SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A new high-tech system aimed at preventing future shark attacks is being tested off the Southern California coast.
On Wednesday, in Newport Beach, a special buoy using high-tech sonar was launched for a 60-day trial, and if it works the way it’s supposed to, it could be a game-changer in ocean safety.
Smart Marine Systems’ Clever Buoy creates a virtual net in the water, using multi-beam sonar technology to create 3-D imagery of what’s below the surface.
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"You can't see through it, and you can't see under it, so this is just another tool that gives people eyes under the water, they've never had before,” said Craig Anderson, founder of Australia-based company Smart Marine Systems.
Anderson added, "It will provide information about that animal, it's size, it's location and the direction it's headed."
Clever Buoy also analyzes an animal’s swim pattern, which is how the system knows if a shark is close. The system then sends an alert to lifeguards so they can verify it, warn swimmers or even close a beach.
Newport Beach Fire Department Chief Lifeguard Brent Jacobsen said, “Provide warnings to swimmers before the shark and then share the same proximity, so it really speeds up the process a lot."
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The Clever Buoy test comes just weeks after 13-year-old Keane Hayes was attacked by a great white shark in Encinitas. The boy was lobster diving off Beacon’s Beach when the shark bit him on his arm, back, shoulder and face.
Maria Korcsmaros, who survived a shark attack in Corona Del Mar in 2017, thinks the new buoys could help prevent any future tragedies.
"Knowledge to say, OK, something's out there, what is it and if it's a shark, let's be prudent, let's be proactive and let's keep people safe,” she said.
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The Clever Buoy also records weather and weather temperature data.