Aerial shark patrols to start today
Fixed-wing aerial shark patrols will begin along Adelaide’s metro and south coast waters, with many South Australians expected to hit the beach for the first weekend of summer.
Patrols are starting two days earlier than scheduled due to recent shark sightings which, coupled with warm weather this weekend, increase the likelihood of sharks infringing on popular beaches.
The fixed-wing aircraft will patrol the metro coastline from North Haven to Rapid Bay and south coast beaches between Victor Harbor and Goolwa between 9.45am and 7.30pm seven days a week until April 2017 (subject to ongoing risk assessments). Additional patrols are scheduled during January’s VACSWIM program.
In the event of a shark sighting that poses a risk to a member of the public, the aircraft will fly continuous orbits in the vicinity, sound a siren and advise the South Australian Police.
On hearing the siren, swimmers should leave the water as quickly as possible.
The fixed-wing patrols complement Surf Life Saving SA’s helicopter shark patrols at 18 community aquatic events between December 2016 and April 2017, and the Westpac beach safety patrol service.
The Emergency Services Levy (ESL) supports the fixed-wing and rotary wing (helicopter) shark patrol surveillance service. This summer nearly $400,000 will be invested in the patrols.
Following a public tender last year, a three-year contract to provide fixed-wing shark patrol services was awarded to South Australian company Hartwig Air based at Parafield Airport.
Quotes attributable to Emergency Services Minister Peter Malinauskas
For many years, fixed-wing and helicopter patrols have proven to be a very effective way of warning swimmers, boaters and other people enjoying our beaches of the presence of sharks.
It’s important to be aware of your surroundings when you are in the sea, or participating in water based activities. While the patrols will keep an eagle eye out for any sharks infringing on our beaches as best they can, our coastline is expansive and they can’t be watching over every beach at every hour of the day.
If you spot a shark, stay clam and move slowly toward a boat or the beach. Any shark sightings should be reported to SA Police as soon as possible.