New drone pilots trained in NQ

Lifeguards and volunteer surf lifesavers in the state’s north have undertaken drone pilot training to assist in the delivery of additional surveillance activity.

Surf Life Saving Queensland Lifesaving Operations Coordinator Jason Argent said the pilots were being trained to operate either sub-2kg or sub-7kg drones.

“Four drones are now located across Port Douglas, Cairns, Townsville and Mackay, thanks to the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Drone program. These high-tech devices help our patrols monitor marine life along the coast, including crocodiles and sharks,” Mr Argent said.

“The drones assist us to identify and track crocodiles on land and in water, and the potential benefits of that are huge.

“It allows us to be a lot more proactive in the manner we go about protecting swimmers, monitoring the water for marine life, and closing a beach if and when we see a crocodile nearby.”

Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas was closed for an afternoon last month following the sighting of a crocodile which was monitored by a Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Drone.

Mr Argent said drones provided a different perspective and viewpoint to surveillance activity, further boosting the level of protection offered by patrols.

“It is vital that our beachgoers continue to swim between the red and yellow flags as this continues to be the safest place to enter the water,” he said.

“Not only will our lifeguards and lifesavers on the beach be able to see you, but our ‘eyes in the sky’ can further ensure your protection. This week’s training will enable more patrol members with the ability to use drone technology.

“If and when a marine creature is spotted, we close the beach and alert you when it is safe to re-enter the water. We just want everyone to enjoy our beaches safely, and our drones are helping to achieve this.”

If you spot a crocodile, report it immediately to CrocWatch on 1300 130 372.