The West

Drones on surf watch (cloned for SW 1338863881)
Drones on surf watch (cloned for SW 1338863881)

Unmanned drones could soon be monitoring swimmers and sharks off WA beaches.

The technology - normally used in military operations - will be tested as a surf lifesaving tool later this year.

Surf Life Saving Australia chief executive Brett Williamson said a three-month trial on Queensland's North Stradbroke Island was expected to start in September.

"This robotic drone program is an exciting innovation," he said. "This technology can be applied to a range of scientific areas such as monitoring erosion, bushfires and tracking shark movements. It allows us to spot a swimmer in trouble before something serious occurs.

"There's an old saying in surf lifesaving: 'If we can't see you, we can't save you'."

Surf Life Saving WA spokesman Chris Peck said although it was an exciting idea, there was no substitute for manned helicopter patrols.

The West Australian

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