If successful at the March state election the State Opposition will equip all South Australian surf lifesaving clubs with drones to enhance their surveillance safety capacity on our beaches.
“Surf lifesavers play a critical role in keeping our beaches safe for the 9.2 million visitors each year and providing them with the latest technology will help save even more lives,” said State Opposition Leader Steven Marshall.
“Drones will provide for increased aerial surveillance to improve shark warnings for swimmers, locating swimmers in distress and identifying dangerous rips.
“We need to provide our surf lifesaving volunteers with the best available technology to help them do the best job they can.
“The value the surf lifesaving community brings to the wider society is immense and their efforts need to be fully supported.”
In 2016 Surf Life Saving SA’s patrolling members performed a total of 74,717 volunteer hours, 122 rescues, 912 first aid treatments and 16,900 preventative actions.
These statistics included 139 shark alarms, 94 searches for missing people and 57 lostchildren.
A successful trial in Western Australia found that drones would enhance lifesaving surveillance capabilities and recommended their use as part of a shark mitigation strategy.
“Providing drones to our 21 surf lifesaving clubs will significantly enhance the aerial surveillance capability currently provided by helicopter patrols,” said Mr Marshall.
“Our beautiful beaches are central to South Australia’s fantastic lifestyle but there are hidden dangers, and we need to make the experience as safe as possible.
“We will ensure there are strict privacy protocols around the use of the drones to protect beachgoers from unwarranted use of the devices.”
Currently there are Civil Aviation Safety Authority and local government restrictions on the use of drones along the South Australian coastline. We will engage with the responsible authorities to ensure the use of drones for surf lifesaving purposes is permitted.