Surfing in the ocean is both amazing and nerve-racking. In my early twenties I used to surf at a town called Bolinas, a great little spot located in Northern California. Because of the cold water and abundance of seals, Bolinas (and neighboring Stinson Beach) are known for their Great White Shark sightings, some seen swimming in less than 20 feet of water. When you’re on your board and suddenly you see something pop out of the water, usually a seal head or dolphin fin, your heart definitely stops for a minute.
Now there’s the Shark Attack Mitigation System, SAMS for short, which disrupts a shark’s visual perception, potentially saving surfers from being attacked. The concept is similar to that of Dazzle Camouflage, which makes is difficult to estimate a target’s range, speed and heading.
The Oceans Institute team headed by Professor Shaun Collin and Professor Nathan Hart has been studying shark vision for a number of years and is considered the world leading authority in the field. The team has made a number of significant scientific discoveries relating to shark sensory systems – including the fact that sharks see in black and white.
Although sharks use a number of senses to locate prey, it is known that vision is the crucial sense in the final stage of an attack. By disrupting a shark’s visual perception, an attack can either be diverted altogether or at least delayed to allow time to exit the water.
You can find the whole range of SAMS products by clicking here.