SLSWA’s Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopters (WLRH’s) play a crucial role in coastal safety and identifying emergencies. Manned by paid and volunteer personnel, the highly-trained crews are on the lookout for people in distress.

This includes locating rip currents and incidents on beaches, as well as identifying risks from marine life, including sharks. The services are also regularly tasked with assisting Water Police and other agencies in search and rescue activities.

SLSWA operates two helicopters – the Perth Metropolitan service, and the South West service.

The Perth service is based at Rous Head in Fremantle, performing coastal surveillance patrols and emergency response missions throughout the greater Perth metropolitan area; from Mandurah in the south to Yanchep in the north and around Rottnest Island. Our Perth-based service is operational from September to April each year.

The South West service, based out of the Busselton Regional Airport, operates from September to April each year with a focus on providing coastal surveillance patrols on weekends and holidays (public and school) over popular coastal destinations between Bunbury and Margaret River.

2018/19 Season – Service dates



Shark Sightings

170 Metro
314 South West


Patrol Hours

438.6 Metro
440.9 South West

879.5 HOURS

Number of Patrols

371 Metro
266 South West


KM's Patrolled

48,737 Metro
48,992 South West

97,729 KM's

My Beach

The WLRHS in WA has been operating from Fremantle since 2008 and Busselton since 2013 and is proudly supported by the State Government of Western Australia; and Westpac, who in 2017 renewed their partnership with Surf Life Saving for a further 5 years, taking the national partnership to 49 years – one of the longest community partnerships in Australia!

Not sure what to do if our helicopter sounds its siren while you are in the water?

Visit our Coastal Safety page for more information.