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Drone video: Great white shark swims within inches of surfers

A drone has captured a great white shark swimming within inches of surfers paddling through the water in South Africa. Luckily no one was injured by the shark who was just investigating the surfers, according to Sarah Waries from the City of Cape Town (CoCT) Shark Spotters program.

The shark was spotted by drone in Plettenberg Bay in South Africa’s Western Cape Province on Tuesday. The video sent out a warning to many around the area to be extra cautious when in the water, especially those venturing out a little further.

Waries shared that the shark was aware of the surfers above and was just checking them out due to their inquisitive nature. Waries added that shark bites are rare, but people must understand the risk of being in the water with an Apex predator.

Shark sightings have increased over the last few weeks around South Africa’s Western Cape Province with authorities asking surfers to get out of the water at Robberg, Plettenberg Bay on Sunday, at Boneyards, Jeffreys Bay on Monday, and again at Robberg, Plettenberg Bay on Tuesday.

The City of Cape Town (CoCT) Shark Spotters have shared the following advice for those heading to the beach.

  • Do not swim, surf, or surf-ski when birds, dolphins or seals are feeding nearby
  • Do not swim, surf, or surf-ski where fishing or spear fishing is taking place
  • Do not swim in deep water beyond the breakers
  • Do not swim if you are bleeding
  • Do not swim near river mouths
  • Do not swim, surf, or surf-ski alone
  • Do not swim, surf, or surf-ski at night
  • Do not swim, surf, or surf-ski if there has been a whale stranded nearby
  • Obey beach officials and lifeguards if told to leave the water
  • If a shark has recently been sighted in an area, consider using another beach for the day
  • First-time visitors to beach areas should ask the local law enforcement official, lifeguards, or locals about the area
  • For those people kayaking or surf-skiing far out to the sea: Please consider paddling in groups and staying close together (in a diamond formation)
  • Consider using a personal shark shield when you go surfing or kayaking
  • Pay attention to any shark signage on beaches

Sharks and drones

Drones are being used by Australian lifeguards to monitor and track sharks swimming in and around popular beaches. The drone known as the Little Ripper uses AI to detect sharks, alerting lifeguards, emergency services, and swimmers. The shark-spotting drone has a 90% accuracy rate, while current manned aircraft have accuracy rates of around 20%, making drones an obvious replacement.

It’s not the first time a drone has spotted a shark, and it is becoming apparent that a drone might be something added to the arsenal of lifeguards around the world to make the oceans safer.

Photo: NSRI



Avatar for Josh Spires Josh Spires

Josh started in the drone community in 2012 with a drone news Twitter account. Over the years Josh has gained mass exposure from his aerial photography work and spends his days writing drone content for DroneDJ as well as pursuing his business.