THE first drone patrol at Port Bouvard Surf Life Saving Club was a success with swimmers helped out of a rip.
The drone was put up on Sunday and director of lifesaving Cameron Baker was surprised the technology proved its worth so quickly.
Within minutes of launching the drone to investigate what appeared to be a rip near the groyne, Mr Baker was able to see two swimmers were caught in the rip.
Mobilising a club IRB crew, which was already on the water, they were able to assist the individuals to swim parallel to the shore and out of the rip.
“Initially most people don’t realise they are caught in a rip, it is only when they try to swim back to shore or start to tire that they realise they are in trouble,” Mr Baker said.
“This is where we can really see the value of the vision that these drones afford our lifesavers.
“To be able to see a potentially risky situation from the beach, put the drone up into the air to provide additional surveillance and, as a result, prevent what could have developed into a much more serious situation, is invaluable.”
Surf Life Saving WA’s (SLSWA) Drone Patrol, supported by the WA State Government, is operating across five Perth beaches, with more locations due to roll out across summer.
“Surveillance is the cornerstone of what we do as lifesavers and the integration of this technology provides a new perspective on traditional surveillance methods,” SLSWA general manger Chris Peck said.
“The improved situational awareness that Drone Patrol can add to localised surveillance activity will significantly compliment the regional role performed by surf life saving’s Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter service.”