Drones on the lookout at Leighton Beach

Westpac Life Saver Drone Program. (From left) Westpac's Gajen Karmacharya (left) and drone pilots Adam Pierce photographed at Trigg Beach on 23 February, 2019 in Perth, Australia (copyright 1826)  Photo supplied.
Westpac Life Saver Drone Program. (From left) Westpac's Gajen Karmacharya (left) and drone pilots Adam Pierce photographed at Trigg Beach on 23 February, 2019 in Perth, Australia (copyright 1826) Photo supplied.

DRONES aren’t just used to take pretty pictures, they have also been helping surf lifesavers over summer.

The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Drone program has operated at Leighton Beach this season as part of Australia’s first national roll out, which includes 51 drones across the country.

Drones have also been patrolling Cottesloe, Secret Harbour, City Beach, Trigg, Mullaloo and the South West region in the peak holiday period.

Drone operator Doug Simpson said it was a no brainer to get involved.

“Surf Life Saving WA started with a small program of five drones and gradually introduced more clubs,” he said.

“There are three main aspects which we use the drones for; surveillance of swimmers, sharks and rips.

“We can spot a rip further away from the beach and alert lifeguards who can warn swimmers in the area about what is happening.”

Mr Simpson said he believed the public were feeling more confident in the water.

“Swimmers feel a lot more comfortable, we continuously do patrols throughout the morning,” he said.

“The future of drones could be to attach a speaker to the drone to warm swimmers up near rips, or follow the eastern states and drop rescue tubes out to sea for swimmers.”

Westpac Fremantle bank manager Tim McNamara , said they were proud to support the evolution of search and rescue services in the local community.

The drones will patrol the beaches until the end of April.