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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Shark Shields In The Rottnest Channel Swim

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Earlier in the week, the Daily News of Open Water Swimming posted a review of the use of electronic shark shields in various open water swimming venues and channels around the world (see here).

Stacey Herbertson, Executive Officer and Event Manager at Rottnest Channel Swim Association in Perth, Australia, explains about its use in the 19.7 km roughwater ocean classic, "In the lead up to Rottnest Channel Swim this year, we didn’t receive any enquiries from our 2,300 swimmers as to whether or not they could wear shark deterrent units.

However, we did receive a request from a dive shop in Perth that asked us to let swimmers know they were available as they had a unit available for purchase that could strap to the ankle and did not have a trailing whip like others

We did advise swimmers these were available and essentially we would allow them to be worn as we viewed them as constituting a similar device as the timing strap our swimmers wear around their ankle anyway. We did specifically mention that the Rottnest Channel Swim Association had no opportunity to examine the product and had no view about its effectiveness or value and were bringing this device to their attention simply as a service to swimmers."

The event went off as planned, although they did have a few shark sightings throughout the day, mostly hammerhead sharks.

Herbertson explains what the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Organisation will do in the future regarding the shark deterrents, "We will be looking at the matter closely in the lead up to the next event on February 23rd in 2013 to formally decide what our position is on these devices. We will look to see what other open water swimming bodies allow, particularly here in Australia where recent events in our waters have raised great concern among the community. We know that enquiries regarding the use of these devices will increase. Other sporting bodies such as triathlon are already experiencing the effects of this and are forced to closely review the use of these devices in their upcoming events here in Western Australia."

For more information about the decisions and rules on these types of shark deterrents around the world, read here.

Copyright © 2012 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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