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slsc reescueMORE government funding for shark spotting programs would be better spent on stemming Western Australia’s beach drowning deaths, according to surf lifesavers.

Chris Peck, the general manager of Surf Life Saving WA, says media and government focus continues to land on the relatively low number of shark fatalities in the state, rather than double-digit drowning deaths each year.

“If you’ve got that much money to invest in an issue, can we please invest in drowning prevention because 15 to 17 people in Western Australia drown at the beach every year,” Mr Peck told AAP.

“We’ve got such a myriad of issues in WA that we deal with from a coastal safety perspective and drowning is more significant than shark attacks and shark fatal deaths.”

Mr Peck’s comments came after SLSWA met with South African organisation Shark Spotters, which visited the state to lobby the WA government to adopt a method employed in Capetown.

Trained spotters have been placed on hills above eight of the city’s beaches since 2004, alerting the public when sharks are identified but Perth’s relatively flat coastline means the method would only work well on the state’s South West coast where there are more cliffs and hills.

Mr Peck said he believed the program had potential in the South West region but said it would be redundant for beaches patrolled by SLSWA, as lifeguards were already capable of spotting sharks.

“I think a holistic approach is needed rather than trying to segregate lines of responsibility,” he said.

Mr Peck said he had confidence in the current shark monitoring system used by the state, but expected it to be improved in coming years. To read more click here.

he 2016 Australian and New Zealand Search and Rescue Conference (ANZSAR); Land, Sea & Air will be held at the Jupiters Hotel, Gold Coast on the 1 June 2016.

To register for the conference CLICK HERE. Early bird registrations close on Monday 18th April so be quick to receive a discounted rate.


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