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Shark Spotting Drones

If elected in March 2018, a Marshall Liberal Government will equip all South Australian Surf Life Saving Clubs with drones to enhance their surveillance safety capacity on our beaches.

The Problem

According to PIRSA’s Shark Sighting Log there were 106 shark sightings last year and there have been 75 so far this year (as of 13 November 2017).

Surf Life Saving SA undertake crucial preventative actions to keep South Australians safe at the beach, including helicopter patrols for the purposes of shark spotting, patrol and rescue efforts.

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, searches for 94 missing people and 57 lost children.

The value the surf lifesaving community brings to the wider society is immense and their efforts need to be fully supported.

The State Liberals' Plan

If elected in March 2018, a Marshall Liberal Government will equip all South Australian Surf Life Saving 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.

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.

Drones can be used to enhance the ability of surf lifesaving patrols in their aerial surveillance capabilities. They can be used to:

  • sight stranded persons
  • sight sharks and other marine animals
  • locate rips.

We will ensure there are strict privacy protocols around the use of the drones to protect beachgoers from unwarranted use of the devices.

As with any new disruptive technology regulations needs to keep pace with change but keeping our swimmers and beach goers safe is an important government responsibility.

To ensure we fulfil this responsibility, we will work with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to ensure that all Clubs in South Australia can operate drones safely.

This is likely to include increased training requirements for the four surf clubs inside the 5.5 km exclusion zone around the Adelaide Airport.