Southern Australia. Following two well publicised shark incidents (aren’t they all) last year which resulted in a dramatic business downturn, we were forced for the survival of our business to reassess the whole shark phobia problem.

We instituted a promotion on radio, TV, and the press stating, “although sharks aren’t a real problem, for your peace of mind we use the latest technology – Ocean Guardian on all of your training dives, there is no reason now not to learn.”

For a three month period post shark attack, the only thing that saved our butt was Ocean Guardian. We now know that promoting Ocean Guardian will have no negative affect on customer retention, in fact the opposite is the case. Customers in general will not raise the shark issue however our store now visibly displays the product which provides the opportunity for discussion and I find it amazing how many customers have been hiding their fear.

Finally we have an answer to what I believe the single biggest factor that greatly reduces entry level participation. Ocean Guardian certainly does:

Increase participation.
Ensures participation continues.
Increases bottom line profits.

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