Staying safe in the water as the weather heats up and the school holidays start is important to keep at the top of your mind. Rivers as well as the ocean can have strong currents and snags that are dangers to swimmers – though rivers generally have less sharks.
From September 23 a helicopter and drones will be taking to the skies on the NSW north and mid north coasts, as aerial surveillance and further drone trials get underway in time for school holidays. It will also see the launch of the new patrol season for NSW surf life saving who will be back on the beaches every weekend and public holiday through to April 25, 2018.
‘Spring and school holidays are here, and now that the weather is a little warmer we expect locals and holiday makers to flock to this State’s beautiful beaches these school holidays,’ said NSW Department of Primary Industries, Sarah Fairfull.
Helicopters will fly daily, weather permitting, from Point Danger (Tweed Heads) to South Ballina, Wooli to Sawtell, Nambucca Heads to Port Macquarie and Crowdy Head to Birubi during the school holidays.
‘Sharks are a natural part of our environment, however a better awareness and understanding of sharks and their behaviour can help everyone enjoy the beach and reduce their risk of a shark encounter these school holidays,’ continued Ms Fairfull.
Drones fitted with a siren to alert swimmers and surfers if a shark is spotted nearby, will be flying every half hour each morning of the holidays at Byron Bay, Lennox Head, Lighthouse Beach – Ballina and Evans Head. Check out drone vision here.
A network of 21 VR4G listening stations, which provide real time shark alerts to beachgoers when a tagged shark swims within 500m. Aerial surveillance sightings and tagged shark information is automatically sent out via the Sharksmart App and on @NSWSharkSmart on Twitter.
Shark nets and drumlines
35 SMART drumlines are currently deployed between Ballina and Evans Head, there are ten between Coffs Harbour and Sawtell and another ten at Forster/Tuncurry.
‘A second North Coast shark net trial will get underway at Seven Mile Beach at Lennox Head, Sharpes Beach, Shelly Beach and Lighthouse Beach at Ballina, and Evans Head Beach, in early November,’ Ms Fairfull said.
An additional 51 beaches between Newcastle and Wollongong are netted as part of the NSW Shark Meshing Program from September to April every year.