Surfing WA provides a vital role in hosting both international and national surfing events in Western Australia every year, including the upcoming Margaret River Pro, which is part of the World Surf League annual competitions held globally at 11 iconic locations.
Collaborating with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Surfing WA works to ensure robust plans are in place for shark hazard mitigation during events to keep competitors safe.
For surfing competitions, drones now play an important role in providing effective aerial surveillance to detect sharks at surfing competitions and during other programs. The World Surfing League also uses drone technology for its shark surveillance program.
The new jet ski provided by the McGowan Government will also increase safety, because they are used to quickly remove participants from the ocean when required. Surfing WA will use it to replace an aging jet ski, so they can continue to operate two jet skis for water safety at events.
Jet skis are the first line of response and when the operators work closely with drone pilots they can survey areas of ocean quickly.
The WA surfing community has also benefited from the monthly Surfers Rescue 365 courses run year round by Surfing WA, to increase skills and confidence amongst surfers so they can assist others in distress.
As stated by Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley:
“Surfing WA has an impressive record in administering surfing in our State and the McGowan Government highly values their energy in promoting their sport and improving safety in general for all surfers.
“Surfing competitions are held around our State, so it’s important we keep competitors safe and improving rescue skills amongst our surfers in general also helps the wider community.
“The new jet ski and drone for Surfing WA come at a cost of $29,000 and the additional $90,000 will help them deliver the Surfers Rescue 365 program for the next three years.
“Local economies benefit from surfing competitions and when we can give participants and spectators alike greater confidence and surety that will help the growth of surfing as a sport.”