An Ocean Without Sharks

Patent title: Protective Swimsuit Incorporating an Electrical Wiring System

Patent number: US 20030233694 A1

Patent filing date: June 25, 2002

Patent issue date: December 25, 2003

How long it took for this patent to issue: 1.5 years

Inventor(s): Wescombe-Down, Michael

Assignee (if applicable): Wescombe-Down, Michael

U.S. classification: 2/2.15, 405/185, 405/186

How many claims: 10

 

Have you ever wanted to learn how to surf? What is the biggest thing that stops you from going out and getting a lesson? For most people, it is the fear of what animals might be lurking in the water below. Surfing can be one of the most beneficial exercises and unlike most workouts, its actually incredibly fun. Constantly paddling and swimming provides a great cardio workout, as well as strengthens your back and shoulder muscles. Standing up and balancing on the board then strengthens leg and core muscles as you get to enjoy riding the wave. This constant fear of sharks and other animals prevents so many people from gaining the benefits from this extraordinary exercise. However, this fear no longer needs to exist. Michael Wescombe-Down has patented a unique swimsuit that incorporates two electrodes connected to an electromagnetic field generator that allows for an electromagnetic field to be created around the user. This field in turn will prevent any aquatic creatures from entering close proximity to the wearer.

The suit’s power is supplied by a releasable electromagnetic field generator that is located near the waist region and has a status indicator visible to the user. This generator is connected to the two electrodes via two electrically conductive wires that run through the material of the suit. The wires are also releasable from the generator so that in case of emergency, the generator can be fully removed. Due to the conductivity of the sea water and the ions within, an electromagnetic current is able to be established between the electrodes. This current is then able to spread outward into a field through the conductive salt water. This electromagnetic field then works to repel sharks because of a special organ that sharks possess, Ampullae of Lorenzini. These are electroreceptors that are found in sharks and rays and so their sensors will be overstimulated and will deter them away from the source.

 

Figure 1: Depiction of the design of the suit (10) with the location of the generator (18) connected to the electrodes at each ankle (12, 14) by conductive wires (16).

Prior to this electromagnetic repellent technology there were two major strategies for avoiding sharks. One incorporated using stickers that slowly released a repellent substance as the water moved against the surface of it. The trouble with these was that the repellent was limited and a new sticker is required for every new trip into the water. The other strategy was using swim suits made of metal chain. These were more often only used for diving though rather than surfing so that the weight of the metal could be countered with the diving equipment. However, this technology is not really a repellent and more of just a protection against teeth if the sharks do bite. This was the first technology that was able to incorporate an electromagnetic repellent system into an average wetsuit that could be used for surfing as well as diving.

This swimsuit is perfect for people who have always been interested in surfing but have never tried because of their fears. It is also great for professional surfers who travel the world for great surfing locations that can be notorious for their shark populations. Even those who surf regularly for leisure would benefit from this device as it would just provide an extra piece of mind for anyone sitting out on their board with their legs dangling below the surface.

Personally, as a surfer, this suit has gripped me full attention. I have always been interested in shark repellent technologies and now there is one that is so attainable. When I surf with friends and I am able to converse the thought of animals below me completely escapes my mind. However, when I go alone or if I drift out farther than anyone and then realize I immediately get terrified and lift my limbs out of the water while paddling as fast as I can back to shore. Sitting on a board in the waves can be one of the most relaxing and peaceful experiences, but once the thought of sharks enters my mind it’s ruined. A wetsuit like this would be amazing for me as it would just allow me to sit out in the water alone, relax, and not have any fears tumbling through my mind.

 

To learn more about this patent click here.

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3 thoughts on “An Ocean Without Sharks

  1. I honestly started reading your blog because of your title, I love the ocean and any type of water activity but I’m always hold back by the idea of not knowing what kind of animals/sharks might be underneath me that I can’t see. I think it’s a very cool invention. I wonder how much it costs, couldn’t find any prices online

  2. From what I understand, this patent was the first of its kind to use electromagnetic technology in a type of shark repellent. But as you can see the patent is about 15 years old now. I also have been looking into it and thinking about getting it for myself for the summer. The technology has been improved upon and this suit seems to have been on the market a while ago but has since been replaced with smaller devices that incorporate similar technology. I have found electromagnetic cords that can be used as surfboard leashes and there are also ankle bands that produce the current. The prices range from around 60-600 dollars depending on the distance of the field and how effective the device is. I hope there is something out there in your price range that can help you get into the ocean more.

  3. From what I understand, this patent was the first of its kind to use electromagnetic technology in a type of shark repellent. But as you can see the patent is about 15 years old now. I also have been looking into it and thinking about getting it for myself for the summer. The technology has been improved upon and this suit seems to have been on the market a while ago but has since been replaced with smaller devices that incorporate similar technology. I have found electromagnetic cords that can be used as surfboard leashes and there are also ankle bands that produce the current. The prices range from around 60-600 dollars depending on the distance of the field and how effective the device is. I hope there is something out there in your price range that can help you get into the ocean more.

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