FAQs

Q. How does the Shark Shield effectively deter sharks?

A.

All predatory sharks have highly sensitive electrical receptors called the “Ampullae of Lorenzini” located in their snouts. These tiny gel filled sacs can only sense electrical current from prey at very close distances, typically less than one meter. As sharks can only sense electrical currents at very short distances and electrical currents are dispersed rapidly in water, the myth that sharks can sense electrical current at great distances is not true; as a result electrical shark deterrents do not attract sharks

The powerful, but localised electrical field generated by Shark Shield devices cause the sharks gel filled sacs to spasm and turns sharks away from the immediate area. There are no known long-term adverse effects to the shark and as a result Shark Shield devices support the conservation of sharks by removing the need for culling or other lethal means of managing human and shark interactions. Shark Shield devices do not affect other ocean creatures.

Q. Does the Shark Shield attract sharks?

A.

No! As sharks can only sense electrical currents at very short distances and electrical currents are dispersed rapidly in water, the myth that sharks can sense electrical current at great distances is not true; as a result electrical shark deterrents do not attract sharks.

Sharks are not attracted to electronic shark deterrents because sharks would only be attracted (if at all) to a deterrent at the point at which the electric field strength (of the deterrent) has dropped off enough to represent a prey-like stimulus (approx. 1-100nV/cm), at which point, if they approach the device they should quickly realise that this is not prey (as the field strength will increase greatly) and then subsequently be deterred. Therefore, the question is at what distance from the device does a shark experience a field strength of approximately 1-100nV/cm and from research by the South African National Space Agency the modelling shows the field strength up to about 6m from the device would drop of very quickly to less than 1-100nV/cm

Sharks Senses
Sharks have an aray of senses, and each one is used at different distances from their prey. The senses used for electrical perception are only used at close range.

Sound – a long range sense (several kilometres)
Low frequency vibrations travel hundreds of meters through the water and are known to attract sharks. Typical sounds might be struggling fish or humans swimming.

Smell – a long range sense (several hundred metres)
Sharks will follow a scent trail over considerable distances. Blood, body fluids and secretions from shell fish may deposit a trail several kilometers from the source.

Pressure – a medium range sense (less then 100 metres)
The sharks lateral line and pit organ allow them to sense changes in pressure.

Sight – a medium range sense (less than 100 metres)
Most of the sharks that pose a threat to us have excellent eyesight and can readily track prey by sight, even in low light.

Electrical perception – a close range sense (less than 1 metre)
A particularly unique sense used by sharks at close quarters, consists of hundreds of tiny gel filled pores around the snout. These are known as Ampullae of Lorenzini and are used to pick up the electrical signals emitted by the nerve impulses from living creatures. When a shark closes in for an attack, a protective membrane pulls back over its eyes rendering it temporarily blind. For the few seconds this may take, the shark is able to track its prey by utilising its Ampullae of Lorenzini.

Q. If I am wearing a unit, but my buddy/mate is not, is he/she more prone to attack?

A.

Anyone not wearing a Shark Shield is at more risk of being attacked than somebody who is wearing a unit.

However the fact that one person is wearing a unit does not mean that those around him/her are placed at greater risk than if nobody in the group was wearing a unit.

THE UNIT DOES NOT ATTRACT SHARKS.

Q. How does the Shark Shield effectively deter sharks?

A.

All predatory sharks have highly sensitive electrical receptors called the “Ampullae of Lorenzini” located in their snouts. These tiny gel filled sacs can only sense electrical current from prey at very close distances, typically less than one meter. As sharks can only sense electrical currents at very short distances and electrical currents are dispersed rapidly in water, the myth that sharks can sense electrical current at great distances is not true; as a result electrical shark deterrents do not attract sharks

The powerful, but localised electrical field generated by Shark Shield devices cause the sharks gel filled sacs to spasm and the shark to flee the immediate area. There are no known long-term adverse effects to the shark and as a result Shark Shield devices support the conservation of sharks by removing the need for culling or other lethal means of managing human and shark interactions. Shark Shield devices do not affect other ocean creatures.

Q. What types of sharks does the Shark Shield deter?

A.

All predatory shark species are repelled by the Shark Shield. These include Great Whites, Tigers, Zambezi (Bull), Mako, Oceanic, Hammerhead sharks.

Some sharks, in particular the bottom feeders, including Woobygong, Carpet and Port Jackson sharks, have their Ampullae of Lorenzini located under their snouts and as such have a diminished response to the Shark Shield wave form. A small number of sharks such as the Seven Gill and Grey Nurse shark have a diminished Ampullae so are less affected. The sharks that fall into these categories are in general, not considered dangerous to humans.

Q. Can we guarantee the Shark Shield works?

A.

Yes, Shark Shield devices work.

Shark Shield has been extensively tested by independent science organisations and universities, and consistently proven to be effective at turning sharks away. Our over twenty years of science based research and testing is supported by hundreds of unsolicited testimonials from users, stating how their lives have been saved by Shark Shield technology.

It must be noted that sharks are unpredictable animals, as such it is impossible to guarantee that all sharks will be turned away under all circumstances. For example, a shark’s ampulle of lorenzini may be damaged and thus less affected.

Shark Shield is a safety device designed to remove risk, and thus should be considered the same as other safety devices which remove risk, such as airbags and seat belts in in motor vehicles, which have also been proven to save many lives, but it cannot be claimed that air bags save lives 100% of the time.

With or without the protection of a Shark Shield, all sharks should be treated with respect and caution. Water sport participation in the presence of sharks is inherently dangerous. Any human activity in the water near sharks must always be considered as possessing a considerable degree of risk.

Like any piece of electronic equipment, your Shark Shield will not work effectively if not used in the correct manner or if the unit is not maintained correctly. The product instruction manual provided with the unit must be read thoroughly prior to using your Shark Shield.

Q. Does the field of the Shark Shield interfere with a divers hoseless air integrated dive computer?

A.

From the tests conducted to date, no interference has occurred on the ScubaPro Uwatec range of computers.

However, if wearing the SCUBA7 Unit, the Shark Shield field has on some occasions (but not usually) interfered with the Suunto Vytec due to the close proximity of the tank mounted electrode to the tank air pressure transmitter .

Please note, that this was only with the SCUBA7 product and this effect has not been observed when wearing any FREEDOM7 or SURF7 unit.

Q. What is the depth rating of the Shark Shield?

A.

The maximum depth of use is 50 meters (164 feet).

Q. Can I use the Shark Shield in estuarine environments?

A.

Shark Shield is designed for use in seawater, but will produce a limited field in estuarine waters due to the decreased salinity of the water.  Please keep in mind the closer you are to a freshwater source, the less saline the water will be and the more limited the field size will become.

The Shark Shield cannot be used in fresh water as it will not establish a protective field in freshwater due to the water’s reduced ability to conduct electrical energy.

Q. What is the warranty period for the Shark Shield unit?

A.

The Shark Shield has a 12 month manufacturer’s warranty, provided the unit is maintained as per the instructions set out in the Product Manual supplied with the product. The battery is supplied with the product and is fully encased in the unit and therefore covered under the standard warranty.

Shark Shield does offer an extended warranty which provides 2 additional years of protection, for a total of 3-years of coverage on your device.  This can purchase from our website here: https://sharkshield.com/shop/extended-warranty-3-years/

 Please note, it is a requirement that proof of purchase be supplied when making a warranty claim.

Q. How can I test that the unit is working properly?

A.

Should you wish to check the operation of your device on land, the easier way to test it is to use our Shark Shield Tester.  Simply push a probe into each antenna and look for both LEDs to blink and you know you’ll fully protected in the water.  You can purchase the tester here:  https://sharkshield.com/shop/shark-shield-test-unit/

If you’re already in the water, holding either hand close to the antenna, i.e. less than 300mm (12 inches) away, whilst immersed in water and while the unit is switched on, is a handy way of checking the field.

If the unit is functioning properly, the user should feel a distinct pulsing of the skin muscles of the hand. For surfers, being on the surface of the water and often in bright sunlight, this is the easiest way to check the units operation.

Q. How should I store the battery?

A.

Always rinse your Shark Shield in fresh water and allow drying prior to storage. To obtain maximum life from the battery, charge after each use and always store the unit charged.

Q. Can I “top up” the battery when it still has some charge left in it, or does it need to be fully drained?

A.

Yes. Topping up the battery pack when partially charged will not damage the battery or lead to memory effect problems. However, any rechargeable battery benefits from being totally discharged every 6 months.

Q. How do I know when the battery pack is getting low?

A.

A solid green LED shows when the unit is operating normally. If the battery is running low, alternate red and green flashing LEDs will be displayed together with an audible alarm.

Q. How long does the battery pack last?

A.

The battery with the FREEDOM7 and SCUBA7 units will last 6-7 hours if fully charged prior to use. The lithium battery is fully rechargeable and comes with a specification of 300-charge and discharge cycles.

Q. Will I get an electric shock?

A.

The Shark Shield works by emitting an electrical signal between two visible stainless steel electrode braids which are located at the top and bottom of the antenna.

To produce a protective electrical field of a significant size the electrical signal needs to be high in power. When accidentally placing your hand near or on the antenna the high power signal may cause stimulation of the surface muscles of the skin. This may differ for each person and the feeling is similar to that of a TENS machine.

The amount of stimulation is minimal if accidentally touching the antenna while it is fully submerged. The reason for this is that the easiest current path for the electrical signal to flow between the two electrodes is through the water rather than through the user.

A higher amount of stimulation may occur if the user accidentally lifts one of the electrodes out of the water with their hand or other parts of their body. The reason for this is that the user then becomes part of the current path between the two electrodes.

Recommendations

  • Keep the antenna submerged at all times.
  • If using a Scuba unit (for diving), then it is recommended that you wear a wetsuit.
  • If using a Freedom7 for scuba diving or snorkeling, to reduce the risk of the antenna accidentally touching your body then secure the initial length of antenna from the electronic housing to your fin. The method of attachment should be with something similar to a plastic cable tie. Do not use a metal fastening device or a system that significantly covers the antenna electrode.
  • Anyone with a pacemaker, are pregnant, or has a health condition that could be effected by the electric field should not use the device. Such health conditions include heart disease, a history of heart problems, peripheral vascular decease, stroke, a history of fainting or epilepsy, or lung disease.

Q. Does the Shark Shield repel any other creatures?

A.

One of the distinct advantages of this unique electronic wave-form is that it only repels predator sharks and members of the Elasmobranch family including rays and skates. Animals in the Elasmobranch family are the only species to have an Ampullae of Lorenzini.

Although anecdotal, some very limited tests on Crocodiles show the Shark Shield wave form has an affect, considerable further testing must be conducted before any claim can be made or implied.

Q. Do the electrodes need to be immersed in the water for a protective field to be created?

A.

Yes, most definitely! Both electrodes need to be immersed in the water for a protective field to be created. In the case of the FREEDOM7 unit, both electrodes are encased in the antenna.

In the SCUBA7 unit, one electrode is encased in the antenna protruding from the ankle and the other electrode is worn on the scuba cylinder.

Q. On which part of the body is the Shark Shield worn?

A.

It depends on which unit you use.

FREEDOM7 – Is attached to the ankle via a neoprene pouch with velcro attachments. Both electrodes are encased in the 2-meter long antenna.

SURF7 – The Surf unit is not attached to the body, it is mounted on the tail of the surfboard via a mounting board, deck grip can then be stuck to the mounting board, the 2 meter antenna that houses the electrodes then hangs out the back. The mounting board can be unscrewed so that you can recharge the unit or mount it on another surf board.

SCUBA7 – The main housing of the unit can be worn on the thigh (a strap is provided), in a BC pocket, or attached to the front of the BC via a BC strap or D ring. The antenna electrode is worn on the ankle, with the antenna protruding out the front, so that it rests on the fin. The pad electrode is secured to the back of the scuba cylinder via the BC securing strap (cam band).

Q. Can the unit be used by children?

A.

The Shark Shield must not be used by children under the age of twelve years. The Shark Shield is a safety device, not a toy. It is deemed that children under the age of twelve, even with adult supervision, do not have the necessary level of maturity required to use such an electrical device, which, if not used correctly, will not give the level of protection to the user that it is designed to do.

Children above the age of 12 must be supervised by an adult to ensure that the Shark Shield is used correctly and in accordance with the instructions and warnings contained in the instruction booklet supplied with each unit.

Q. Who can use the Shark Shield?

A.

Shark Shield devices can be used for a wide variety of water sports:

FREEDOM7 – Scuba diving, free diving, spearfishing, swimming, kayaking, boating & fishing

SCUBA7 – Scuba diving, technical diving, military divers

FREEDOM+ Surf – Surfing & SUP

Q. Do I have to leave the Shark Shield switched on all the time?

A.

Yes, when in the water. According to the International Shark Attack File of the Ichthyology Department of the Florida Museum of Natural History (see www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/sharks), 52.3% of shark attack victims did not see the shark prior to attack. Therefore,  do not wait to turn the unit on. Ensure the unit is turned off when you are exiting the water.

However, the unit must be switched off when inside a shark cage or in any other confined areas such as wrecks or caves. Also see “When should I turn on the Shark Shield.”

Q. When should I turn on the Shark Shield?

A.

Do not turn the unit on until you enter the water. Turn the unit off when exiting the water.

Q. Does the Shark Shield harm sharks?

A.

From the tests conducted to date, results show that Shark Shield does not harm the shark. The majority of testing on shark effect and health was carried out by a team of marine biologists at the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board of South Africa.

Scientific tests show the field emitted by the Shark Shield causes short term discomfort to the shark in the form of muscular spasms. However, once the shark leaves the area, there is no lasting detrimental effect to the shark.

Q. Has the Shark Shield been proven to be safe to humans?

A.

The field generated by the Shark Shield, when used in accordance with the instructions contained in the instruction manual supplied with each unit, poses no danger to the user, to sharks or to the environment. The field can be detected by humans if the electrodes come into very close contact with the skin.

Direct contact with, or very close proximity to the antenna, may cause twitching of the surface muscles of the skin, in time with the slow pulsing of the signal. The conductive field readily travels through seawater, it being a better conductor than the human body. Thus the field tends to surround the body rather than penetrate it. Scientific tests show that the type of signal generated by the Shark Shield is unable to pass through body tissues, unlike radio waves or microwaves that readily penetrate the body, and therefore it poses no health problems for users.

However, anyone with any health condition which could increase their sensitivity to the fields created by the Shark Shield should not use the device. Such conditions include heart disease, a history of heart attack, peripheral vascular disease, stroke, a history of fainting or epilepsy, lung disease, or if the user is on any prescription drugs that are administered for these conditions. People who have pacemakers or are pregnant must not use the Shark Shield and should also avoid swimming near any other person using the Shark Shield.

Q. What sort of testing has been done on the Shark Shield units?

A.

The electronic wave-form used in the Shark Shield has been on the market since 1995, originally marketed the Shark POD by the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board, and has proved its effectiveness in the field time and time again.

Shark Shield devices have been thoroughly tested in the laboratory, and on-site with Great Whites, both in Cape Town, South Africa and Neptune Island, South Australia. Field testing of the Shark Shield on predator sharks involves attracting sharks using blood and offal. The unit is turned on and placed into the water with fish bait attached to attract the shark. The shark’s behaviour, as it investigates the food source, is then observed and recorded.

Recent independent research funded by the Western Australian State Government, as part of its investment in Shark Hazard Mitigation, lead by Professor Shaun Collin, Director of the University of Western Australia Oceans Institute, has proven the efficacy of Shark Shield’s technology.

Collins stated, “During testing Shark Shield successfully turned sharks away in nine out of ten times. We hope this research will ultimately lead to the development of new shark deterrent technologies in the future.” A renowned expert in his field, Collins also authored Electroreception in Vertebrates and Invertebrates published in the Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior, Oxford Academic Press 2010.

In 2012, Dr Charlie Huveneers from the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) and Flinders University and his team also tested the effectiveness of Shark Shield. Part of this independent scientific testing used a seal decoy off the coast of South Africa, with white sharks seen to visibly abort attack charges with no surface breach observed with the Shark Shield device turned on.

Dr Vic Peddemors, a renowned shark scientist who has been working with sharks since 1987, was involved in statistical testing of Shark Shield’s effectiveness back in 2003, also in South Africa on white sharks. During this testing it was shown that by using a Shark Shield the probability of an attack was reduced from 0.70 to 0.08.

 

 

 

 

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A.
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