Eyes in the sky: More drones to patrol WA beaches

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Seven new drones will hit the WA coast in the fight to keep beach-goers safe.

Six Perth life saving clubs and one in Meelup in WA's south west will start using Westpac rescue drones to patrol their patches of coast.

Drones will be used right across Perth beaches and Meelup beach in the south west.

Drones will be used right across Perth beaches and Meelup beach in the south west.Credit:AP

The WA drones are part of a national rollout of 51 drones.

In 2017-18 Surf Life Saving WA made 730 coastal rescues in WA and 60,900 'preventative' actions.


The organisation hopes the drones' vision and surveillance technology will improve its ability to spot rips, marine creatures, and distressed swimmers in a quicker and more accurate fashion than from patrols on the beach and in a helicopter.

Surf life saving clubs first started using drones in 2016 when the former Barnett government spent $88,000 on a trial as part of its shark mitigation strategy.

Surf Life Saving WA General Manager Lifesaving Chris Peck said the program would complement the organisation's existing government supported drone patrol program.

“Surf life Saving WA has been at the forefront of implementing drones into patrol operations at a
[surf life saving] club level, and this partnership with Westpac will enhance our existing drone
operations and play a key role in the program’s expansion into the future,” he said.

“The improved situational awareness that drones can add to other localised surveillance activity
such as beach patrols, will also complement the regional role performed by our Westpac lifesaver
rescue helicopter service, proving them an invaluable lifesaving asset."

City Beach SLSC is running a community day on Sunday so beach-goers can get up close and personal to the drones.

The drones will be used at the following beaches:

  • Secret Harbour Beach (Secret Harbour SLSC)
  • Cottesloe Beach (Cottesloe SLSC)
  • City Beach (City of Perth SLSC)
  • Trigg Beach (Trigg Island SLSC)
  • Mullaloo Beach (Mullaloo SLSC)
  • Leighton Beach (Fremantle SLSC)
  • South West region (Smiths Beach, Meelup)

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