Lifesavers take to the skies

Chloe FraserBusselton Dunsborough Times
Matt Wenman, Dave Delroy-Carr and Ryan Watson will take to the skies this school holidays.
Camera IconMatt Wenman, Dave Delroy-Carr and Ryan Watson will take to the skies this school holidays. Credit: Chloe Fraser

Beach-goers can expect to see Surf Life Saving WA’s Westpac rescue helicopter take to the skies for daily patrols throughout the school holidays.

Air crewman Matt Wenman said an expected increase in visitors to the South West throughout the holiday period sparked the decision to conduct daily patrols.

“It’s also about reassurance for the community that there are services available,” he said.

“If we spot something we fly low and sound a siren to warn people.”

However, SLSWA lifesaving services manager Peter Scott also advised beachgoers take necessary precautions and check SLSWA’s Twitter feed for safety warnings or beach closures.

Last year patrol crews issued 121 direct warnings along the South West coast and reported 390 shark sightings.

Mr Wenman said the Busselton-based crew patrolled from the coast of Binningup to Hamelin Bay and hoped to take to the air twice a day if weather permitted.

Mr Wenman said the crew could also assist with at-risk swimmers and water searches.

“Previously it’s been a bit isolated but now we have direct communications with Perth,” he said.

“So if something did happen we can assist and be airborne within five minutes.”

The South West service will return to weekend patrols after the September school holidays and will recommence daily patrols over a 10-week period from November 24.

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