The Bionic Barrier



After the success of a shark barrier trialled by Form Designs in 2013/2014, the inventors decided to create a new shark barrier for exposed beachesand surf breaks, as well as sheltered bays. In these high energy beach environments, static structures cannot withstand the constant forces and netting material is also not durable enough. The new barrier design needed to be made of strong and durable materials but also adapt to vertical variation in sea height, such as swell and tidal fluctuations. The trial also revealed a need to accommodate operational issues in the design, including installation, maintenance & repair, cleaning, and extreme weather or community events.


The Bionic Barrier is a durable, hybrid plastic marine swimming enclosure. It is a seabed to surface barrier that forms a fully protected area around a beach swimming location. It is made from interconnected plastic modules and tensioned by a system of floats and anchors. The biggest challenge presented to the design team was to create a static structure that could endure rough conditions at exposed and surf beaches. The most innovative aspect of the Bionic Barrier was spawned from this challenge, as the team created a barrier that could safely hinge to move up and down with the tidal movement. The hinges are mono-directional which ensures that the barrier forms a compact concertina shape and spreads the wave forces over all joint connections. The new connection method of the barrier relies on a sheer force which gives the barrier great mechanical advantage and unrivalled strength. The barrier is extremely durable and is made from a UV stabilized high-impact polymer.

The Bionic Barrier design is unique in its consideration of operational issues that arise. Installation procedures have been improved as the barrier can be delivered pre-assembled and laid-out in the water, reducing operations on the beach. Maintenance procedures have been greatly improved by the frame tie connection method which allows individual frame panels to be easily removed and replaced on-site in a matter of minutes. The barrier material is impregnated with an antibacterial additive which deters fouling build-up and growth, and a unique cleaning method allows the barrier to be cleaned on-site during removal. Another advantage of the Bionic Barrier that in the event of extreme weather conditions, or an important community or surf club even, the floats can be easily removed, allowing the barrier to rest safely at the seabed.

For more information on the barrier design, and to see animations of the barrier’s unique features, please visit the Global Marine Enclosures website.