Sharkbanz: A simple shark deterrent you can wear
Sharkbanz was born when father and son duo, David and Nathan Garrison, felt there needed to be a shark repellent product available on the market. Longtime surfers and watermen themselves, they’d spent years surfing and exploring murky waters with a fear of a potential shark attack. They set out to create a product that would offer peace of mind to ocean goers for generations to come.
Their mission was simple: to develop simple, effective and affordable strategies to reduce the risk of a shark bite providing peace of mind and protection to every beachgoer, swimmer and surfer around the world while also promoting marine conservation and education.
After three years of experimentation, designing, and testing their product, they launched their first prototype on January 1, 2015. Since their first model, they have continued to make improvements to their design and their overall effectiveness and usability. So far, the response has been a positive one.
So how does it work?
Sharkbanz uses a magnetic technology that is backed by over a decade’s worth of research and testing. Sharks have the strongest electroreceptors in the animal kingdom and use them to detect fish and other prey in their vicinity. Sharkbanz utilize powerful permanent magnets to disrupt this electromagnetic field and deter sharks.
According to the marine biologists at Sharkbanz, “when sharks approach Sharkbanz, they detect the device’s strong electromagnetic field, which provides a sudden sensation that is thousands of times stronger than the signal produced by anything in a shark’s normal food chain. Consequently, sharks are deterred away from Sharkbanz. This cause and effect is analogous to having a bright light suddenly shined in your eyes in a dark room. You would not be hurt, but you would want to turn away.”
Sharkbanz has undergone numerous tests, using a baited dummy as their test subject. Videos are available on their website and the results are impressive. While wearing Sharkbanz, sharks approached the dummy and then quickly turned away. After removing Sharkbanz from the same dummy, sharks attacked the baited foot within minutes.
Christopher Fennel, a longtime SUP paddler out of Huntington Beach, California attests to the effectiveness of the product: “I have been using Sharkbanz for about a year. I have seen three sharks since. Two days ago [April, 2017] at Huntington Beach a shark came very close to me [but] then ripped a sharp turn away from me, causing a tail splash in the water. With all of the recent shark sightings, catches, and attacks in my local breaks over the past week, I can rest assured as I have the new SharkBanz 2 on my ankle.”
To test it out, I obviously wasn’t going to dive headfirst into a tank full of sharks (nor do we recommend you do this). But I did spend a good amount of time surfing, swimming, and paddling while wearing either my Sharkbanz band or leash. Odds are I wouldn’t have been attacked even if I hadn’t been wearing my Sharkbanz, but having that added security and peace of mind made my session significantly more enjoyable.
Sharkbanz don’t require batteries, meaning they are always on and you never have to charge them, which is rad for a forgetful person like me. The band is rather bulky (slightly larger than a watch), so it takes some getting used to. I prefer the leash for surfing because it doesn’t feel much different from a traditional surf leash. The leash only comes in a 6 ft. length, but is easy to swap out with other leashes.
Unfortunately, Sharkbanz are not highly effective on Great Whites due to their ambush attack style. They can reduce the risk of attack, but cannot prevent it. However, they have proven to be effective on numerous other predatory shark species.
All in all, I am a fan of this product. It’s affordable, I trust the science behind it, and it’s easy to use. Odds of being attacked by a shark are slim to none, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
*Sharks are wild animals and should be regarded as such. Don’t entice or provoke sharks and do not intentionally swim with sharks to test the product. Sharkbanz is a safety device that can reduce the risk of harm, but cannot prevent it. Be smart and stay safe.