Crowdfunding Campaign for Shark Detection Pilot Changes Course

WELLFLEET – A fundraising effort by an Outer Cape organization to test a Clever Buoy shark detection system this summer came up short of its goal.

Cape Cod Ocean Community conducted a GoFundMe campaign to pay for two buoys that use sonar technology to detect shark movements and alert beachgoers and lifeguards to the presence of sharks.

The buoys which are connected to a sonar device on the ocean floor have about a 125-foot radius for detection capabilities.

The funds would be used to rent, install, monitor and remove the two Clever Buoys.

The money would also cover costs for two Smart Marine Systems employees stay on Cape Cod to monitor the system.

The crowdfunding effort fell well short of its $200,000 goal and Wellfleet resident and campaign organizer Heather Doyle says the $36,000 raised will be returned.

“It was pretty clear to us that 2019 was probably not going to be the year that we have a Clever Buoy pilot,” Doyle said.

“And with the utmost transparency and care we did not want to redirect any of that money without explicit permission from every single person.”

Doyle said they want to make it clear to the public and previous donors about what the direction of the organization will be when it comes to pursuing surveillance and detection strategies.

“We did have a phone call to let them know personally and that was very helpful, and we heard a tremendous response,” Doyle said.

“Everybody said please keep moving faster and I’ll redirect the money as soon as you have the website up.”

The organization has launched a website at

Doyle said the organization has transitioned to surveillance and detection systems and methods.

“We think 2019 is probably going to be a summer where people need to learn how to protect themselves for those people who are going to choose to go back into the water,” Doyle said.

“We are sharing all kinds of knowledge and blogging and community share about what people are picking up for their personal detection on their boards, ankles, or bracelets.”

Doyle said the website will be a good place for the community to share information.

The organization will continue to raise funds.

“We have a very aggressive campaign right now to kind of recover where we kicked off,” Doyle said.

A fundraising event is Saturday, April 20 at 6:30 at the Well Tavern in Wellfleet.

Another fundraising event is being planned for the fall.

“We know that there is definitely a need to pilot these little programs,” Doyle said. “The towns are very uncomfortable to spend taxpayer money just to vet things out and then implement wide deployments that are even more expensive.”

Doyle believes a private entity can move things forward more quickly.

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