6 Colors Known to Repel Sharks

Under the waves circle two great white sharks. Illustration
© solarseven/Shutterstock.com

Written by Patrick MacFarland

Published: April 27, 2024

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We’ve all seen the movie Jaws. Interestingly enough, it was first a novel that then got turned into a movie and it catapulted sharks into fame. Now we have the infamous Shark Week that comes out every year. People are afraid of sharks and sometimes, they get a bad rap. The reason why sharks get a bad rap is probably because of tall tales and people’s stories, along with the movies that have made sharks into bad actors. So now, when you swim in the ocean people tell you what colors to wear in the water. What are the colors that attract sharks? What are the colors that sharks don’t like? Let’s take a look at the six colors known to repel sharks.


shark with a diver

Surfers have opted to do away with brightly colored surfboards and instead go for muted colors like blue or black.

©Joost van Uffelen/Shutterstock.com

There have been disputing statements from the community about what colors to wear in the ocean so that sharks will not be attracted to you. The reality of the matter is that sharks see the world in various tones of gray. They sometimes see green and purple. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recommends wearing dull colors because bright colors could attract sharks. But these marine creatures evolved to hunt in more murky waters, black is a great color to ensure sharks don’t spot you from a mile away.


Caribbean Reef Shark swims over a shipwreck

One of the colors sharks are not attracted to much is blue since it’s the color of the ocean.

©Greens and Blues/Shutterstock.com

Blue is the color of the ocean, which means that if you are wearing blue, sharks won’t be attracted to it much. It is already the color of the ocean. Even though scientists have determined that colors don’t sway sharks much, it’s always smart to not attract attention to marine creatures. Scientists state that sharks can spot brighter colors not because of the color but because of the contrast to the color of the ocean. So, wearing blue is smart to ensure you are more camouflaged with the ocean.


Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus) 16 August 2013

Green is the color of plants and other vegetation in the ocean, which means that sharks usually ignore this color more often.

©NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Public domain - Original / License

We see green in the water. Sometimes water is blue and sometimes it’s a more turquoise color. This means that sometimes sharks will see tones of green (as well as tones of purple). Because green is a naturally occurring color in water or in plants in the oceans, sharks May confuse this color with just plants or marine vegetation. If you don’t want to stand out or attract sharks, green is a good color. Green isn’t a color that necessarily repels sharks, but it is one that sharks may not pay attention to.


Banded Hound Shark and Red Stingray Agggregation Sharknado in Clear Blue Ocean Waters of Chiba, Japan

Because gray can be easily camouflaged with the ocean, sharks will not notice this color much.

©Martin Voeller/Shutterstock.com

Another color that you can easily camouflage with when it comes to sharks is gray. sharks see colors and shades of gray, blue, green, and white. This means that sharks won’t see that contrast if you’re wearing gray. It’s not so much that sharks are repelled by the color gray, but it’s more that sharks won’t see much of a difference when roaming around in the water. Sharks also have a sensitivity to light so they can hunt in darker colors. This means that gray won’t stand out. Sharks will most likely ignore this color more often.


Spectacular aerial top view background photo of ocean sea water white wave splashing in the deep sea. Drone photo backdrop of sea wave in bird eye waves.

Because sharks see the world in only a few colors including white, this color is not on sharks’ radars.


White is a tone that sharks see, apart from the grays. Because of that, usually white isn’t a color that sharks are attracted to. It can blend in with the water somewhat and ensure you are more camouflaged. Its brightness does pose a problem, which means that sometimes it may be smart to not wear this type of color. Also, in several studies, lemon sharks have actually been attracted to wet suits that are yellow or white. So keep this in mind when going to the beach and wearing white.


The color brown does not catch sharks’ attention, therefore it is a good color to wear when in the ocean.

©iStock.com/Charlotte Bleijenberg

So far, we have mentioned colors that can camouflage you when you are in the ocean. We have mentioned blue and green, which are all naturally occurring colors in the ocean. Gray and black are darker colors that can easily camouflage, as well. Brown is another color that is dull and does not stand out. Sharks won’t be attracted to this color because it won’t catch sharks’ attention.

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About the Author

Patrick Macfarland is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering travel, geography, and history. Patrick has been writing for more than 10 years. In the past, he has been a teacher and a political candidate. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from SDSU and a Master's Degree in European Union Studies from CIFE. From San Diego, California, Patrick loves to travel and try new recipes to cook.

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