Helicopters To Patrol Beaches After 463 Shark Sightings Last Year

Helicopters have begun patrolling beaches for sharks in Perth and South-West WA.

Two state-funded helicopters, in partnership with Surf Life Saving WA, will start flying over beaches this week as part of the McGowan Government’s strategy to keep beachgoers safe this spring and summer.

“We have committed more than $2.8 million to support this season’s new schedule of flights that deliver an important surveillance tool for our comprehensive, non-lethal shark hazard mitigation strategy,” Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly said.

Image: Supplied

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.

Perth helicopter patrols will become daily from September 30 and run through to the end of April next year.

Image: Supplied

South-West flights will also run daily during school holidays and peak periods (September 30 to October 13, 2019, November 16, 2019 to February 2, 2020 and April 10 to 27, 2020). At all other times between September 1 and April 30, the South-West helicopter will fly on weekends and public holidays.

The seasonal helicopter beach patrols cover more than 49,000 kilometres from Yanchep to Mandurah (including Rottnest Island), and over 49,500 kilometres along South-West beaches from Bunbury to Hamelin Bay.