Providing a new pathway into Surf Life Saving, the free drone pilot training program gives aspiring pilots the opportunity to don the iconic red and yellow uniform and patrol the NSW coastline without even getting their feet wet.
The training comes as part of the continuation of the Surf Life Saving NSW and the NSW Department of Primary Industries' unmanned aerial vehicle surveillance program established in 2017.
Training will be provided free-of-charge to applicants at eight locations between Forster on the NSW Lower North Coast and Cudgen Headland on the Far North Coast, including Yamba and Crescent Head.
Successful applicants will take part in a comprehensive two-day training program over one weekend.
Content will include a full day of practical flight training with an instructor and operationally specific information such as the identification of marine life and other hazards - such as rip currents.
For the first time, Forster and Crescent Head are being added to the DPI surveillance program and regular patrols in these areas will commence soon.
The first free UAV pilot training programs will commence at Crescent Head on October 19 and at Forster on October 26. Training program dates in other locations will be confirmed in the coming weeks.
Surf Life Saving NSW CEO Steven Pearce said the program organisers were anticipating a strong response to the offer.
"Our two-day UAV training program is first-class. It's a new pathway into Surf Life Saving for people who would like to volunteer as 'dry lifesavers' and help keep the community safe on our beaches and coastline," Mr Pearce said.
Upon completion of the UAV training program, new pilots will be required to join their local surf club and volunteer to pilot SLSNSW's drones for a few hours once or twice a month. It is a similar time commitment that traditional Surf Life Savers make.
People who have a current Remote Pilot's Licence (RePL) or other aviation qualifications, may be granted recognition of prior learning and only be required to complete the operationally-specific aspects of the course.