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South-West Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter daily patrols end

South-West Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter daily patrols end

10 February 2014

Beachgoers are advised that after a busy summer season patrolling WA’s south west coastline Surf Life Saving WA’s South-West Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter has ceased daily patrols.

Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) Chief Executive Officer Paul Andrew said the South-West Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter had been patrolling seven days a week since November 23, 2013.

“Beachgoers need to be aware that daily patrols ended yesterday, although the helicopter will go back to the south west on the Labour Day long weekend (March 1-3) and over Easter (April 18-21) to provide coverage over those popular holiday periods,” Mr Andrew said.

“This is the third season for the South-West Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter and its patrol hours have again increased, with 235 hours flown over the primary patrol period for 2013/14.

“Through its aerial surveillance, as part of the State Government’s Shark Mitigation Strategy, and its search and rescue capabilities the South-West Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter and its crews provide a vital service to beachgoers in that region.”

“This service is only possible thanks to the generous funding support of the West Australian Government,” Mr Andrew said.

The South-West Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter spotted 114 sharks during its 2013/14 daily patrols, compared to 154* the previous season.

The South-West Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter was also involved in eight search and rescue operations between November 23 and yesterday.

The helicopter, which is based at Busselton, patrols between Binningup, north of Bunbury, to Augusta.

Mr Andrew said the Perth metropolitan Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter will continue daily patrols between Yanchep, Dawesville and Rottnest Island until April 30, and on weekends after that until the start of the 2014/15 summer season in October, 2014.

*The 2012/13 season shark figure included a large school sighting of approximately 50 sharks near Bunker Bay.

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