These newsletters aim to share updates, learnings, and guidance about our current (and future!) service deliveries. If you wish to subscribe, please email

AUAVS Awards Winners Announced!

AUAVS is excited this year to have introduced the annual AUAVS Awards, our annual recognition program honouring outstanding individuals in the field of UAV operations. The awards aim to acknowledge members who demonstrate exceptional conduct, performance, and adherence to safety protocols. They embody our service objectives and uphold the core beliefs of Surf Life Saving NSW. We are pleased to announce the winners of this year’s AUAVS Awards:

AUAVS Pilot of the Year 2023: David Jansen
David Jansen, a member of AUAVS from the Far South Coast Region, is the recipient of the Pilot of the Year Award. With exemplary skills, expertise, and dedication, David has demonstrated exceptional leadership, integrating UAVs into club capabilities, and responding effectively to emergencies and search and rescue incidents with exceptional flexibility and resilience. David has also been nominated for the wider industry awards – Australian Aviation Safety Awards.

AUAVS Pilot of the Year 2023, Runner Up: Christina Arghyros

AUAVS Rookie of the Year 2023: Hugo Northam
Hugo Northam, who joined AUAVS during the 2022/23 summer operating period, has been awarded Rookie of the Year. Despite his relatively short time with us, Hugo has quickly proven his worth through his willingness to learn, strict adherence to protocols, and a passion for UAVs and aerial operations.

AUAVS Rookie of the Year 2023, Runner Up: Ryan Atkins

We congratulate David, Hugo, Christina, and Ryan for their outstanding contributions. Their achievements represent the excellence we strive for at AUAVS. We extend our appreciation to all members for their remarkable conduct and performance, as they play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and well-being of our communities.

We also really look forward to the upcoming wider SLSNSW Centre Of Excellence awards that will recognise the wonderful UAV volunteer members in our state-wide UAV team.

May Update 2023 1
James Bassam, Lachlan Smith, Emma Gale, Alexa Bowdich, Oliver Heys, and Paul Hardy
May Update 2023 3
SLSNSW CEO, Stephen Pearce, NSW Premier Chris Minns, NSW Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib, and SLSNSW President Peter Agnew
May Update 2023 2
James Bassam addressing guests

Long Range UAV Project Showcase at NSW Parliament House

Yesterday the Australian UAV Service presented NSW Parliament with our vision around the trialling of specialised long-range UAVs which could greatly enhance coastal safety and improve how we respond to emergency situations or natural disasters.

With the support of the NSW Government, the Long Range UAV Project aims to safely trial different types of drones that are capable of flying further and for longer, by operating beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS).

Read more about the week-long trial here.

May Update 2023 4
Derrick Inglis and Jacob de Bry at WSL Sydney Surf Pro at Narrabeen

UNSW Research Retreat at Sydney Airport

Last week, AUAVS attended the UNSW Aviation Research Retreat that took place at Sydney Airport. The purpose of the retreat was to foster collaboration between the UNSW School of Aviation and industry professionals, identifying challenges and exploring solutions through translational research. It was an excellent opportunity for AUAVS to contribute and showcase our expertise, and we were honoured to present alongside esteemed organisations such as Sydney Airport, Qantas, and Transport for NSW. Their involvement underscores the significance of this program and the potential it holds for the future of aviation. We look forward to sharing more updates as this exciting initiative progresses.

May Update 2023 6
Ryan Atkins, Christina Arghyros and Jason Childs

Recruitment Phase #1 Open for Winter Season

As we approach the start of the new financial year, we’re excited to announce that we will be offering all existing staff members the opportunity to reapply for your positions. Your dedication and hard work have been instrumental in our past successes, and we would be delighted to have you reapply for the new FY. Please only re-apply at this stage if you work at the following locaitons:

  • Fingal Rovers SLSC
  • Kingscliff/Cudgen SLSC
  • Salt SLSC
  • Cabarita SLSC
  • Byron Bay SLSC
  • Brunswick Heads SLSC
  • Lennox Head SLSC
  • Sharpes Beach, Ballina
  • Shelly Beach, Ballina
  • Ballina SLSC
  • Evans Head SLSC
  • Yamba SLSC
  • Sawtell SLSC
  • South West Rocks SLSC
  • Crescent Head SLSC
  • Town Beach SLSC

We have recently implemented a streamlined application process. To reapply for the upcoming season, we kindly request that you complete the application form by following the link provided below:

We will begin processing all applications in late June. The application form will allow you to update your contact information and verify your availability. Please note that this process is mandatory for all current staff members who wish to continue working with us in the new season. Please complete this application at your earliest convenience.

If you have any questions or require further assistance regarding the reapplication process, please do not hesitate to reach out to

May Update 2023 7

WSL Gold Coast Pro

AUAVS staff lead by Team Leader, Christina Arghyros, recently provided UAV water safety services for the WSL Gold Coast Pro held at Snapper Rocks from May 6 – 13. The team conducted 179 flights over a total of 2,760 minutes and covered 660 kilometers during the event. The team were kept on their toes with bait balls surrounding the competitors on a couple of the event days. During the event, there was only one shark sighted, and the event was placed on hold for 30 minutes to ensure the safety of the WSL athletes and free surfers nearby.
UAV water safety services for events is just one of the many opportunities available to AUAVS staff outside of normal operating periods, our pilots at these events work in pairs in a high tempo environment and have a lot of fun in the process. If you’re interested in upskilling to work as part of the event water safety team at events such as these, reach out to your Supervisor for information on how to become involved in events in your area.