Surf Life Saving New South Wales will be using its drones to monitor Sydney beaches to make sure people are following COVID guidelines. The drones took to the sky over the weekend and are expected to be out until further notice.

The drones will also be monitoring parks and send real-time information to councils, which will then act on it and hand out fines if required. Bondi beach already came close to reaching 6,000 people when a temperature spike was recorded a few weeks back.

To keep people up-to-date with the latest information, the Beach Safe website and app will give users a real-time check of the capacity and if the area has been closed.

Northern Beaches Council Mayor, Michael Regan said:

“This partnership is a critical part of our summer COVID safety operations. Our aim is to keep our popular beaches and parks open so locals and visitors alike can enjoy them to the full this summer.”

Surf Life Saving NSW CEO Steven Pearce shared that they do not want to close the beaches, so they will be required to get as much information on beach attendance as possible to keep everyone safe before they head down to the beach and find it is closed.

“Drones have become an indispensable tool in Surf Life Saving operations. In addition to providing important beach attendance information to councils and police who make beach access decisions, our UAVs are used for marine creature surveillance, search and rescue operations, and spot beach hazards such as rips.

The following beaches are included in the initial drone trials. If the tests are successful and prove useful, it is expected that more beaches and parks in the state will have drones flying above.

  • Little Manly Beach and Reserve
  • Shelly Beach
  • Manly Beach
  • North Steyne
  • Queenscliff
  • Freshwater Reserve
  • South Curl Curl
  • Dee Why
  • Long Reef
  • Collaroy Beach and Reserve
  • Narrabeen
  • North Narrabeen
  • Warriewood
  • Mona Vale
  • Bungan Beach
  • Newport
  • Bilgola
  • Avalon
  • Whale Beach
  • Palm Beach

COVID in Australia

Many of the states in Australia have used drones to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, with Western Australia police using drones to ensure the public are following social distancing laws. Drones were also looked at as a possible method to disinfect streets and Australian malls. Australian company Swoop Aero has come up with a plan to use its medical drones to deliver COVID tests around the country.

Drones and COVID-19

Drones have been present throughout the global pandemic, with some saying that this demonstrates how truly useful they are. Recently, the University of California San Diego (UCSD) developed a disinfecting drone with UV-C lights. Many countries are using drones to disinfect public areas, along with monitoring busy areas to ensure people are following social distancing rules.

Photo: Sacha Styles

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