Shark spotting drones will be trialled at two Gold Coast beaches this summer to help keep water users safe.
The shark spotting drones will fly at Main Beach and Burleigh Beach every day of the school holidays, thanks to a new partnership between the Queensland Government and Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ).
Drone Operations Manager for SLSQ, Jason Argent told myGC the drones will be an extra eye in the sky for life savers to monitor the ocean, enabling them to immediately warn people in the water if a shark or other marine threat is spotted.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
“Drones are a really effective tool for life savers and life guards. It gives us that different perspective on what we are looking at in the water,” he said.
“Traditionally we look very flat at the water but when we put that aircraft up in the sky, we can actually see what is in the water and what is going on.
“We hope to detect any marine creatures coming, especially those dangerous ones.”
Drone pilots from SLSQ will fly the drones until 12pm each day, subject to weather and wind conditions.
Scientists from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries will also work alongside life savers to scientifically monitor the trial and determine the effectiveness of drones as an ongoing shark
mitigation tool in Queensland.
Opportunities to integrate Artificial Intelligence (AI) into drones to boost detection of sharks are also being investigated as part of the trial.
Senior Education Officer (Shark Control Program) at the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Katie Emmert told myGC the Queensland Government is doing its part to invest in the latest swimmer safety technology, but everyone needs to do their part every time they are on or in the water.
No matter whether you are swimming, surfing, diving, snorkelling, fishing or boating, here are some tips to follow stay safe and SharkSmart:
o Swim between the flags at patrolled beaches and check signage
o Have a buddy and look out for each other
o Avoid swimming at dawn or dusk
o Reduce risk, avoid schools of bait fish or diving birds
o Keep fish waste and food scraps out of the water where people swim
o Swim in clear water and away from fishers
For more information on how to be SharkSmart, visit: daf.qld.gov.au/sharksmart