Beachgoers Safer With Increased Aerial Patrols

Beachgoers Safer With Increased Aerial Patrols

Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett

Boost To Helicopter Patrols For Beachgoers

Victor P Taffa

  • Better protection for Western Australian beachgoers
  • Seven day a week helicopter patrols from today until end of April 2012
  • At least an additional $1 Million in funding for patrols

Beachgoers will be given greater protection, with seven day a week aerial shark patrols to start from today.

Premier Colin Barnett said three fatal shark attacks in the past two months and an increase in the number of sharks spotted highlighted the need for extra patrols to increase public safety.

An additional $1 Million funding would allow the patrols to operate for an average of four hours per day, every day until the end of April, delivering an additional 77 flying days.

Weekend and public holiday patrols were due to start from November 1.

From today, there will be helicopter patrols along the coastline between Mandurah and Yanchep from 6.30 am. For the first time patrols will also sweep Rottnest Island at weekends and during school holidays.

The State Government is also starting weekend and school holidays helicopter patrols along parts of the South-West coastline from Bunbury to beaches in Margaret River.

Today’s announcement comes on top of the additional funding provided by the State Government to Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) since 2008 for patrols each week day in the summer school holidays from mid-December to the end of February.

At the same time a decision was made to use helicopters rather than fixed wing aircraft.

“It’s important the Western Australian public feel safe when enjoying WA’s beautiful beaches.” Premier Barnett said.

“But the State Government can only do so much and that’s why we are urging individuals to do their bit to minimise the risk.”

“Don’t dive or swim alone a long way from shore, particularly on overcast days and of course the best way to stay safe is to swim between the flags.”

SLSWA will have surf life savers patrolling waters from Fremantle to Mullaloo on jet skis.

The Government will also provide additional funding to SLSWA to ensure extra surf life savers are patrolling major metropolitan beaches.

There will also be lifeguard services in parts of the South-West and at Rottnest Island starting from Saturday November 26, to coincide with the end of year 12 exams. These services will operate seven days a week until January 31, 2012.

“I’d like to thank SLSWA and the volunteers who already work hard to provide this service and will now be putting in additional effort to ensure there’s increased public safety at our beaches.” the Premier said.

Fact File

  • The Liberal-National Government first introduced school holiday patrols in 2008
  • Helicopter patrols will start today and run seven days a week until the end of April
  • A total of 189 flying days patrolling WA beaches (weather permitting)
  • The Government had already committed $441,000 to Shark Hazard Response in 2011-12