Are Sharks Scared Away by Boat Motors? (The Truth!)

Sharks are intimidating, but they shouldn’t keep you from enjoying your time in or on the water. Instead, it would be best to understand them, so you know what attracts them and what’ll drive them away. For example, take boat motors: Can their rotating wheels and whirring sound scare sharks?

Sharks aren’t scared away by boat motors. On the contrary, a boat motor’s electrical impulses may attract them. Sharks are susceptible to electrical impulses, as these help them track their prey’s muscular contractions.

Read on to learn more about why boat motors won’t scare sharks away. This article will also discuss everything you need to know about boating in shark territory, including how to stay safe and what’ll work to deter sharks.

Are Sharks Scared Away by Boat Motors? (The Facts)

Why Boat Motors Don’t Scare Sharks Away

Sharks aren’t scared of loud noises. If anything, they’re more likely to be curious about a boat motor. Most sharks don’t have natural predators, so they aren’t usually wary of big, loud presences in the ocean. Instead, a boat motor’s sound may entice them to come closer to investigate the noise or even attack the boat.

Will Sharks Attack a Motorized Boat?

Sharks have a reputation for attacking boats, mistaking them for prey that emits electrical impulses. But will they attack a vessel that’s making considerable noise? After all, sharks are sensitive creatures, and they may find the noise from boat motors aggravating enough to attack them.

Sharks will attack a motorized boat. Boat motors give off electrical impulses that attract sharks. Sharks use electrical impulses to track their prey’s muscle movements, and the pulses of a motor resemble the pulses of muscular contractions.

Sharks can detect these electrical impulses thanks to jelly-filled pores at the end of their noses. The jelly in their pores lets them track prey with deadly precision, even if their target is several miles away.

Here's Why Boat Motors Don't Scare Sharks Away.

How To Stay Safe From Sharks on Your Boat

Shark attacks are relatively rare, but it’s still good to know what to do in case you encounter a particularly aggressive shark while you’re boating. After all, a shark’s sharp teeth aren’t just for show (though the Jaws films exaggerate the danger a bit). That way, you’ll stay safe even if the worst-case scenario unfolds.

Avoid Shark-Filled Areas While Boating

One of the best ways to avoid shark attacks is by researching where sharks are most active. Typically, these are areas close to sandbars and steep drop-offs, although they also go to places with sewage, bait fishes, and seabirds. If you see sharks, retreat to a more populated area as soon as possible.

Boat During the Day

Sharks are most active during the night, dusk, and dawn, so going out during the midday and afternoon ensures that you’ll miss their hunting hours. Doing this will also give you the advantage of seeing them better when their distinctive streamlined forms appear in the water.

Swim Safely

If you want to leave your boat to swim, make sure you swim in a group and avoid going into the water if you have any open wounds. Sharks are more likely to attack lone swimmers and will more likely mistake swimmers for prey if they smell blood. Also, avoid entering the water wearing shiny jewelry, as this can look like fish’s scales to a shark’s eyes.

How To Stay Safe From Sharks on Your Boat

Use The Boat’s Radio in a Shark-Related Accident

Having a radio or other communication devices on hand is critical in an attack. Doing this is crucial if a shark damages your boat and leaves you stranded or if the shark attacks you, leaves you wounded, and forces you to dial emergency services. 

The Zoleo Satellite Communicator (available on is an excellent example of a two-way satellite communicator that functions off-the-grid, so you won’t get stranded even if you’ve drifted away from civilization. Keep this device charged and connected to a working phone plan, so you’re ready whenever you need it.

Keep Shark Repellent on The Boat

Fortunately, there are multiple ways to repel sharks, which I’ll discuss in more detail below. The two basic types are smell-based repellents and electromagnetic repellents. Both are available for those headed out to sea who want to be safe from sharks.

What Can You Do To Scare a Shark Away?

To scare a shark away, use foreign noises. However, be aware that some noises may pique the shark’s curiosity more than scare them. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. A curious shark is typically calmer and less aggressive. You can also use smell-based or electromagnetic repellents.

Sound-Based Shark Repellents

Interestingly, although loud boat motors won’t typically deter sharks, the bubbling of a scuba diver’s breathing might. Sharks dislike the sound of bubbling and may associate it with unpleasant encounters. Additionally, playing music may pique a shark’s curiosity and dampen aggressive impulses, although it won’t necessarily scare the shark away.

Arguably, the most effective way to deter sharks is investing in synthetic shark repellents, whether smell-based or electromagnetic.

Smell-Based Shark Repellents

Sharks flee from the smell of rotting shark carcasses, which they associate with danger. Because of this, scientists have developed artificial shark repellent scents made from the same chemicals found in dead sharks, which you can use to keep sharks away from your boat.

Electromagnetic Shark Repellents

Another strategy for repelling sharks is to use their electromagnetic sensitivity against them. Some surfers, swimmers, and boaters wear magnetic shark repellent bands like the Sharkbanz 2 Shark Repellent (available on This band overwhelms the shark’s receptors and causes an unpleasant sensation, deterring them and decreasing the likelihood of an attack.

A shark attacking a boat isn’t just the stuff of Hollywood movies. Watch this Great White shark attack a rubber boat full of tourists.


Sharks aren’t scared away by boat motors. They may, in fact, be attracted to boat motors and even mistake them for prey.

To stay safe from sharks while boating, make sure you go out during the day when the sharks are less active and consider investing in shark repellents if you’re planning to spend time in shark-infested waters.

The most effective shark repellents are smell-based and electromagnetic repellers. However, you can also use foreign noises to confuse a shark and make it less aggressive. The best thing you can do to keep sharks away is to avoid them in the first place.

WaterCraft 101

We're a small group of water loving enthusiasts who enjoy sharing our passion for getting out on the water and having a good ol' time!

Recent Posts