On Sunday 16th December, Westpac announced a partnership with Surf Life Saving Australia to roll out Westpac Life Saver Rescue Drone Program (WLSRD) - Australia's first comprehensive national surf rescue program using innovative drone technology, delivering 51 drones to beaches around the country this summer.
Based at Frederick Henry Bay, The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Drone will perform critical aquatic search and rescue surveillance for surf lifesavers during busy patrol periods. The drone will also be available across the state and throughout the year to support emergency services as provided.
The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Drone can relay vision with pin-point accuracy, and will be able to use thermal imaging and a loud speaker to assist search and rescue operations such as missing persons, drownings and floods. The drones will also help to spot rips, distressed swimmers and potential hazards in the water, and have the potential in the future to drop buoyancy devices to assist swimmers until help arrives.
Westpac State General Manager for Tasmania, Lester Wynne-Jones, said Westpac is proud to support the evolution of search and rescue services in the state.
“The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Drone program will help local surf lifesavers across Tasmania by providing more eyes in the sky to support patrols and emergency services.
“This new technology will assist those on the frontline by informing emergency responses and providing important assessments of rescue situations, meaning Australian families can feel safer,” Mr. Wynne-Jones said.
With over 93 rescues and 9,225 preventative actions undertaken by Surf Life Saving in Tasmania in the 2017/18 season2, the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Drone program will enhance Surf Life Saving’s capacity to provide rescue services at more locations throughout the state, and deliver critical response surveillance when needed.