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Surf Life Saving NSW deploys drones to keep Sydney’s northern beaches and parks COVIDSafe

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

Surf Life Saving NSW and Northern Beaches Council form partnership to monitor some of Sydney’s most popular northern beaches and parks this summer using UAV (drone) technology.

Surf Life Saving NSW UAV pilots have commenced monitoring Sydney’s Northern Beaches and parks from the air with real-time attendance information being sent to Council officials to help ensure beaches can stay open and COVIDSafe.

The partnership between Surf Life Saving NSW and Northern Beaches Council has been formed ahead of what is anticipated to be one of the busiest summers on record on Sydney’s beaches. With COVID-19 travel restrictions in place and overseas and interstate beach holidays perhaps not an option, holidaymakers are expected to flock to NSW beaches in greater numbers than ever.

In an attempt to ensure beaches can stay open during peak summer weekend and school holiday periods, Northern Beaches Council staff and surf lifesavers will work closely together to monitor numbers and provide up-to-the-minute information to the beach-going public so they can avoid beaches nearing COVIDSafe capacity. High-resolution images taken by UAVs will be sent to Council and the new SLSNSW State Operations Centre where beach attendance data will be recorded.

This data will contribute to providing a bigger picture of overall beach attendances. Locations nearing capacity or where access is restricted can be viewed using the Beachsafe website and Beachsafe App.

Northern Beaches Council Mayor, Michael Regan said Council had sought the partnership to increase the chances of beaches and parks across the Northern Beaches staying COVIDSafe and open through the summer advising “this partnership is a critical part of our summer COVID safety operations.

“Our aim is to keep our popular beaches and parks open so locals and visitors alike can enjoy them to the full this summer.

“Using this real time data we can even more effectively manage our public spaces and reduce the COVID risk to beachgoers.”

Surf Life Saving NSW Chief Executive Steven Pearce said that the partnership was a great example of the way Northern Beaches Council and Surf Life Saving NSW are innovating to keep beaches and public spaces open during summer and most importantly, the Northern Beaches community COVIDSafe.

Pearce notes “Drones have become an indispensable tool in Surf Life Saving operations. In addition to providing important beach attendance information to councils and police who make beach access decisions, our UAVs are used for marine creature surveillance, search and rescue operations and spot beach hazards such as rips.

“We’ve been working with councils on smart ways to keep beaches open this summer ahead of what’s going to be a massive season on the NSW coastline. Nobody, least of all surf lifesavers, wants to close beaches, so the more information we can give people about beach attendance, ahead of them arriving on the sand to find it nearing COVIDSafe attendance limits, the better.

“Thanks to our UAV technology and the Beachsafe website and app, beachgoers can easily identify less crowded beaches before they leave home with the tap of a button on their mobile phone.”

The trial of the new UAV beach and park UAV surveillance service commenced on Saturday 14th November at 25 Northern Beaches Council beach and park locations.

Dates of Service

Weekends and public holidays commencing 14th November 2020

Daily commencing 21st December (TBC) 2020

Weekends and public holidays from 31st January 2021

Cessation of Service 28th Feb 2021.

Images courtesy of Surf Life Saving NSW 

Related Articles

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

17th September 2020 - New operations centre opened for Surf Life Saving NSW

5th September 2020 - Surf Life Saving WA prepares for busy beaches with return of helicopter services

1st September 2020 - New report shows Surf Life Saving worth $6.5 billion annually to Australian community

27th July 2020 - Surf Life Saving Clubs across NSW to receive $4 million in development grant funding

1st July 2020 - Surf Life Saving Australia celebrates 40 years of Women in Surf Life Saving

27th January 2020 - Surf Life Saving NSW trials free Beach Wi-Fi technology

9th December 2019 - Surf Life Saving NSW report identifies trends and areas of concern for the 2019/20 Summer

22nd December 2018 - Surf Life Saving NSW jet ski fleet boosted to increase beach safety for swimmers

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

5th September 2016 - Drones banned in South Australian national parks to protect animals

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


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