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Keeping spring beach-goers safe with weekend helicopter patrols

Keeping spring beach-goers safe with weekend helicopter patrols

02 September 2022

Spring is here and weekend helicopter patrols will be lifting off tomorrow to watch over the Perth metro coastline and Rottnest as well as beaches in WA’s South West.

It is also time for everyone to turn on their Sea Sense and keep safe over the warmer months when enjoying the water.

The State Government delivers a range of initiatives aimed at improving the safety of ocean users, which is one of the strongest evidence-based shark mitigation programs in the world, so Western Australians can enjoy the beach and ocean with confidence.

Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) is a vital part of this program with helicopter, drone, beach and jet ski patrols at metropolitan beaches and popular South-West beaches. 

SLSWA’s helicopter patrols begin along the Perth and South West coast on weekends only in early spring before the daily services begin in late September.  

SLSWA’s Twitter feed provides a go-to social media option for beachgoers and other water users to find out about the latest shark sightings and detections around WA as well as other potential ocean hazards. If you see a shark, report the sighting to Water Police 9442 8600.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Director Statewide Operations Kane Holtom said the partnership with SLSWA has been a solid rock in the foundation of the State’s multi-faceted shark hazard mitigation strategy.

“Along with SLSWA watching out for safety on the beaches, on the water and from the air, water users can also look after their own safety with tips from the Sea Sense awareness campaign, by checking the SharkSmart WA app and getting a world-first personal shark deterrent subsidy for divers and surfers,” Mr Holtom said.

Surf Life Saving WA General Manager Chris Peck said in the busy 20/21 season their two helicopter services carried out 724 patrols, 24 search and rescue missions, and instigated more than 80 beach closures across nearly 1,000 hours of flying time.   

“Our helicopters provide unrivalled ability to cover large areas of our coastline in minimum time, warning tens of thousands of beach-goers of potential dangers each season, and assisting other search and rescue agencies in vital emergency response activity,” Mr Peck said.

“While we have several on-beach Lifeguard Services currently operational, our volunteer lifesaver patrols do not commence until October, so the helicopters have an even more important role to play in the interim as we see the weather starting to warm up and people heading back to the beach.”


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