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Thursday, July 23, 2015

What Does A Shark Team Do On A Marathon Swim?

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Grant Wentworth will take off tomorrow morning on a 24-mile swim across the Nantucket Sound. There is a possibility that he will encounter sharks during his 39 km crossing from Cape Cod to Nantucket in the state of Massachusetts.

But under the guidance of escort pilot John Boreland and renowned coach and channel swimmer Chloë McCardel, he is well-prepared to deal with the unexpected.

He will be protected by an experienced shark team willing to serve as bodyguards in any shark encounter and will be surrounded by an array of Shark Shields and shark repellent.

Wentworth's shark team includes Andy Olday, Blake Knowles and Chris Jankins. The trio will use non-lethal and harmless methods of deterrence in order to prevent a close encounters with sharks.

Olday explained about minimizing the risk of a shark encounter with a marathon swimmer. "There will be a time-release Semio-Chemical shark repellent submersed 3-4 feet below the surface of the water and deployed from the lead vessel. Flanking kayaks will be provided throughout the duration of the swim. Multiple Electro-Magnetic Freedom 7 Shark Shields will also be submerged and strategically placed throughout to deter curious sharks.

In the event a shark is sighted, a minimum of two safety divers will be deployed into the water from the lead vessel to shield the swimmer until any threat passes. Safety divers are equipment with 3-5 feet non-lethal PVC prodding poles and defensively armed with magnetically charged SharkBanz. In addition, non-harmful pressurized canisters of repellent can be deployed in the general location to the swimmer if necessary as Grant will be alerted to all shark encounters.

If a shark or any other marine creature displays aggressive or overly curious behavior that threatens injury, Grant will be advised to exit the water immediately by the safety team

Paul McQueeney noted, "If an encounter occurs, this will be noted on the observers report. Additionally, the divers are not allowed to intentionally touch the swimmer and the swimmer will tread water during the time the safety divers are in the water. This will be noted on the observer report."

For more information on Wentworth's swim, visit here. For GPS tracking, visit here.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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