So, you took the plunge, bought your dream beach house, and now can’t wait to have brunch by the water this summer. But the sharks in the ocean haunt your mind more than you’d like to admit. While these creatures are known as heartless predators on the hunt for human blood (thanks, Jaws), you may wonder how beach houses keep sharks away.
Various techniques are employed to keep sharks away from beach houses and keep people safe. They include extracting sharks by different fishing methods like sharks nets, separating people and sharks using shark barriers, observation, education, and various technology-based solutions.
It’s hard to relax when you know these predators lurk in the water, just waiting for their next human snack. But don’t worry – this article informs you how beach houses keep sharks away. Spoiler alert: it’s not with a big stick!
Do Beach Houses Keep Sharks Away?
Beach houses do not keep sharks away, but an increase in beach houses in a region will increase beach use. This will prompt authorities to institute measures on the beaches to keep sharks away from swimmers, surfers, or people using the beach. So, how do beach officials minimize the chances of people encountering sharks?
Most authorities focus on shark mitigation strategies, which you can broadly group into four categories:
- Extracting sharks by different fishing methods
- Separating people and sharks
- Various technology-based solutions
Extracting Sharks To Keep Them Away From The Beaches
One of the primary ways to keep sharks away from populated areas is to harvest them before they have an opportunity to get close to shore. Most people accomplish this by using different fishing methods like;
Shark Nets To Protect You From Sharks
Shark nets are fishing nets placed around beaches to reduce the number of sharks close to shore. Gillnets are the most commonly used shark nets, consisting of a wall of netting that hangs in the water and entangles the targeted shark.
The nets may be as long as 610 ft (186 meters), set at a depth of 20 feet (6 meters), have a mesh size of 500 millimeters, and are designed to catch sharks bigger than 6.6 feet (2 meters).
There are no guarantees that shark nets will provide complete protection; on the contrary, the principle of “fewer sharks, fewer attacks” applies. A problem with shark nets is that they cause bycatch, including threatened and endangered species.
Drumlines To Protect Your Beach House From Sharks
Drum lines tend to be aquatic traps that attract and capture large sharks using baited hooks. The primary purpose of drumlines is to reduce the number of sharks present in the area, thereby reducing the risk of shark attacks.
Drumlines are just as effective as shark nets in reducing shark attacks. While shark nets and drum lines have the same purpose, drum lines are more effective when targeting the most dangerous sharks to swimmers: bull sharks, tiger sharks, and great white sharks. However, environmentalists, animal welfare advocates, and ocean advocates have expressed concerns and opposition to drumline programs, which involve culling.
Separating People And Sharks To Prevent Shark Attacks
One of the most common ways to keep sharks away from beach houses is to build shark barriers between the two. “Shark barriers” (also known as “shark-proof enclosures” or “beach enclosures”) are seabed-to-surface barriers placed around a beach to protect people from sharks.
The shark barriers enclose the swimming area and prevent sharks from entering. Shark barriers evolve into advanced netted structures with buoys and anchors surrounding the swimming area, unlike traditional fencing materials. Some modern shark barriers come in plastic to increase their strength and versatility.
As long as shark barriers get deployed in sheltered areas, they will offer complete protection. Most people consider them more environmentally friendly since they avoid bycatch to a large extent. However, barriers are not as effective on surf beaches because they usually disintegrate in the swell, so it’s advisable to use them in sheltered areas like harbor beaches.
Technology-Based Solutions Keep Sharks Away From Beach Houses
The number of shark attacks led to the development and deployment of various technology-based solutions. Some of these solutions include;
Electronic Shark Deterrents
Electronic shark deterrents are a type of technology designed to deter sharks from attacking humans. Shark deterrents function by emitting a small electrical current into the water, which inhibits the ampullae of Lorenzini, the unique sensing organs sharks have in their snout.
Detecting electrical currents from them is possible because they sense tiny electrical currents from their prey, for example, a nearby fish’s heartbeat. Overstimulation causes sensory organs to spasm, making the shark retreat. Do electrical shark deterrents work well in preventing attacks?
- Shark Shield– According to independent studies, Shark Shield is the only electrical repellent on the market that proves to prevent shark bites. However, the electrodes are spread out far apart with the Shark Shield, while anklet devices have electrodes close together, offering less protection because of the trailing cord.
- Surf Safe– There’s also Surf Safe ($389), an electrical device that works somewhat differently from Shark Shield. You must install its electrodes on a surfboard. Surf Safe developers claim it’s tested extensively in-house and has over 1,000 users worldwide, but they are still waiting on independent testing results.
While there is no guarantee that these devices will work in the long run, they are some of the most well-known methods to keep sharks away from beach houses.
Shark Repellants Prevent Shark Attacks
If sharks regularly visit a specific area, it is essential to repel them. You can achieve this by using magnetic shark repellents, electrical repellents (such as Shark Shield), or semiochemical repellents.
One such product is Anti-Shark 100, an aerosol can containing shark tissue extracted from dead sharks. Evidence suggests that it is effective. Magnets may have a similar impact on sharks as electrical fields, stimulate the ampullae of Lorenzini and cause an unpleasant sensation in the snout. It would make the area around the repellent device unappealing to sharks and cause them to avoid it.
Observation Helps In Preventing Shark Attacks
Another way to keep sharks away from beach houses is by observation. Sharks have been tagged worldwide with electronic tags that transmit their location. Acoustic tags emit pulses detected via underwater listening stations when they swim close to shore, typically within 500 meters.
Fin-mounted satellite tags are also common. These tags allow shark movements and behavior to be monitored and studied. On the other hand, observers warn swimmers and surfers about sharks detected near the shore.
Shark spotting is a type of observation in which trained observers look for sharks from elevated positions such as lifeguard towers, cliffs, or helicopters. Observers can use the information to warn swimmers and surfers of sharks in the area. Clear visibility in the water, however, can pose a problem, especially for aerial patrols, which have found they identify fewer than 20% of sharks
Shark attacks get a considerable amount of attention but are very rare. Around the globe, sharks kill six people every year on average. However, prevention is better than cure, and above are several ways to keep sharks away from beach houses. Now you can relax and enjoy that brunch at your beach house!