Helicopter beach patrols to begin on Sunday

With spring just around the corner, the McGowan Government’s strategy to keep beachgoers safe will see two helicopter patrols deployed from Sunday 1st September, covering the Perth Metropolitan area and South-West region.

Extensive weekend surveillance of beaches will occur during the first month of spring, with patrols increasing to daily from October through end of April next year.

Seasonal helicopter beach patrols range from Yanchep to Mandurah, covering more than 49,000kms, and an additional 49,5000kms of beaches along the Bunbury to Hamelin Bay coasts.

$2.8 million dollars has been committed to these patrols, in a partnership with Surf Life Saving WA.

Fisheries Minister, Dave Kelly, said the helicopters and patrols provide maximum coverage during peak periods.

“For the first time the State-funded helicopter for the South-West will commence at the same time as the Perth helicopter, ensuring those in regional areas can have greater confidence when in the water on weekends this spring,”

Last year, the patrols watched over WA beaches for 890 hours and reported 463 shark sightings. Beaches were closed as a precaution on 41 high-hazard occasions. The helicopters also have on-board alarms, which alert ocean users to a range of dangers in the water. During last season’s flights, the alarms were activated 174 times and helped to evacuate more than 2,000 people from the water.

While the State Government-funded helicopters are helping keep beachgoers safe, ocean users are still asked to switch on their Sea Sense this spring and summer. For tips on how to have a fun, safe time at the beach, visit http://www.sharksmart.com.au

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