Shark Spotting Blimp Takes to the Skies

Despite the fact that you are more likely to be killed by a cow than you are a shark, the simple blood curdling fear that boils to the surface when someone is unlucky enough to be bitten has spawned all manner of preventative measures.

From culls to nets and choppers to trackers, humankind has come up with hundreds of ways to protect ourselves from an early watery grave.

The latest in a long line of ideas is the Aerial Inflatable Remote Shark Human Interaction Prevention blimp – or Project AIRSHIP to me and you.

The relatively small blimp, which comes in at five-metres long and can withstand winds of up to 30 kilometres per hour, will send live images via a camera fitted to a lifeguard-monitored laptop on the beach.

There have been 16 shark attacks and two fatalities in Australia in 2016 to date

The airship will be flown at a height of 120 metres providing an overhead view and video feed that will keep watch over swimmers, monitor water currents and keep an eye out for sharks.

The blimp is the brainchild of lifeguard and marine biology student, Kye Adams.

“The camera on Project AIRSHIP has a battery life of more than eight hours. That’s a lot of continuous video coverage compared to a manually operated aerial drone that can only operate between 20 minutes and two hours.” Kye said about the project

There have been 16 shark attacks and two fatalities in Australia in 2016 to date. The major advantage of the blimp is that it is mobile and can be easily moved to other coastal locations, keeping the observation costs relatively low compared to using a helicopter or drone.

“If the blimp can improve safety to beach goers at a minimal cost then everyone wins.” Kye said.

The first proper trial will begin this December and run until February.


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