Lifesaving Drones Deployed To Keep Beachgoers Safe

Dozens of drones will be out spotting sharks, rips and swimmers in strife this summer.

Beach safety will look a little different this Christmas, with 51 drones to be rolled out from Cottesloe in the west to Bondi in the east.

The technology will give lifesavers much-needed eyes in the sky to help identify a problem quickly and accurately.

It comes off the back of a tragic year in our oceans last year. There were 110 coastal drownings, above the 14 year average of 99, said Surf Life Saving Australia, President  Graham Ford 

"The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Drones will be hugely beneficial to surf lifesavers to spot potential risks in the water as they happen", he said. "There is no better time than now to welcome new technologies that can help us protect more Australians".

A typical summer day in Sydney IMAGE: Getty

There are also future plans for the drones to drop buoyancy devices to help swimmers in trouble, stay afloat until help arrives.

A world-first drone rescue was carried out on the New South Wales far north coast in January. The drone, barely out of the box, saved two teenagers who were caught in a rip at Lennox Head.

The 17-year-old and 15-year-old boys were about 700 metres offshore, and within two minutes the drone had located them and dropped a flotation device which they held onto until lifesavers arrived.

“The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Drones will be an important support for surf lifesavers who are tirelessly dedicated to ensuring the safety of others," Westpac Group CEO, Brian Hartzer said. “The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Drones will be an important support for surf lifesavers who are tirelessly dedicated to ensuring the safety of others".

Surf life savers performing rescue drill IMAGE: AAP, Joel Carratt

READ MORE: Foldable Drone Could Help Find Survivors Of Natural Disasters

READ MORE: Terrifying Near Drowning Caught On Camera

Where can you find them?

New South Wales

  • Far North Coast
  • North Coast
  • Mid North Coast
  • Lower North Shore
  • Hunter
  • Central Coast
  • Sydney
  • Northern Beaches
  • South Coast
  • Far South Coast


  • Coogee
  • North Bondi
  • Tamarama
  • Coffs Harbour to Woolgoolga
  • Avoca and North Avoca
  • Terrigal
  • Queenscliff


  • Cairns
  • Mackay
  • Mooloolaba
  • Alexandra Headland
  • Caloundra
  • Noosa
  • Sunshine Beach
  • Southport
  • Broadbeach
  • Surfer Paradise
  • Coolangatta
  • Kirra/Tugun


  • St Kilda
  • Frankston
  • State mobile UAV

South Australia

  • Semaphore Beach
  • Christies Beach

Western Australia

  • Cottesloe
  • Fremantle
  • South West Region - Meelup / Smiths Beach (peak holiday period)
  • Secret Harbour
  • City Beach
  • Trigg
  • Mullaloo


  • Frederick Henry Bay

Northern Territory

  • Darwin

The program is an extension of Westpac’s existing three-year partnership with The Ripper Group, which is hoping to extend capabilities beyond the beach including crocodile spotting and transporting medical equipment.