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Drone life-saver program rolling out across Australian beaches this summer

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Australia is the world’s largest island and the smallest continent (Oceania).

Along with a gigantic coastline, great weather and a litany of deadly animals, the lucky country down under has some of the world’s best beaches.

As millions of Australians and tourists make their way to beaches this summer, Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) has partnered with Westpac bank to launch a surf rescue program using drones.

51 UAVs are due to be deployed in locations around the nation and will be tasked with conducting beach patrols to ensure swimmers and paddlers stay safe while in the water.

Between June 2017 and June 2018, 249 Australians drowned. 20 percent of those deaths (50) occurred on beaches. With some beaches such as Bondi in Sydney hosting as many of 50,000 visitors a day, SLSA wishes to do all they can to prevent harm befalling the public.

What will the drone do as part of the program?

The main purposes for these drones are to give surf life-saving crew an overview of what’s happening on a beach at any time. When not patrolling, they might be on standby and then rapidly deployed to the scene of an emergency in order to transmit critical information about rips or swimmers who may be struggling to stay afloat.

At the beginning of 2018, we brought you a story of two teenage boys in Australia who were saved from drowning after a drone dropped flotation devices. The drones rolled out in this initiative will not initially be equipped with floatation devices but they do plan to do so in the near future.

Westpac Group CEO, Brian Hartzer, told Gizmodo: “This technology gives surf lifesavers more eyes in the sky to spot rips and distressed swimmers, and respond to those in need sooner.”

The drones are to be coupled with better lifeguard training and further research into the causes of deaths and injuries all with the hope that swimmers and beachgoers will be safer this summer.

Surfer’s Paradise, Queensland

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