Tomorrow marks the offical start of the red and yellow flags hitting NSW beaches and this year 15 beaches will also have drones on hand to look for sharks as well as swimmers in distress.
The drones, formally known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), will be trialled as part of the beach safety surveillance program. The trials on the north coast will include Main Beach Kingscliff, Byron Bay, Lennox Head, Lighthouse Beach Ballina, Evans Head, Yamba and Coffs Coast as well as other beaches towards and below Sydney.
More than 20,000 active volunteer surf lifesavers will contribute their time to keeping the public safe on NSW beaches each weekend and public holiday until April 2019.
The NSW Coastal Safety Report released today stated that NSW surf lifesavers rescued more than 4300 people last season and contributed more than 660,000 hours on patrol.
However, there were 39 coastal drowning deaths, six more than was recorded the previous year, and is just above the 10-year average figure of 38.
Of most concern however, was that the majority of these occurred to males who got into difficulty swimming outside patrolled locations said a spokesperson for NSW Surf Lifesaving.