A makeshift lifesaving base made from sea containers will be revamped to become an emergency services hub, using a $1.3 million Lotterywest grant.
The Surf Lifesaving WA facility, based at Rous Head, Fremantle, will be built for specialised surf lifesaving training, a communications tower and a heliport to base the Westpac Lifesaving Helicopter, used for Perth patrols.
Surf Lifesaving WA chief executive Mark Irwin said the building - due to be completed in the first half of next year - was desperately needed to replace a demountable building and the portaloos used by lifesaving staff.
The building has sea containers propping up a small hangar for the Perth-based rescue helicopter, which is used in rescues and shark-spotting during the summer lifesaving season.
"We've basically a tent protecting millions of dollars worth of aircraft here," Mr Irwin said.
He said helicopter patrol staff would be trained in specialist skills at the new site, including how to winch beachgoers to safety.
Premier Colin Barnett, who presented the grant to SLSWA yesterday, said a "solid base" would help lifesavers improve emergency response times.
The building will be the radio communications hub for all SLSWA facilities using the organisation's SurfCom technology. It will also spend $490,000 of its reserve funds and a $50,000 donation from BlueScope steel for the building.