St. Petersburg, Florida — An Australian company offers divers some assurance to avoid shark encounters with a device that sends an electronic signal that the animals don’t like.
Dive Instructor at Aquatic Obsessions, avid spearfisherman John Falcone is out on his his boat pretty much once a week and is used to seeing all types of fish.
But when he runs into a shark — it’s not something he ever gets used to.
“He definitely did not want to leave. He was on the surface before we were even in the water,” says Falcone.
Just last week, Falcone was fishing when a shark interrupted the fun.
“So we didn’t dive that spot that day,” says Falcone.
He says the next day, they returned but this time he was prepared.
diver’s ankle, trails behind and emits an electronic signal that sharks don’t like.
“You put this here on my ankle and tether here with on and off switch,” Falcone says of the SharkShield.
“Shark Shield is the only independently and scientifically tested shark deterrent,’ says Amanda Wilson, general manager of Shark Shield.
When the device is on, it sends an electronic signal through the water that affects a sharks’ short-range sensors, and causes muscle spasms. The shark then flees the area.
“We over power them and induce spasms in their snout,” says Wilson.
Wilson says testing also shows no harm is done to the sharks once they turn around and swim away.
“When those are put in water. That’s what’s creating the electric field,” says Wilson.
The device was developed in Australia — where it first hit the market — and the company opened an office in St. Pete in July.
“You talk to spear fisherman and they are having more and more shark encounters its becoming a real issue, so more people want something to keep them protected. We’ve quadrupled our sales in the U.S. since we opened up here in June,” says Wilson.
For Falcone, he was one of the clients that bought one and now now doesn’t dive without it.
“Just for that added protection. Sharks do come around were all going after that same food source,” says Falcone.
The cost of the device ranges from $599 to $699. For more information, visit the company’s website here.