My Beach

Many Perth beach goers are now familiar with the value of our Drone Patrol operations after a shark was spotted within 100m of a surfer this week!

SLSWA launched its Drone Patrol last month, initially at five Perth beaches, after a successful trial last summer. Drones have been integrated into life saving operations to provide an additional layer of surveillance for lifesavers to make improved decisions that maximise beach safety.

SLSWA General Manager Chris Peck said, “The Drone Patrols have been integrated in existing Club patrol services to provide an additional layer of situational awareness for our lifesavers on the beach and add to our existing surveillance activities.”

Drone Patrol identified a shark on Wednesday, 6 December around 8:20am at Secret Harbour within 100m of a surfer. Operational procedure was followed to have the water evacuated and beach closed within 5 minutes of spotting the shark.

Drone Patrol were conducting regular flights on the day, flying the length of the beach, when they spotted the shark 200m offshore in the vicinity of the red and yellow flags. The shark was approximately 3m in length and of an unknown species. Within 15 seconds of the shark coming into frame, the Drone Patrol operator was able to positively confirm the sighting and initiate a beach closure. The sighting and beach closure was also reported to the wider public via SLSWA’s Twitter page within minutes.

In working together with our Lifeguard operations, Drone Patrol was able to take prompt action to prevent a possible incident by completely evacuating the public from the water, which included a large group of approximately 40 school kids on surf boards.

“The integration of this technology provides a new perspective on traditional surveillance methods, integrating with existing procedures to ensure our lifesavers are equipped to respond to any situation quickly and efficiently,” said Mr Peck.

The shark was followed by the drone for approximately 15 minutes, tracking south towards Mandurah. Drone Patrol continued to monitor the water during the closure to ensure the beach was safe to reopen, which occurred at 9:30am.

Drone Patrol will continue to operate at Secret Harbour, Cottesloe, City Beach, Mullaloo and Quinns Mindarie throughout the summer.