In a first for the Northern Territory, a new Westpac Life Saver Rescue Drone will operate from this week; as part of Australia’s first national roll out of lifesaving drones thanks to a partnership between Westpac and Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA).
Based on board the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Boat, Lifesaver 1, the new drone will operate year-round to provide additional eyes in the sky across Darwin Harbour and from Dundee Beach to Tiwi Island.
The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Drone will also be available to provide surveillance for coastal events, such as Territory Day and the Fannie Bay Swim, and additional support for emergency services as required.
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 surf lifesaving with search and rescue operations in the territory’s waterways, such as locating missing persons and distressed vessels.
Westpac State General Manager, Lester Wynne-Jones, said Westpac is proud to support the evolution of search and rescue services in the territory.
“The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Drone program will help local surf lifesavers in the Northern Territory by providing more eyes in the sky to assist those on the frontline. This technology will be an important tool for informing emergency responses and providing important assessments of rescue situations, meaning local families can feel safer,” Mr. Wynne-Jones said.
With 17 rescues and 164 preventative actions undertaken by SLS NT in the 2018 season, the Westpac Life Saver Drone program will enhance Surf Life Saving’s capacity to provide rescue services across the region.
Surf Life Saving Northern Territory spokesperson, Samantha Farrow, CEO further adds, “The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Drones will be hugely beneficial to surf lifesavers in the search and rescue team to help spot potential risks in the water as they happen.
“There is no better time than now to welcome new technologies that can help us protect the local community. We’re pleased to be able to continue our relationship with Westpac beyond our work with the Westpac rescue vessels to support local clubs and the Darwin community through the new Westpac Life Saver Rescue Drone program,” Samantha said.
The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Drone program saw the rollout of 51 rescue drones to Surf Life Saving clubs around the nation over the summer patrol period.