Drone Patrol has been operating at WA beaches since an initial state government-funded trial in 2016, and plays a crucial role in coastal safety and identifying emergencies on the Western Australian coast.

After the initial trial, the program received significant support from individual donors to the Drone Patrol Appeal which saw the program rollout to further beaches for the beginning of the 2018 season.

In December 2018, Westpac announced a partnership with Surf Life Saving Australia to roll-out 51 Westpac Life Saver Rescue Drones (WLRD) across the country, extending their support beyond the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter service.

Westpac now sponsor 7 drones at WA beaches, and this partnership will assist in providing hardware; training; research, and development, to help protect more Australian lives.

My Beach

Last season (2019/20), thanks to vital community and corporate support, SLSWA drone patrols operated across 12 locations including;

  • City Beach (City of Perth SLSC) – Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Drone Patrol Program
  • Cottesloe Beach (Cottesloe SLSC) – Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Drone Patrol Program
  • Leighton Beach (Fremantle SLSC) – Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Drone Patrol Program
  • Mullaloo Beach (Mullaloo SLSC) – Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Drone Patrol Program
  • Secret Harbour Beach (Secret Harbour SLSC) – Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Drone Patrol Program
  • Smiths Beach (Smiths Beach SLSC) – Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Drone Patrol Program
  • Trigg Beach (Trigg Island SLSC) – Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Drone Patrol Program
  • Coogee Beach (Coogee Beach SLSC) – SLSWA Drone Patrol
  • Pyramids Beach (Port Bouvard SLSC) – SLSWA Drone Patrol
  • Quinns Beach (Quinns Mindarie SLSC) – SLSWA Drone Patrol
  • Scarborough Beach (Scarboro SLSC) – SLSWA Drone Patrol
  • Swanbourne Beach (Swanbourne Nedlands SLSC) – SLSWA Drone Patrol

Surveillance is the cornerstone of what we do as lifesavers. If we can’t see you, we can’t save you.

A localised drone program is not designed to be a persistent level of surveillance, rather it is to enable prevention surveillance and on-demand tasking. When integrated into other layers of beach surveillance and safety initiatives, tangible impact is possible at this localised level.


Lifesavers can deploy drones as needed when needed. Lifesavers can then take action in response to this improved situational awareness to ensure public safety.

An additional benefit of embracing drone technology is to ensure Surf Life Saving WA remains relevant to our members and community at large. Members have opportunities to broaden their skill set by participating in drone operator training specific to Surf Life Saving WA operations.

My Beach

Drone Operators

All operators are trained to a standard set of competencies and are easily recognised by wearing a yellow high visibility Drone Patrol vest and hat over the top of the standard lifesaver uniform. Surf Life Saving WA drones are also badged in our iconic red and yellow colours and launched from a cordoned-off area at the beach.

With drones becoming increasingly popular, it is important to remember that any other persons operating a drone, who do not fit the above Surf Life Saving WA standards, are not part of our Drone Patrol team, and are not operating to our same Drone Patrol standards.

2019/2020 Statistics

74 operators at 12 locations

591hrs of surveillance

1,977 flights

Get involved

We currently recruit from within our Surf Life Saving Club membership.

If you are not a member, your first step is to reach out to your nearest Surf Lifesaving Club regarding membership opportunities. Contact details for all our affiliated clubs can be found here.

Please note that some additional training as part of your membership may be required to get involved in Drone Patrol.