Shark! Sonar Buoys May Warn Beachgoers

While the risk of being attacked by a shark is certainly low, it’s one of those terrors that can weigh heavy on the mind of a beach-goer, particularly in higher-risk beaches such as some in Australia and South Africa.

A new device is currently being developed to warn swimmers when a shark is detected in the water near a beach, and — no surprise — the Aussies are behind it.

The Clever Buoy is being called the “world’s first shark detection buoy” by its developers. The project is a collaboration between Australian telecommunications company Optus and marine safety company Shark Attack Mitigation Systems.

The buoy design is high tech but easily comprehensible. It is anchored to the seafloor near popular beaches and uses sonar to scan the water. When an object with the sonar signature of a large shark is detected, the buoy automatically sends a warning via satellite that is then received by lifeguards on their smartphones.

While still in the research and development phase, Clever Buoy could eliminate or reduce the need for shark nets in areas with high concentrations of potentially dangerous sharks.

It may be years before this design becomes a reality, but the idea could have an inanimate object warning “Shark!” far before swimmers are at risk. —Sean McCoy

Sean McCoy

Editor-in-Chief Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.