Do Anti-Shark Devices Work?

The mosquito is responsible for an average of 725,000 deaths each year, the freshwater snail, another 10,000. And the shark? About 10. Even so, surfers and beach goers alike fear these underwater predators and look for anti-shark devices to protect themselves.

But, do these shark repellents work?

By the end of this post, you’ll know what works and what doesn’t so you can safely enjoy a day on the water.



If you’re a fan of old Batman movies, you’ve seen this in action and probably thought it was made up for an over-the-top joke in the film. However, the anti-shark spray is a real thing that could help you avoid a shark attack.

The idea is that sharks will stay away from the smell of a dead shark, so these spray cans contain extracts from dead shark tissues. While it could buy you enough time to get to shore, it’s by far the least effective shark repellent on this list.


This type of technology has seen some success in the past when used by fishing vessels. They play the sounds of Orca whales to keep seals away from their catches, though the seals often figured out their predators weren’t around.

If sharks are kept at bay by the sounds of their only natural predator, then this could be a great anti-shark device. However, it has yet to be thoroughly tested and will be useless if the sharks outsmart it like the seals did.


There are a few companies that make these wearable anti-shark devices, and the concept is simple. Sharks can sense electrical and magnetic forces in the water which is how they find their prey. But, when over-stimulated, they’re deterred.

This type of shark repellent has been proven in some tests to be effective against bull and tiger sharks. However, great whites don’t seem to be bothered by them. While there’s certainly some room for improvement, these could certainly help you avoid getting bitten by a shark.


We’ve saved the best for last, but keep in mind that no anti-shark repellent is going to be 100% effective. These work the same way as the magnetic devices, by over-loading a shark’s sensitive noses.

So far, testing has shown that they work well against tiger and great white sharks but didn’t work every time. Even so, if you want to lower your chances of having an encounter with a shark, these are the best option right now.


When considering different anti-shark devices, keep in mind that shark attacks are extremely rare. Although you should always be aware of this potential danger, you also shouldn’t let it ruin your fun.

Here are a few quick tips to help you stay safe out on the water:

  • Go in groups
  • Only surf during the day
  • Avoid murky water
  • Don’t wear shiny objects

For some reason to get into the water, check out our surfing blog! There’s sure to be something there that will get you excited about spending a day at the beach.