THE NSW Government and Surf Life Saving NSW recently announced $14,000 worth of measures to further protect beachgoers on the NSW North Coast this summer.
Two additional drones will be added to the current suite of drones, as well as investing in essential equipment for shark incident response, including shark alarms and PA systems, megaphones and lifesaving heavy-duty trauma kits. Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair said as we enter the busiest time of year, it’s more important than ever that lifesavers and lifeguards have access to reliable shark surveillance and response equipment.
“Our men and women in yellow and red do an amazing job of keeping our beaches safe every day, this investment makes sure they have the best support possible to do what they do so well,” Mr Blair said.
Parliamentary Secretary and NSW Nationals candidate for Ballina, Ben Franklin said he welcomed the extra measures. “The more eyes we have, the more alerts we have, the more informed we are, the better we can protect our community,” Mr Franklin said. “Today’s announcement compliments the Government’s existing measures, which includes helicopters, drones, 35 SMART drumlines and VR4G listening stations. Our shark tagging program is the largest in the world and allows our scientists to understand more about the movement and ecology of target sharks.”
CEO of Surf Life Saving NSW, Steven Pearce said that safety for beachgoers is the number one priority. “Additional drones will assist lifeguards in identifying any potential risks in the water as quickly as possible and reduce the risk of potential shark interactions,” Mr Pearce said. “It’s important that all beachgoers take beach safety seriously this summer – remember to always swim between the flags, avoid swimming at dawn or dusk or in murky waters and don’t surf or swim alone – always buddy up.”
This summer the drone trial will be at nine beaches on the North Coast including; Kingscliff, Main Beach Byron Bay, The Pass, Suffolk Park, Lennox Head, Sharpes Beach, Shelly Beach, Lighthouse Beach and Evans Head.
The additional observation and awareness measures include:
- Installing shark alarms and PA systems in the Ballina SLSC and Shelly Beach ATV’s (all-terrain vehicle)
- Installing a shark alarm and PA system and a screen and HDMI remote sender in the Ballina UAV Rescue Vehicle
- Installing a shark Alarm at Ballina Surf Club
- Six hand held megaphones with siren capabilities (shark alarm) for the rescue vehicles, Ballina, Lennox Heads Surf Clubs as well as Shelly Beach Facility
- Six rapid battery drone chargers for all drones and rescue vehicles
- Trauma/haemorrhage kits for Ballina and Lennox Head Surf Clubs as well as the Shelly Beach Facility
- Trauma/haemorrhage kits for the 3 rescue vehicles.
The NSW Government has now tagged more than 400 target sharks through its Smart Drumline program.