The State Government will fund an expansion of aerial patrols of Perth’s beaches, starting this Thursday morning.
Premier Richard Court announced today that patrols would operate every day of the week, from 6am to 9am and again from 9.30am to 12.30pm from Burns Beach to Waikiki.
The patrols would also cover Rottnest at appropriate times and would run until at least the end of the school holidays, after which the initiative would be reviewed in light of the best way to keep this sort of operation continuing.
Mr Court said last week’s tragic shark attack off North Cottesloe had sent fear through thousands of people who used Perth’s beaches every day.
This aerial patrol initiative was a proactive response to community concerns and had been developed in co-operation with Edith Cowan University and the Surf Life Saving Western Australia.
“Currently pilots trained through Edith Cowan University operate aerial patrols in the summer months on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays between 8am and 11am to provide a community service and to increase their flying hours,” the Premier said.
“From this Thursday, the State Government will fund an expansion of these patrols.
“There will be four pilots on board a Cessna Cutlass aircraft to be used - two for flying and two for spotting.
“They will be on the lookout for beach and surf conditions, people in distress, parking problems and also dangerous creatures in the water, such as sharks.
“The patrols will also be linked by radio to surf life saving and beach patrol personnel.
“Initially, where beaches are unmanned by lifesavers, the plane will circle when it sees a problem then fly at the beach and change its engine pitch to alert people that there’s a problem in the water.”
Mr Court said the State Government was also working with Edith Cowan University on the best way to communicate the patrol information to the general public.
Media contact: Justine Whittome, 9222 9475