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Surf Life Saving drones prove to be successful at keeping swimmers and surfers safe

Surf Life Saving drones prove to be successful at keeping swimmers and surfers safe
January 5, 2021

The recent spotting of a large group of sharks at Evans Head on the NSW far north coast, highlights the success of Surf Life Saving's drones - Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) - at keeping swimmers and surfers safe.

A large school of whaler sharks (spinner, dusky, bull sharks) was spotted at Evans Head on 30th December 2020, causing the beach to be closed for most of the day.

A Surf Life Saving UAV operator conducting aerial surveillance on behalf of the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) spotted the group of around 40 sharks just offshore at the popular holiday spot.

Northern NSW Lifeguard Coordinator Scott McCartney said around 100 swimmers and surfers were evacuated from Evans Head Main Beach and noted "the UAV operator was doing a flight to the north of the lifeguard's flagged area when he spotted a few sharks.

"After further investigation he found it was actually quite a large group of more than 40 sharks."

Surf Life Saving NSW says the DPI program which is in operation at 34 beaches throughout summer is proving to be successful at keeping swimmers and surfers safe.

SLSNSW Operations Manager, Public Safety Brent Manieri advises “we’ve been able to alert lifesaving patrols or people in the water directly, to the presence of sharks nearby on numerous occasions.

“Feedback from the public is that they appreciate the surveillance we are conducting using UAVs at many locations along the coast. Many people feel that their safety is improved if they know the drones are up in the air and keeping watch.”

Related Articles

17th December 2020 - Surf Life Saving Australia highlight the dangers of rip currents along Australia’s coast

10th December 2020 - DHL Express and Surf Life Saving Australia launch online game to raise beach safety awareness

3rd December 2020 - Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service (Southern) upgrades features for summer

30th November 2020 - Forster Surf Life Saving Club secures $2 million grant for upgrades​

19th November 2020 - Restructured Cycle Classic raises over $15,000 for Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service   

16th November 2020 - Surf Life Saving NSW deploys drones to keep Sydney’s northern beaches and parks COVIDSafe

12th November 2020 - Surf Life Saving Australia launches new volunteer recruitment campaign

10th November 2020 - Australian surf lifesaver achievements recognised at Surf Life Saving Australia awards

20th October 2020 - Surf Life Saving Australia opens applications for 2021 National Leadership College

16th October 2020 - Golden Circle and Surf Life Saving Australia partner to celebrate community members making a positive difference

18th September 2020 - Royal Life Saving and Surf Life Saving Australia report males account for 80% of all drowning deaths

18th March 2020 - Westpac Life Saver Rescue Drone program to help reduce drownings

22nd June 2018 - New advisory service to optimise drone use at venues and events

19th January 2018 - Australian lifesaving drone in world first ocean rescue

12th October 2016 - Western Australian Government to trial shark-spotting surveillance drones

1st December 2015 - Safety fears see Leichhardt Council ban drones in parks and public spaces

16th May 2015 - AJ Hackett considers using drones to capture guest experiences


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