Cape Cod May Use Balloons to Detect Sharks

Weather balloon | Photo by Hannes Grobe, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany, via Wikimedia Commons

Cape Cod officials are considering the use of high-tech balloons equipped with cameras to help detect sharks near beaches, according to an article on

Its new technology, streaming HD video and thermal imagery, wedded to one of the oldest uses for balloons, harkening back to 18th-century battlefield reconnaissance: surveillance.

With sharks hunting seals close to shore and swimmers, beach managers have been looking for effective methods of detection. Officials have long believed a visual detection system would work best, but the Cape doesn’t have high hills or cliffs to use as vantage points. The spotter plane used for shark tagging is expensive and only flies over a beach for a short period of time, while drones have limited battery life, can be noisy, and need almost perfect weather conditions to fly.

Read about Cape Cod officials considering the use of balloons to detect sharks.