Shark Week is on the horizon, which means that if you watch a lot of Discovery Channel, you might be too nervous to go in the water from Aug. 10 onward.
Thankfully, there’s now a new shark-repelling wetsuit to assuage the fears of scaredy-cats and hardcore water sports enthusiasts alike, PSFK reports.
The suits, developed by the Oceans Institute at the University of Western Australia, feature patterns that make surfers or divers look less like seals. For some reason, the most popular colors for wetsuits have been black or navy blue (with a brief neon interlude in the ’80s) since time immemorial. This is highly inconvenient because, while slimming, a black wetsuit can make a surfer look an awful lot like a shark’s favorite meal: a seal.
The shark-proof wetsuits, though, are designed to either confuse or divert sharks rather than enticing them with apparent promises of blubbery seal flesh. The Elude model is designed to look like water. The Diverter has a Beetlejuice-esque black-and-white-striped pattern loud enough to make even the tackiest shark turn around.
The solution — putting different patterns on a wetsuit — sounds pretty simple and you might be wondering why nobody has ever tried this before in the history of sharks attacking people in wetsuits. But apparently, there’s some technology behind these designs and it’s “quite sophisticated,” PSFK reports. The researchers used scientific data about sharks’ vision to develop the best possible patterns.
The designers note that nothing is actually shark-proof; swimmers or surfers should exit the water as soon as they see a shark, no matter what they’re wearing.
Now, watch this video about the shark-deterrent suits. It’s like a Shark Week pregame.