Wireless Buoys Warn Lifeguards of Approaching Sharks

The non-invasive sonar system is safe for wildlife and could eliminate harmful nets that currently safeguard Australia’s shores.
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The non-invasive sonar system is safe for wildlife and could eliminate harmful nets that currently safeguard Australia’s shores.

Buoys in Australia are about to do more than warn swimmers they’ve swum too far from shore; they’re also going to notify lifeguards of approaching sharks.

Equipped with an internal sonar system, the aptly named Clever Buoy takes images of the surrounding waters by using sound and echoes until it identifies the presence of a shark that’s over 6 and a half feet in length, according to PSFK. Once a shark is confirmed, the buoy sends a wireless signal to lifeguards to evacuate swimmers. It also can send alerts to the general public who may be near the surrounding area through Optus Network, the Australian mobile telecommunications company, as well as Google+.

The buoy has been successfully tested at the Sydney Aquarium and the Abrolhos Islands in Western Australia, the Clever Buoy site says, and is able to differentiate between sharks and other sea life due to sharks’ distinct swimming patterns as well as their sizes and shapes.

Shark Mitigation Systems — the team behind the Clever Buoy — maintain that their shark-detecting system is not harmful to marine life and that it provides a non-invasive solution for keeping both beach goers and wildlife safe. Currently, Australia uses nets to control potential shark encounters, which has been known to trap all types of marine life that swim too close to shore, including dolphins and whales. The Clever Buoy developers also say they eventually hope to make a solar-powered version of the buoy, allowing it to become energy self-sufficient as well as maintenance-free.

Learn more about Clever Buoy at its website and in the video below:

Top photo courtesy of Clever Buoy/Fuel Communications