Shark Repellent Guide
If you spend time in the ocean, you are going to encounter a shark. Sharks live in every ocean, all across the globe, just as they have for millennia.
Popular activities such as diving, snorkeling, and surfing have simply brought the human race into their realm.
With shark attacks constantly making news and magazine headlines worldwide, and films like Jaws wrongly portraying great white sharks as mindless man-eaters, it is easy to see why shark repellents have recently taken the market by storm.
But do they work? How do they work? Are all these devices created equal? How effective are they?
Keep calm and surf on with us as we explore the latest products in ocean sports technology: the best shark repellents!
Our Favorite Picks
#1 Shark Shield Freedom7 Shark Deterrent
#2 SHARKBANZ 2
What Is Shark Repellent?
In their most literal interpretation, a shark repellent is any product that can be used to "repel" sharks away from a given area. As you may imagine, there are a variety of means available to accomplish this task, some of which include the use of magnets, electricity, or chemicals.
Modern synthetic shark repellents can trace their origins back to the second World War, where the US Navy experimented with them in the Pacific theatre. Since then, people have been busy testing a variety of shark deterrents, some more effective than others. Today, shark repellent products see a variety of popular use by everyone from surfers looking for piece of mind to commercial fishermen aiming to reduce shark by-catch.
The most popular shark deterrents found today are designed as high tech wearables, easily used without impeding one's ability to surf, dive, or paddle.
Do Shark Repellents Really Work?
Since the market for recreational shark repellents is relatively new, peer reviewed research is just starting to be done on the subject. Mostly coming out of Australia, this research involves attaching a shark repellent device, such as the "sharkshield" or "shark banz" to a surfboard, and tossing it in white shark infested water. Throw in a little bait and sure enough, you have yourself what promises to be an exciting and educational scientific experiment.
From results published so far, no repellent was able to turn sharks away from the bait 100% of the time. However, the testing has shown that not all shark repellents are created equal. Some, such as the Shark Shark Shield Freedom, was shown to repel sharks far more often than others.
Keep reading to see which devices are effective in the water!
The 2 Best Shark Repellents
#1 Shark Shield Freedom7 Shark Deterrent
The Shark Shield makes it's claim to fame as the only scientifically tested and proven repellent product.
It is mandated equipment in various commercial diving and fishing outfits, as well as the US and Australian Navies.
Powered by a rechargeable battery, this device works by continuously emitting an electric field.
Designed to be worn around the ankle or waist, the Shark Shield provides a reliable tool that should be in every ocean enthusiast's arsenal!
#2 Sharkbanz 2
Looking for something easy to use and safe for the whole family? Look no further than the Sharkbanz 2 magnetic bracelet! Instead of creating an electric field, the sharkbanz bracelet uses powerful magnetic technology to scramble a shark's sense of direction, keeping it away from you and the other surfers on the break.
A highly regarded product, this bracelet is stylish, slim, and always working!
#1 Ocean Guardian Freedom+
This is by far the best shark repellent for surfers. Designed with carving in mind, the Ocean Guardian Freedom+ is the ultimate device for those of us who don't want to add any bulk to their person.
Neatly fitting on a variety of boards, this rigorously tested device is designed to be as streamlined as possible, leaving your surfing performance uninhibited.
#2 Shark Off Bracelet
If you're on the hunt for something stylish, harmless, and effective, then the Shark Off Bracelet is the product for you.
Designed from a variety of natural woods, leathers, and other elements, this surf inspired wrist wear is great for the whole family.
#3 Promate Scuba Dive Snorkel Titanium Knife
While not technically an active repellent, the final item on our list is one that every ocean goer should possess: a trusty dive knife! Useful for more than just cutting, dive knives should be a tool in everyone's arsenal.
It may not emit anything, but it can be used to get you out of a variety of other jams.
How Do Shark Repellents Actually Work?
To understand how these products work, we have to take a quick dive into the anatomy of sharks. These animals, along with rays, posess specialized cells on their faces (called the Ampulae of Lorenzini) that allow them to sense electromagnetic pulses, essentially resulting in a sixth sense. They use this extra sensory reception to aid in tracking and hunting prey as well as possible navigation during oceanic migrations. Shark attacks are mostly all cases of mistaken identity: we give off the same sort of electric pulses as seals and other fish, especially when we're exercising. The sharks hone in on the signal, track it down, and take a bite. Yum.
Here's where the science of shark repellents comes into play. Ideally, if we overload their sensory reception, the sharks in question will vacate the area. Think of walking into a room full of blinding light, or annoying loud noises. Not pleasant, huh? And so the electromagnetic shark repellent industry was born.
A Short History of Shark Repellents
Shark deterrents first came into the modern consciousness during WWII, when the US Navy was looking for ways to keep aviators and sailors stranded at sea safe from sharks. Initially, scientists believed that shark blood itself would act to keep other sharks away. However, research provided mixed results, and soon enough, artificial repellents came into play. As shark sightings and attacks became news headlines worldwide, the repellent industry was also growing. Since the turn of the century, scientists have been busy experimenting with a variety of electromagnetic and chemical alternatives, some of which show promise (like the ones we've discussed above) and others upon which further experimentation is needed.
Final Verdict - Which Should You Buy?
In short, you should always buy the piece of gear that best suits your needs. We know that the Shark Shield Freedom 7 is the repellent which suits everyone's needs. Useful both on top of and underneath the waves, this nifty device is sturdy enough to stand up to the rigors of repeated surf, dive, and paddle sessions.
OUR #1 PICK - Shark Shield Freedom7 Shark Deterrent