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Surf Life Saving WA currently operates with an analogue communications system, which allows our metro lifesavers and lifeguards to communicate, but with limitations.
As it stands in regional areas like Yallingup, Broome and Esperance, they can only communicate via ‘line of sight’ between handheld devices – meaning they can only talk to other lifesavers and lifeguards if they can see them and there is no beach groyne, limestone or and geographical feature between them and the person they are trying to communicate with. Furthermore, they cannot communicate at all with SurfCom.
For our lifesavers and lifeguards in metro areas (as well as some in regional areas) the current analogue system does not allow communications with other emergency services, like the Water Police, the Volunteer Marine Rescue and other marine authorities. In addition, the current analogue system has no way of tracking the location of where our lifesavers are when they are on duty or responding to an incident.
Each handset of the new digital system will have GPS tracking capability, allowing SurfCom to monitor the location and progress of lifesavers and lifeguards who are responding to incidents. This is a significant function in ensuring the safety of our lifesavers and lifeguards.
The current analogue system does not provide much room for improvement; meaning the recommended option to improve metro communications and provide regional communications is to go digital.