Beach Safety Goes Sky-High This Summer

Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast and Member for Kiama Gareth Ward MP has today welcomed the expansion of the New South Wales Government’s drone program for local beaches.

New South Wales Surf Life Saving lifeguards will be assisted by drones at fifteen beaches along the New South Wales coast, enabling potential risks to be spotted faster than ever before.

Mr Ward said that the expansion of the drone trial was fantastic news for beachgoers and lifeguards across Kiama and the South Coast.

“The New South Wales Government drone trial began at nine beaches last year and this year it has been expanded to cover Kiama, Mollymook, Pambula and Tathra,” Mr Ward said.

“The expansion of the program is a testament to the Government’s commitment to public safety and innovation.

“Our lifeguards work tirelessly over the warmer months, so I’m delighted that they will be supported with the latest available technology to help keep our community safe.

“The birds-eye perspective from the drones will allow our lifeguards to spot potential risks faster, with potentially life-saving consequences.

“For families and friends who love to head to the beach during the warmer months, they can feel safe in the knowledge that as much as possible is being done to prevent them from harm.

“Our beaches are synonymous with summer, so we want to ensure that we are using all the tools available to us to keep our beachgoers safe.

Mr Ward said that while the prevention of attacks and drownings was the priority, the trial would also inform future approaches for the New South Wales Shark Management Strategy.

“This trial will be useful to assess the operational aspects of using drones by a volunteer organisation and it will also provide more in-depth data about the behavior of sharks in New South Wales waters,” Mr Ward said.

The trial will complement helicopter aerial surveillance for the upcoming school holidays from the Tweed to Wollongong. The drone trials will continue until the end of April 2019.