Operations Centre To Be Radio Hub For Shark Surveillance

Surf Life Saving NSW is looking forward to taking an active communications role in aerial shark patrols along the NSW coastline after the State Government announced an extension to this service for at least the next 12 months as part of its $16 million Shark Management Strategy earlier this week.

Tuesday’s announcement by Minister For Primary Industries Niall Blair comes as the majority of the state’s 21,000 frontline lifesavers prepare for the final weekend of the 2015/16 patrol season, with the last patrolling day being Monday 25 April.

NSW Lifesaving Manager Andy Kent has welcomed the move believing that the increased aerial surveillance on selected days will provide an additional tool to help the lifesaving community keep beachgoers informed right across the state.

“We know from established research that thanks to our mild winters, people still very much enjoy heading to the beach throughout the cooler months. While our volunteer lifesavers won’t be patrolling there will still be a number of call out teams able to respond to any coastal emergency,” Mr Kent said.

“The surveillance flights will be in contact with our State Operations Centre which now operates year-round and will be able to inform local lifesaving assets of any sightings.

“A significant advantage of this is our Operations Centre will be able to contact other emergency services including Water Police, Lifeguards to assist in making appropriate decisions in real time.

"As an organisation we want all parties actively involved in what has become an integrated process with the development of new technology, and all emergency agencies have the same goal of keeping people safe,” he concluded.

SLSNSW and the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries have established a strong relationship to refine procedures for shark observation and incident responses.

SLSNSW is working with the Department of Primary Industries through the innovative Shark Smart program – an initiative designed as a public education campaign, and will continue to actively work together as part of the NSW Government’s Shark Management Strategy.

Thu 21 Apr 2016