Lifesaving Eyes in the Sky

Surf Life Saving is entering a new era of innovation as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are set to be trialled in NSW for search and rescue, emergency response and shark spotting activities.

A newly announced ground-breaking trial of the Little Ripper Lifesaver© sponsored by Westpac and supported by the NSW Government and Surf Life Saving will see aerial surveillance capabilities tested to support existing lifesaving operations along the coast and over land.

Surf Life Saving NSW President Tony Haven AM says the opportunities offered by UAVs in supporting the efforts of surf lifesavers on the beach is enormous.

“This is a fantastic initiative which has the potential to revolutionise the ways in which we can protect the public, respond to emergency situations and save lives,” said Tony Haven.

The Little Ripper Lifesaver© long-range UAVs will initially be trialled in three locations in NSW – Byron Bay, Hawks Nest and Newcastle. The capability of the technology includes aerial surveillance, search and rescue, shark detection and monitoring or even deploying emergency and first aid equipment including floatation devices, defibrillators and survival kits.

The trial will provide new opportunities for volunteer surf lifesavers to extend their skills by being trained as UAV pilots or camera operators. Surf lifesavers are being invited to apply for a number of positions where they will undergo full training to become qualified UAV operators.

“The trial of this technology will give our members new opportunities to become involved in our emergency response network and extends the development pathways available within Surf Life Saving,” said Tony Haven.

“Surf Life Saving NSW is proud to support these trials and I congratulate both Westpac and the NSW Government for their commitment to improving public safety and protecting the community.”

Surf Lifesavers who are interested in undergoing training as UAV pilots or camera operators are being invited to submit an Expression of Interest. For more information click here.

Photograph - (L-R) SLSNSW President Tony Haven AM, Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer, NSW Premier The Hon Mike Baird, and Little Ripper Lifesaver founder Kevin Weldon AM are pictured at the launch of the UAV trial in Sydney on Sunday 28 February 2016

Tue 1 Mar 2016