Air beach patrols ready to roll

Aerial patrols of metropolitan beaches start this weekend and WA beachgoers are urged to take care as the weather warms, with spring often a busy season for rescues.

Surf Life Saving WA's Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter will patrol between Yanchep and Mandurah and out to Rottnest every weekend this month.

It will be in the air seven days a week between October and April, flying for about two hours a day.

The Fremantle-based helicopter is on standby every day of the year to respond to emergencies on the water or land and helped search for missing fishermen David Navin and Ivan Hallissey off Two Rocks this week.

It was involved in 57 search and rescue missions in 2013-2014, supporting police and volunteer marine rescue teams.

In February, the helicopter's rescue swimmer Cameron Coulson was the one to spot three fishermen who spent 15 hours in the ocean after their boat sank near Rottnest.

SLSWA figures show the helicopter also carried out 37 preventive actions and spotted 126 sharks during 425 hours of patrols last season.

SLSWA's other Westpac rescue helicopter, based in Busselton, will start its surveillance patrols on November 1.

During 278 hours of patrols last season, the Busselton helicopter was involved in 10 emergency incidents, carried out 21 preventive actions and spotted 117 sharks.

Volunteer lifesaver beach patrols will start at metropolitan beaches next month.

Lifesavers rescued 1386 people last season - a 26 per cent rise on the year before. They also stopped a record 38,337 swimmers from getting into danger.

The West Australian

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