With the warmer weather now seeing West Australians flocking to our beaches, Surf Life Saving WA is reminding beach-goers to stay alert, with 11 beach closures since Monday due to the presence of sharks, including a 5-metre white shark spotted off Cottesloe this morning.
Popular beaches including Mullaloo, Cottesloe, Floreat and Scarborough were all closed; however, this was not isolated to just Perth, with Bunker Bay and Meelup amongst those in the south-west closed, with more than 2,000 people cleared from the water.
Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) General Manager Chris Peck said that their Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter service had seen a higher than the usual number of sharks at metropolitan beaches over recent days.
“We’re not trying to alarm people,” said Mr Peck.
“We just want to remind them to take necessary precautions when they do go to the beach, and that includes wherever possible, choosing a patrolled one.”
Surf Life Saving WA’s Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter service performs daily patrols across metropolitan and south-west beaches during summer, specifically on the lookout for hazards including rip currents and sharks, and is a key element of the state government’s shark mitigation strategy.
“Our helicopters are fully integrated into our on-beach lifesaving services and are the only initiative that can detect, confirm, and respond to the presence of a shark, warning beach-goers in real-time,” said Mr Peck.
SLSWA is also urging beach-goers to respond as quickly as possible to the directives of either the helicopter crew or on-beach lifesavers.
“This morning, we had a scenario where our Westpac Helicopter sighted what has been confirmed to be at least a 5-metre white shark off Cottesloe beach,” said Mr Peck.
“While our helicopter sounded the siren, many beach-goers were slow to react in leaving the water.
“It’s important for people to realise that the helicopters will only sound the siren for imminent danger and that they need to respond in a timely manner for their own safety.”
In the absence of on-beach lifesavers or lifeguards, SLSWA advises that people should remain out of the water for at least 1 hour, pending no further warnings issued.
People can also follow SLSWA on Twitter to stay up to date with any warnings, shark sightings and beach closures, or can download the state government’s free Sharksmart App.
Just last week, Surf Life Saving WA revealed that the start of the season had already been a tragic one with a 100% increase in coastal and ocean drowning deaths compared to the same time last year.
- The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service is proudly supported by the Government of Western Australia and Westpac
- Follow SLSWA on Twitter for up to date shark sightings, beach closures and warnings
- Download the state governments free Sharksmart App
- Further information about the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service, including patrol dates, and patrol areas, can be found here.
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