Australian first to help save surfers’ lives

A new fleet of drones will be deployed to help prevent shark attacks with custom first-aid kits and technology rolled out to surf clubs up and down the NSW coast as part of a new strategy to help save lives.

In an Australian-first, the NSW Government will partner with Surfing NSW to deliver shark attack specific first-aid training, life-saving technology and custom first aid kits to more than 160 board rider clubs and surf schools across the coast.

As part of the shark incident response program, up to 20 drones deployed to patrol surf events.

Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall made the announcement today and said Surfing NSW would receive $500,000 in funding to roll-out the revolutionary strategy.

“Sadly, most recent shark attack victims have been surfers, so this investment is about doing everything we can to ensure they get help quickly,” Mr Marshall said.

“Every surfer in NSW will now have access to first-aid training through Surfing NSW’s Surfers Rescue 24/7 program, while customised medical kits and training will be supplied to more than 110 NSW boardrider clubs and 55 surf schools.

“To help keep surfers even safer, an additional fleet of 20 drones will be used by Surfing NSW to patrol their events, in addition to our world-leading fleet of shark-spotting drones already delivered by Surf Life Saving NSW.

“NSW has the largest shark management program anywhere across the globe and this is just another tool to help keep swimmers and surfers safe at the best beaches in the world.”

Surfing NSW CEO Luke Madden said partnering with the NSW Government would upskill surfers to ensure they had the knowledge and tools needed in dire situations.

“I think I speak for a lot of surfers in this state, when I say that we’re grateful for this support that will ultimately benefit all NSW surfers,” Mr Madden said.

“These skills and resources could prove life-saving, especially in remote regions where emergency services may be some distance away.

“Every one of us wants to make sure we have the skills and tools we need so that if the worst happens to one of our mates, we can do everything we can to save them.”

The NSW Government’s 2021-2022 Shark Management Program includes:

  • The largest fleet of shark-spotting drones keeping watch over 50 beaches;
  • 37 VR4G listening stations to detect tagged sharks;
  • 170 SMART drumlines;
  • The continuation of 51 shark nets between Newcastle and Wollongong; and
  • The SharkSmart app and community awareness and education programs and shark research.

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