For the first time ever, Cape Cod beaches are receiving real-time alerts when sharks approach.
The new buoy is located off of Newcomb Hollow Beach in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, where a man was killed by a white shark last year.
Any time a tagged shark swims by the buoy, beach managers get an alert, triggering a swimming ban for one hour.
The buoy has been up and running for two weeks.
Suzanne Grout Thomas, a beach official in Wellfleet, says the buoy triggered as many three alerts in one day. She added that the technology has worked “really well” so far, confirming that sharks rarely stay near the beach for more than an hour at a time.
The buoy sits in about 20 feet of water, and was paid for by the state. Two more buoys are expected to be launched at other Cape Cod beaches soon.
Earlier this year, residents on Cape Cod tried to raise money for similar buoys that detect sharks based on sonar. The money raised was later returned to donors, and the effort called off, after it was clear the buoy couldn’t be deployed in time for the summer.
It’s important to remember that while those buoys would detect any shark near the buoys, this buoy just installed only reports tagged animals.
Prior to this point, shark buoys also logged when tagged animals swim by, but that was not done in real-time.