EYES IN THE SKY KEEPING BEACHGOERS SAFE

Beachgoers in NSW will again enjoy the extra protection from additional eyes in the sky this swimming season, with the continuation of the NSW Government’s drone trial, Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall announced today.

Eighteen beaches, stretching from Kingscliff to Pambula Beach will be part of the collaborative trial with Surf Life Saving NSW (SLSNSW), which begins on September 21 on the North Coast.

“We know drones are the future when it comes to keeping beachgoers safe,” Mr Marshall said. “This trial under the NSW Government’s five-year Shark Management Strategy will enhance the already significant capacity of our lifeguards and lifesavers, increasing protection for beachgoers from sharks and other beach hazards.”

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In the previous trial, SLS drones flew more than 25,000 kilometres and over 8,000 flights, observed approximately 350 sharks, and cleared our beaches on 48 occasions. SLSNSW CEO, Steven Pearce said the support from the NSW Government had put the organisation and the swimming public in an even better position to protect the millions of visitors to our beaches every year.

“This year we are taking them to Crescent Head, Forster and Batemans Bay to meet the current and future demands in those increasingly popular parts of our coast,” Mr Pearce said. “We were already the largest operator of drones for coastal surveillance and rescue response on the NSW coast, but this latest trial just takes us to a new level.”

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The drone trials will complement other trials of the NSW Shark Management Strategy this swimming season, including SMART drumline trials at Ballina, Evans Head, Newcastle and Sydney; the 21 VR4G listening stations from Kingscliff to Merimbula.