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Surf Life Saving Western Australia operates two lifesaving helicopter services, both are known as Westpac Lifesaver Helicopters, with one flying in the Perth metropolitan area and the other in the South-West of WA.
The Perth Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter was launched in December 2008 and is a service provided by Surf Life Saving Western Australia. The helicopter service is supported by the State Government of Western Australia and Westpac, who have been supporters of Surf Life Saving for 40 years.
The Perth Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter, known as Lifesaver 8, is named the ‘John Roberts AO’ in respect of the late Mr John Roberts, a respected Perth business identity and long-time supporter of Surf Life Saving. That support continues today through the Roberts family’s ongoing support of the Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter.
The Perth Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter responds to emergency incidents across the greater metropolitan area and performs coastal patrols of the Perth metropolitan area between Yanchep and Mandurah, including Rottnest Island.
The South-West Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter is based seasonally at Busselton and responds to emergency incidents across the South-West region. It performs coastal patrols between Bunbury and Augusta. Both helicopter services perform seven day a week patrols during their seasons.
The highly trained crew are on the lookout for vessels and people in distress, incidents on beaches, rip currents and marine life, including sharks. Both helicopters are fully equipped to respond to emergency situations, including rescue and provide support to other emergency services such as Police.
Flight times and length of patrols will depend on a range of factors including weather conditions, tasking, beach usage and events and other environmental factors. The helicopters generally patrol for two hours per operational day, however this will be determined by the factors listed above and flight times may vary from day to day.
The helicopters are on stand-by to respond quickly to assist our lifesavers and lifeguards as required; as well as providing support to emergency services by conducting search and rescue both on water and land.
A Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter is on standby in the Perth metropolitan area 365 days a year for emergency response and patrol.
Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter (Perth) will patrol the following dates
Dates: September 1, 2013 to September 30, 2013
Monday to Sunday
Dates: October 1, 2013 to April 30, 2014
Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter (South-West) will patrol the following dates
Monday to Sunday
Dates: November 23, 2013 to February 3, 2014
The Westpac Lifesaver Helicopters play a crucial role in coastal safety and identifying emergencies. One of the roles of these aerial patrols is to keep watch for sharks and other marine life. With the helicopter's manoeuvrability; good viewing options; ability to fly at varying heights and to hover over potential sightings, the shark spotting service will be well equipped to protect beach goers. Both helicopters are fitted with GPS technology that can be used to pin point potential sightings; a public address / siren to alert swimmers; and the latest communication equipment to alert surf lifesavers on the beach, Water Police, the Department of Fisheries and relevant local government authorities.