Instant shark sighting information to be available on phones

THE brains behind a new shark alert app says the ultimate measure of success would be for it to one day save a life.

Surfer Allan Bennetto said the premise behind the Dorsal app was to crowd-source information about shark sightings and make it instantly available.

That way, beachgoers could have access to all the available information and make informed decisions.

He said the platform allowed people to publish, receive and customise information about shark sightings instantly.

Users can get automatic alerts on their phones or go to the app or website and check sightings.

"You can set it up anyway you want," he said.

"You can get no alerts. You can get every single alert or you can set it to just alert you within a 50km radius of GPS location.

"You can also choose your favourite beach and you'll only get alerts sent to your phone for those breaks."

Mr Bennetto said he designed the app as a "love project" that was born from news of shark attacks, particularly in the Ballina and Byron shires, where he has holidayed and surfed.

He said the story of the Tasmania diver killed in front of his daughter "really hit home" as the shark had been spotted the day before but the diver was unaware.

As well as public warnings, the Dorsal app also features the latest sightings and alerts from authorities.

It can be viewed as a list or as a map with location and time options, and report details can include location, time, type of shark, length, distance from shore, conditions and photos.

Mr Bennetto said he and his team had been working on the Dorsal project for three months.

The app was launched last month and is currently live on iPhones and will be available on Android platforms soon.

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