Designed and developed by Shark Mitigation Systems (SMS) in Western Australia, the suits feature combinations of colours and shapes to reduce the risk of shark attack.

Based on collaborative research undertaken with the University of Western Australia’s Ocean Institute and the School of Animal Biology, on the behaviour of predatory sharks, the designs disrupt the normal visual perception of sharks. This makes a surfer or swimmer either invisible to a shark or a deterrent.

One design effectively blends in with the background colours in the sea, making it difficult for a shark to detect or focus on it. The second design makes the wearer appear highly visible by using colours totally unlike normal prey.

“Whilst the end product may appear, at first glance, to be fairly simple, the science and research behind it is extensive,” said SMS Director, Hamish Jolly. “We’ve combined many variables and elements in response to shark sensory systems so that the design of the suits has application for many water sports.”

Called Shark Attack Mitigation Systems, or SAMS Technology™, the suits were developed using materials that have a specific contrast, colour, size and shape according to the position of the wearer in the water, at the distance a shark is likely to sense the wearer.

Independent testing by the University of Western Australia with large wild predatory sharks off the coast of Western Australia have revealed very positive results. The technology also extends to skins and stickers for surfboards, diver air tanks, kayaks, boats and skis.

“Over more than 20 years in the wetsuit industry, the common question I have heard over and over again is, ‘I don’t want to look like a seal. What colours don’t sharks like?’,” explains Bob Lushey of Radiator.

“Now we know the answer and it’s very exciting. In view of the number of shark attacks recently in Western Australia, people are very concerned about shark attack, even though they know the odds of being attacked are low. If we can do something to allay these fears and provide a real deterrent we will be very happy.”

The SAMS suits are available from Radiator, an Australian wetsuit retailer.

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