Saturday, September 2 is the official opening of the Surf Life Saving WA’s Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter season.
The helicopter will be in the South West skies from September until April 30 2018.
Commencing three weeks earlier than last year, the South West service will patrol weekends from tomorrow, switching to daily services over the September school holidays where it will be flying over some of the most popular beaches in the area.
With the current Department of Fisheries shark warning for metro waters (from Leighton Beach to Sorrento) Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) Lifesaving Services Manager Peter Scott believes many will welcome the helicopters presence back in the sky.
“Without a doubt the helicopters give beach users an added degree of comfort,” said Mr Scott.
“The helicopters ability when patrolling to spot not only potential danger from marine life but also conditions such as rips, make them an extremely important surveillance tool for our lifesavers in keeping our community safe” said Mr Scott.
Over the 2016/17 season SLWA’s Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter service patrolled more than 100,000 km’s up and down the WA coastline, performing more than 906 patrol hours and, along with a range of other initiatives, continue to play a vital role in the State Government’s Shark Mitigation Strategy.
With volunteer lifesaving patrols not set to hit beaches until October, SLSWA urges beachgoers to take necessary precautions including checking SLSWA’s Twitter feed for any safety warnings or beach closures prior to heading to the beach.
The North Fremantle based metro service, patrolling from Mandurah in the south to Yanchep in the north, operates on weekends in September from 7am - 5pm and will go daily from October 1.
The South West Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter service covers the coast from Binningup in the north to Hamelin Bay in the South.
Following the September school holidays, the South West service will revert to weekend patrols, before recommencing daily patrols in November.