Surf Life Saving NSW with support from the NSW Government plans to install 10 new Emergency Response Beacons (ERBs) in key coastal locations this year.

The expansion of emergency response infrastructure comes after the Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib convened a roundtable on coastal safety earlier this month, in response to an increase in coastal drownings over recent years.

ERBs directly connect callers to Surf Life Saving NSW’s State Operations Centre, enabling the rapid deployment of lifesaving and emergency services to a potential rescue site. This can drastically reduce response times, particularly in unpatrolled or isolated areas.

“The evidence is clear – this technology works, and we know it will make a key contribution to preventing drownings on our coastline,” said Minister Dib. “The beacons use technology that overcomes connectivity limitations, or ‘black spots’, in remote areas, providing a reliable option in an emergency.”

This year, at least 10 new ERB units will be operational at the following locations, subject to Council or land manager approvals:

  • Mid North Coast: Scotts Head
  • Hunter: Moonee Beach
  • Central Coast: Spoon Bay, Fraser Park, Forresters Beach
  • Northern Beaches: Turrimetta, North Palm Beach
  • Illawarra: Austinmer, Woonoona, Bulli

The new beacons, which are the first of 32 to be delivered over the next four years, are part of the NSW Government’s record $23 million additional investment in Surf Life Saving NSW.

As part of this funding, the NSW Government is also delivering 67 jet skis over four years, with 14 already deployed to beaches along the state’s coastline.

The roundtable held in early March considered the latest data on high risk drowning locations along the state’s coastline, with the locations of the new ERBs based on this data, rescue statistics and consultation with key stakeholders.

“We are looking at enhancements to the next generation of ERBs which could include having public rescue equipment attached to the units that people could use to keep themselves safe if they attempt a rescue,” said SLSNSW CEO Steve Pearce.

“It’s all about using technology to improve how we respond to coastal incidents and, in the end, save more lives along the coast.”

Read more about Emergency Response Beacons.

17 March 2024