If The Worst Happens

 

Shark attack victims usually die from a combination of shock and blood loss. Therefore the following things should be done as soon as possible: 


* Remove the victim from the water as soon as possible and place her or him head downward on the beach slope to combat shock by increasing blood flow to the head.

* Control bleeding by pressing on pressure points, or by applying tourniquets. Efforts to stop bleeding should start while the victim is still in the water.

* Notify a doctor, paramedic or hospital. Take the victim's blood pressure and pulse rate if possible for future reference by a doctor or hospital.

* Do not give the victim warm drinks or alcohol, only sips of fresh water. protect the victim from cold by wrapping him or her in a blanket to minimize heat loss.

* Bring aid tot he victim rather than bring the victim to an aid. This is because movement can increase shock. The victim should not be moved unless he or she recovered from shock and a doctor is present. Victims are better off left alone then moved unwisely or unnecessarily.

* Untrained people should not try to help the victim in any way, other than by carrying out the steps outlined above- more harm than good can result from well-meant but incorrect attempts to render aid. Experts think that this is one of the most important factors in determining weather a victim survives or not.

 

 

Reducing The Risk

Swimmers and divers can reduce the chance of being attacked by following a few simple rules:

Never swim in areas where dangerous are known to be common. If the area is unfamiliar you can find this out by asking local residents.

If possible swim at beaches where there are life guards present. Never enter the water where people are fishing, either from the beach or from inshore boats. If there are number of people in the water do not separate yourself from them. There is safety in number. Avoid swimming near deep channels, or where shallow water suddenly becomes deeper. Do not swim alone, or at dusk or after dark, when shark are feeding actively and likely  to be closer to the shore. Do not enter the water, or if in the water leave immediatly, if large numbers of fish are seen, or if fish seem to be acting strangely. Be alert for unusual movements in the water. Do not wear a watch or other jewellery that shines and  reflects light. Do not enter the water with an open wound, and women should not swim during their menstrual period.

For several years the Natal Sharks Board has been experimenting with alternative ways of protecting people utilising the sea from shark attack. One of these avenues of research has been the use of electrical fields to repel sharks. Sharks have specialised organs (ampullae of Lorenzini) which can sense the minute electrical fields generated by all marine animals and which assist in the detection of prey. This sensitivity to electrical fields is believed to have been the key to the development of a successful electrical repellent called the SharkPOD (Protective Oceanic Device).

 

 
Simulated electrical field created by the SharkPOD Diver Unit
Diver Number 2
Diver Number 2
Diver Number 1
Diver Number 1

The SharkPOD Diver Unit is intended to repel the three potentially most dangerous sharks which divers are likely to encounter in nearshore waters - the great white, tiger and bull sharks. Tests against the great white have been extensive and the results convincing. Tests against the other two species have been limited thus far but the results have been good. The effectiveness of the device does vary according to species, and some harmless sharks, such as the nurse, show little reaction to the electrical field. The SharkPOD Diver Unit is designed to be switched on immediately after entering the water and switched off again only when leaving the water. The device is not intended to be switched on and off during a dive - it functions by keeping sharks at bay. The SharkPOD Diver Unit should therefore remain activated throughout the dive for maximum diver protection.

The Future of the SharkPOD
Trials against various shark species are ongoing. The technology incorporated in the SharkPOD has the potential to be miniaturised and to be used in various applications, such as lifejackets. The technology also has the potential to be used for the protection of entire bathing areas. It is hoped that the SharkPOD will ultimately become standard equipment for any human exposed to the dangers of one of the oceans' top predators - the shark.


The new Australian-developed Sharksafe technology

Mr. Jim Morris was the first person  to test the Shark POD in the USA and was the first (in
the world
) to test the new Australian-developed Sharksafe technology.

Here is an article kindly provided by Mr. Morris describing the Shark Pod and the Sharksafe technology as it was published by the Star Bulletin.

SURROUNDED by a swarm of Caribbean reef sharks off the Bahamas, Jim Morris waits patiently as the carnivorous fish brush against him, nudging the diver for the handouts of bloody fish they have come to expect.

The pack of 12 sharks moves gracefully in a hypnotic underwater ballet, circling in a smooth flow of gray, while Morris sits on the ocean floor.

When his dive partner begins to feed the sharks bits of sashimi, the sharks crowd in. Morris pushes a button, and the sharks instantly scatter like a pack of cats with tails on fire.

The sharks have just been introduced to Shark POD, a sonic device that works similar to the technique teens use when they crank up thrash rock 'n' roll on their stereo to send their parents scurrying from the room.

If you listen to the South African developers and promoters, Shark POD (Protective Oceanic Device) is a technological marvel that will keep humans and sharks from tangling.

But California diver Morris wants to let potential customers know that sometimes sharks ignore the irksome sonic frequencies that Shark POD emits.

"There were a couple of times when the shark didn't give a damn when the unit was on," Morris says, adding that Shark POD is a work in progress. Yet divers across the world have enthusiastically embraced this new technology, either unaware of or undeterred by its shortcomings.

 


By Joe Shalmoni, Special to the Star-Bulletin
Inset photos: A Caribbean reef shark heads towards
Jim Morris, then veers off when he activates Shark POD in
pictures taken from a videotaped demonstration.



Morris has touted Shark POD in every media imaginable, from serious scientific magazines to gee-whiz TV tabloid shows. But his real dream is to come to Hawaii.

Morris is eager to find out what will happen when some seriously bad fish like tiger sharks come sniffing around and he pushes the button.

He was intrigued by a Maui diver who told Morris tales of fishing in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands and being scared out of the water by packs of 50 to 60 tiger sharks, big brutes that vaporize fish on the line, then keep coming up to the boat to chew on his gear.

"I'm dying to do a dive with this guy," says Morris, with no hint of irony. "I would like to take a POD and test it with a lot of tigers going after the fish he has caught. It would be an ideal situation."

The real ideal circumstance that Morris seeks is to test the device with no bloody fish or any type of bait in the water. "It's tough to get them to come in without baiting. Bait brings them in, but it alters the situation, makes it a lot less natural. I don't want to habituate these animals to associate humans with food."

Morris often offers himself up as a meal to test whether the POD works.

"You feel like you are a human lure," he says with a shudder. "You have to have the POD turned off to draw in the sharks, but the unit was designed to be run continuously, so the shark never comes close."

South Africa's quasi-governmental Natal Sharks Board has long sought to end the ghastly slaughter of sharks and other marine life caught in its nets that protect beachgoers from sharks. So it refined work on sonic vibrations started by the Florida Fish & Game Service.

Jelly-filled pores on a shark's snout called ampullae of Lorenzeni help sharks locate prey in murky water or buried in sand by detecting tiny electrical impulses, such as those generated by muscle contraction or the heartbeat of fish. And humans.

The Sharks Board found a frequency that sharks can't stand, then developed a way to deliver that frequency on demand. Shark POD is the result, a five-pound backpack containing a battery and electronic components, which is linked by cable to a metal-plate electrode.

The backpack attaches to a diver's air tank, the electrode to a fin, and at the push of a button the wearer is immediately wrapped in a protective electronic cocoon that extends up to 20 feet away.


By Joe Shalmoni, Special to the Star-Bulletin
Jim Morris poses with Shark POD and gear.



After 90 minutes, a red light shows that the battery is low and you have 15 minutes to exit the water. When the red light flashes, you're on borrowed time. Literally.

"The beauty of this technology is that it doesn't hurt the shark, it just gives it a vibe that sends it away," Morris says. "Sharks won't be protected from humans unless people know they can go in the water and be safe from sharks."

Morris has been testing the POD across the United States for the South Africans, nerve-wracking work made more agonizing by occasional glitches.

"I'm putting that device where my mouth is," says Morris. "The worst part is, I've seen it fail."

A 10-foot blue shark ignored the device and shredded the game bag Morris was holding; a Caribbean reef shark nipped Morris on the hand when he activated the device; and during tests in Australia and South Africa, oceanic whitetips penetrated the barrier and a great white bit Shark POD when it came in for tuna bait."

"It probably would fail the most for spearfishermen trailing a bloody bag of twitching fish," says Morris. "And when a human is on the surface and a 3,500-pound great white is charging from 60 feet below with 15 knots of acceleration, I doubt that it could turn even it if wanted to evade the barrier."

Additionally, using the POD can be a shocking experience. The dental fillings of two crew members tingled even after they left the water, and a commercial abalone diver off the Farallon Islands was shocked a few times by the strong electrical field.

More worrisome to distributors, POD Holdings Ltd. has in some cases refused to issue product liability insurance to protect vendors in case the unit fails.

But Shark POD definitely has its fans, especially now that the price has dropped from $1,000 to $599 in some countries.

Heather Boswell was crewing aboard a research boat when a shark bit off her leg. When she finally returned to the ocean for the first time after the devastating attack, the Shark POD helped her feel safe.

"I wouldn't use it for most of my diving, I don't want the hassle of putting it on," says Morris.

But then there are those special times, such as diving off a reef at night for lobsters, or diving anytime in California's infamous Red Triangle, when he wouldn't be caught without the device.

Morris sees a multitude of uses for Shark POD in Hawaii, to keep people safe in areas where tiger sharks have been aggressive, and during search and rescue operations or salvage work in shark-infested waters.

Shark POD also could provide a compromise between a fearful public and Hawaiians who feel a strong tie to shark aumakua, a way that humans and sharks can coexist in peace and keep cultural practices intact.

The manufacturer is working on ways to make the device small enough for surfers and swimmers to use, and to fit onto life jackets.

But even if the technology is mostly used to replace shark nets in South Africa and Australia, it would provide a wonderful benefit to people as well as the sea creatures killed by the nets.

"If we're going into the ocean, we're taking that risk of attack," Morris says. "But we love the ocean enough to take that risk.

"If this technology can help reduce that risk and reduce the fear level of people, that can result in understanding of how valuable sharks are to the marine ecosystem, and help protect them."


Sharksafe Technology- Australian-made electronic shark repellant devices.

We asked Mr. Morris what is the difference between the Sharksafe and the Sharkpod?

Mr. Morris reply;

The new Australian-developed Sharksafe is smaller and is much more
convenient to use than the Shark POD... Also, the Sharksafe is a
multi-purpose unit which is intended to protect swimmers, snorkelers, divers
and surfers. Whereas, the current commercially available Shark POD unit is
only intended to protect divers... Also, I haven't yet noticed any shocking
sensation from the Sharksafe... Whereas, the Shark POD has shocked wearers
(to include the dental fillings of a diver who was with me on a television
shoot that I dove for).


The Sharksafe in action. provided by Mr. Morris.

You can learn more about the sharksafe device by visiting http://www.sharksafe.com

 

Here is a list of devices that were not that successful in deterring or protecting against  shark attacks throughout the years..

Black and white striped wet suits

Wet suit was suppose to resemble giant sea snakes. Sharks would be frightened supposedly by the sight of such large sea snakes.

   
   
   

More to come this upcoming weekend.

   
   

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