Far South Coast takes advantage of technology | Team wins national surf lifesaving award

FSC Branch UAV coordinator Connor Leayr puts drone use to the test on board Marine Rescue's boat. Picture: Supplied.
FSC Branch UAV coordinator Connor Leayr puts drone use to the test on board Marine Rescue's boat. Picture: Supplied.

Volunteers of the Far South Coast (FSC) continue to go above and beyond with new initiatives to help save lives.

The FSC support operations team won Innovation of the Year at Surf Life Saving Australia's Awards of Excellence at the Gold Coast on Saturday, November 9.

FSC Director of Lifesaving Cheryl McCarthy took pride in how well the FSC Branch works together with other emergency services.

"Being a small branch, it positions us at the forefront," she said.

Broulee's Wendy Law accepts the award on behalf of the Far South Coast support operations team at the Gold Coast on Saturday, November 9. Picture: Surf Life Saving Australia.

Broulee's Wendy Law accepts the award on behalf of the Far South Coast support operations team at the Gold Coast on Saturday, November 9. Picture: Surf Life Saving Australia.

"It hopefully inspires others to work together as well and give it a shot."

The support operations team involves duty officers, lifesavers on call out teams, Rescue Water Craft operators and drone operators.

They were awarded for their joint collaboration with Marine Rescue - the first initiative of its kind in Australia.

"In October last year, we had talked about putting an IRB on the back of their vessel to cut down the response time," Ms McCarthy said.

"It all went great; we now have a huge capability with the distance and remoteness we face."

The joint operation was led by Bermagui Marine Rescue and Bermagui Surf Life Saving Club. It is ideal for search and rescue situations along the rugged coastline.

Further to the initiative, lifesavers wanted to test the use of drones from the Marine Rescue boat.

The idea came after the support operations team assisted police in a search for a missing man at Eden.

Marine Rescue Bermagui and Bermagui SLSC practising the joint operation last year. Image: Supplied.

Marine Rescue Bermagui and Bermagui SLSC practising the joint operation last year. Image: Supplied.

"It took an hour to get to the location for the land search, which we covered about 2km of headland," Ms McCarthy said.

"It was not easy to access by vehicle."

The search prompted lifesavers to "try things a little differently".

"Instead of four hours, we could cover the area in 30 minutes by boat and a drone," Ms MCarthy said.

"Being able to search from the water, is much easier than land.

"We have now been working with drones, flying them off the back of Marine Rescue's vessel.

"It helps us search places along the coast that are hard to access - it's a huge time saver."

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