Painting "Not a Seal" on Bottom of Boat in Great White Language

I have a white craft and it looks just a seal or dolphin with a light underbelly. Is there any authoritative information on patterns to paint in the bottom of boat that make it clear to a shark that the boat is not prey.

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Authoritative - not yet. Lots of theories, but no one knows for sure.

One I have heard that sounds interesting was to paint zebra stripes to make it look like a poisonous sea snake.

This topic got me curious! I’m a huge shark lover but I don’t often get the pleasure of paddling in the ocean, being landlocked where I live. Anyway, I found this old article that seems to indicate colors don’t matter. Even a zebra stripe painted boat was attacked.

Certainly anecdotal, but my experience with sharks (not GW):
Almost none.
I owned one particular kayak for a couple years.
Got bit on 2 separate occasions and ‘pounced’ upon once (jumped on foredeck, bounced twice - cracked deck on each side)
The kayak had a ‘fish scaly’ looking carbon hull.
I have other black carbon kayaks, with many more ocean miles than the above mentioned, with no bites.


Are sharks drawn to motion more than color?
The motion of a paddle may resemble flippers.

I think the problem with the attempted methods is that sharks have small brains and act mostly on instinct.
The noise of the paddling can certainly get their interest, then you are stuck with the basic outline of the boat. Typically about 18 foot long and 19 to 24 inches wide. When viewed from below it is basically a dark shape on the surface. A shape that really doesn’t look much like a seal or anything else.
Once you have their attention, I think it’s a matter of how curious are they about this unidentified object that may or may not be food.

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Zebra Stripes were popular about 10 years ago. I bought an PS composites Aquarius surf kayak from a guy who lives near Santa Cruz and he had zebra stripes painted on the bottom. I’m not sure how closely related leopard sharks are to dangerous species but I used to have lots of leopard sharks surfing alongside and underneath me when I surfed that boat. I also had a large shark that I think was a Mako checking me out once. I sold that kayak to a guy in the Boston area via another kayaking friend. I’ve never heard of a surf kayak being attacked there so who knows.

I would say your experience with sharks ranks more on the statistical high side than none…lol.

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The theory is that if you look like a seal you are interesting as a meal
for a great white
Weve had shark attacks by GW and the advisory is not to look like a seal (harbor and gray)
What the sharks actually think: who knows?
I will stick with white bottom


Just a thought

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Just paint “Not a Seal” in big contrasting letters. That will throw them for a loop. Might work as well as anything else lol.

I read somewhere that in the Pacific Northwest some paddlers were painting the bottoms of their boats to look like Killer Whales. Not sure if that works.

Maybe for avoidance of those rude shark attacks
paint your hull in wild concept of a stoned Peter Max.
Any seal-slashin’ porker rising up to your ship
would burn out both its corneas on induced acid trip.

But perhaps you not wish such bombastic expression,
of neon factory nightmare smothers squalus transgression.
Flossy-Tooth Breakup cammo to sharks can prove scary,
in Electric Green Discharge shorting Lorenzini’s ampulleri.

Something tells me this is a non issue in reality.

here is some vintage GW video…older but alot more genuine than anything I have seen in the pasr decade. Somewhere near the end of the video they mention that they believe sharks have a preference for warm light colors.

Other people claim sharks are color blind so that anything with high contrast draws their attention.

When I tie flies I use a lot of flash to get fish’s attention. I believe all fish are colorblind.

No experience with Great Whites, mostly black-tips and nurse sharks. Used to fish in a light grey, almost white, Cobra Eliminator. Had two big black tips chase a school of mullet under to boat for a feeding frenzy. They didn’t mess with the boat.

Passed over a few others and they didn’t pay attention. It is probably something, like how, or what kind of, fish are acting. In other words dumb luck. Boat color won’t make much of a difference.

By the way folks, you may have missed the news story, but it is now not woke to use the term “Shark Attack” The correct term is “negative shark interactions” You do not want sharks to have low self esteem, no do ya? This is not a joke.

You might try a checkerboard.
There are prey animals with stripes.
Sharks are attracted to electrical currents. Don’t know if that’s much help.
Maybe it’s the type of paint, rather that the color or pattern.
Or the hull material. Carbon fiber conducts electricity, fiberglass and plastic don’t.

In the scuba diving community there is thought that bright coloors will attract sharks.

Hence safety yellow is usually renamed yum-yum yellow. :roll_eyes:

My dive gear is pretty much all blue and black and while I’ve seen plenty of sharks the only one I ever saw take any interest at all was a fairly large bull shark. But he just took a look and then went on his way.

Yes but as a diver myself I have been taught that a standard wetsuit is a seal costume and one should spread all limbs to say “Not a seal”