View Comments
Shark patrols take off for summer
Shark patrols take off for summer

Aerial patrols of South West beaches will be performed seven days a week during summer for the second year running.

The Surf Life Saving WA South West Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter will fly between Hamelin Bay south of Margaret River and Bunbury’s Inner Harbour.

The patrols, which perform shark surveillance and keep watch on swimmers, started on the weekend and will continue until February 3.

Surf Life Saving WA Lifesaving operations coordinator Matt du Plessis said the first weekend of patrols had been quiet.

He said if a shark bigger than 2m was spotted, the helicopter’s siren would sound to clear the water.

“If the helicopter is just hovering around, I would advise people not to worry, we might be looking at something else,” Mr du Plessis said.

The rescue helicopter is also equipped to deal with medical trauma including heart attacks and may land to help people in distress.

Mr du Plessis advised people who were planning a trip to the beach to go to patrolled areas and observe beach closures.

“Check our social media sites prior to going to the beach for the latest coastal safety information, so you can make informed decisions before entering the water,” he said.

The helicopter will fly between 7am and 5pm each day, weather permitting, and will land at each extremity to refuel before later making the return trip.

Mr du Plessis said although the helicopter could be restrained by weather conditions, it would fly most days during the season.

“It would have to be quite extreme conditions to not fly, it can handle most weather,” he said.

During the 2011-12 patrol season there were 77 confirmed shark sightings in the region.