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In 2017, AUAVS was contracted by the NSW Government Department of Primary Industries (DPI) to provide shark surveillance using drones at 32 locations across the NSW Coastline. The program runs during the school holiday periods to ensure the safety of water-users during the busiest periods.

Recently, the program was extended to include 50 locations, with patrolled locations in every coastal LGA. The patrolled seasons include the spring, summer and autumn school holidays, as well as the winter school holiday period in the Far North Coast, Mid North Coast and Lower North Coast of NSW. AUAVS also provides water-safety and marine-life surveillance to Surfing Events across NSW.

In addition to servicing the DPI for public water safety, AUAVS has partnered with the SES in the recent flood emergencies. The services AUAVS provided during the Lismore, Gosford and Sydney floods included; Search & Rescues, Rapid Damage Assessment using thermal imagery, 3D Mapping, and general safety inspections.

SLSNSW currently provide two separate UAV programs across NSW – a UAV Surveillance program funded by the NSW Government and a Membership UAV Program delivered by our volunteer surf club members.

These two programs are managed and delivered in a joint approach by the Australian UAV Service, the SLSNSW department managing UAV operations, with the overall aim of greater safety for beachgoers in NSW.

UAV Surveillance Program

This program is funded through the NSW Government Shark Management Strategy delivered across the last four seasons, and has been expanded again for the 2021-22 SLS season.

This expanded program increased the number of locations from 34 to 50, including popular tourist destinations on the far north and far south coasts of NSW and in the Greater Sydney region. Key points of this program:

  • Every coastal LGA along the NSW coastline will have at least one UAV patrol location during the 2021/22 SLS season;
  • There is now a total of 50 locations across the state under this NSW Government program, with 16 new locations being added to the 34 delivered during the 2020/21 SLS season;
  • Increased employment opportunities for regional areas through this funding;
  • All NSW Government funded UAVs will be fitted with a speaker attachment for live and pre-recorded messaging to beach users;
  • 50 SLSCs to be provided with a unit for surveillance use on weekends between holiday periods.

Membership UAV Program

SLSNSW also operates a Membership UAV Program, where UAV services are delivered across fixed and mobile locations across the state. The UAV services are used in:

  • The surveillance of sharks and other marine life;
  • The identification of rip currents and other hazards; and
  • The surveillance of swimmers and other beach users away from patrolled locations; and
  • Support of search and rescue operations

When used as part of a Surf Life Saving beach patrol, UAVs provide valuable intel which enable patrol teams to efficiently deploy people and other assets to carry out preventative actions and rescues.

The AUAVS in partnership with She Maps has launched a drone program for school students in Years 5-9 in NSW and the ACT, with a focus on getting more girls involved in engineering and technology. 

Schools interested in registering or finding out more information can contact or phone (02) 9471 8032.