Towers for WA beaches
TEN semi-permanent, 5m-tall observation towers will be installed at some of WA's most popular beaches to spot sharks, rips and swimmers in trouble.
Surf Life Saving WA is also looking at expanding the use of surveillance drone patrols after eight out of 10 beachgoers said they made them feel safer.
The initiatives come after 28 people died swimming on the WA coast in the 2016-17 season, an increase of 65 per cent on the previous year.
The semi-permanent observation towers have been designed by SLSWA and will be made locally. It comes after imported towers have been trialled at Cottesloe, North Cottesloe and City Beach since 2014.
A study of all patrolled beaches from Esperance to Geraldton was undertaken by SLSWA to select priority locations, with the City of Stirling already considering contributing to the cost of four towers. One is planned for Brighton Beach and another at North Scarborough, in addition to the permanent tower being built as part of the Scarborough beach redevelopment.
A further two towers would be located at Trigg, one directly in front of the Trigg Blue Hole and the other centrally on Trigg Beach.
The towers will replace traditional beach patrol shelters and offer clear 180 degree views. There is also the potential to mount solar panels and CCTV cameras.
The towers cost $75,000 each, but SLSWA has secured a funding from Lotterywest to subside the cost. It means councils only have to chip-in $10,000 per tower. A SLSWA spokeswoman was unable to say where all the towers would be located or when they would be installed.
Results from a State Government-funded trial of surveillance drones was described as “extremely positive”, with SLSWA looking to expand the program.