My Beach

Drones are set to become a familiar site on many Perth beaches as Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) prepares to launch their Drone Patrol following a successful trial last summer.

SLSWA General Manager Chris Peck said that the initial trial last year had demonstrated the ability for drones to be both cost effectively and safely integrated into surf life saving operations while providing an additional level of surveillance to existing patrol services.

Three metropolitan beaches are already benefitting from Drone Patrol services, with an additional five locations flagged to have a Patrol operating on their beaches this summer including Cottesloe, Secret Harbour, City Beach, Mullaloo and Quinns-Mindarie. It is anticipated that further locations will come on board in the future.

“The Drone Patrols are to be operated by trained Lifeguards and integrated into existing volunteer surf life saving club patrol services, providing an additional layer of situational awareness for our lifesavers on the beach”, said Mr Peck.

“Surf Lifesavers will progressively operate the drones in standard club patrol activities, as well as for events such as abalone season, public sporting events and club activities such as Nippers”.

“It is important that the public are aware that SLSWA’s Drone Patrol is not a recreational operation and that our surf life savers are trained to a high standard” he said.

Mr Peck went on to say that Drone Patrol will be highly visible to the public with both the drone pilots and the drones signed in the surf life saving red and yellow.

Last summer’s successful trial showed that more than 90 percent of members of the public surveyed believed that the use of drones would increase lifesavers ability to spot hazards in the water and improve their ability to effectively patrol local beaches and keep the public safer.

“Surveillance is the cornerstone of what we do as lifesavers and the integration of this technology provides a new perspective on traditional surveillance methods,” said Mr Peck.

“The improved situational awareness that Drone Patrol can add to localised surveillance activity will significantly compliment the regional role performed by surf life saving’s Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter service.”

Surf Life Saving WA acknowledges the financial support provided by the State Government towards Shark Mitigation strategies.