Beachgoers urged to be familiar with shark safety advice before entering the water

Residents are encouraged to be familiar with shark safety advice before getting in the water. Photo: SharkSmart Twitter.
Residents are encouraged to be familiar with shark safety advice before getting in the water. Photo: SharkSmart Twitter.

With the summer holidays in full swing, beachgoers are encouraged to be aware of the latest science and advice on sharks.

NSW Department of Primary Industries deputy director general Dr Geoff Allan said the State Government was trialling an array of shark mitigation technology such as SMART drumlines and aerial surveillance this summer in a bid to reduce the risk of shark bites.

“NSW is leading the world in trials of SMART drumlines, which are both a shark mitigation tool and a research tool, that reduce the risk of interactions with sharks while minimising the impact on marine species.

“We are also using detection technologies, including aerial surveillance using helicopters and drones to observe sharks, and monitoring tagged sharks through our network of 21 satellite linked listening stations (VR4G).

“When sharks are observed or detected, alerts are posted on our SharkSmart app and Twitter.

“Our annual small grants program provides funding for new and emerging technology and research supported by experts outside government.

“Through our shark tagging program, which is estimated to be the largest in the world, we are continuing to increase our scientists’ knowledge about the movement and ecology of white, tiger and bull sharks,” Dr Allan said. 

Dr Allan said research into community attitudes found a large majority of people believe swimmers and surfers must always take personal responsibility when entering the ocean and that people would prefer to coexist with sharks.

Surfers are advised to consider personal deterrents while in the water.

Drones will assist lifeguards and lifesavers to spot any potential risks in the water at 19 beaches on the coast this summer.

Surf Live Saving (SLS) NSW chief operating officer Phil Ayres said agencies would continue to work to reduce incidents at the beach.

“The safest place to swim at any beach is in between the red and yellow flags. We are continually working to reduce the risk for beachgoers, but we can never make it 100 per cent safe,” Mr Ayres said.

“Drones are life-saving technology, allowing lifesavers to spot the risk and get straight to work to assist in preventing a potential shark interaction or drowning which will improve water safety and reduce the number of preventable injuries and deaths in the water.”