Volunteer or get paid to fly drones at Far South Coast beaches this summer

It's comforting to know our lifesavers have eyes in the sky, spotting dangers or hazardous situations to keep us safe at the beach.

The Surf Life Saving Far South Coast Branch has acquired four new drones for use this summer and operators were wanted.

Far South Coast Branch UAV coordinator, Joel Doble, will soon run a training program to recruit drone pilots from Batemans Bay to Pambula.

The 18-year-old started flying drones at Batemans Bay Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) two years ago. Since then, he has been hooked.

"I began with paid work for the DPI program and then kept it up with my volunteer patrols and progressed to become branch coordinator," he said.

Joel Doble sends a drone out off a rocky cliff on the Far South Coast.

Joel Doble sends a drone out off a rocky cliff on the Far South Coast.

Joel said "it's patrolling done differently" and they were not hard to fly.

"Drones are great for your cognitive and motor functions, it keeps you thinking," he said.

"It's really good fun; for people like me who enjoy a hands on role - it's exhilarating and fulfilling."

Tathra and Pambula SLSCs were first to trial the Surf Life Saving NSW UAV program in 2018, followed by Batemans Bay.

It was recently announced, Narooma and Broulee SLSCs were next to receive two drones each.

"One drone is dedicated to paid staff for the DPI shark surveillance program and the other is for volunteer use during a patrol or emergency callouts," Joel said.

Joel welcomed the program at Broulee and Narooma.

"It's providing coverage for the central area of the branch, where previously we didn't have any aerial assets on our regular beach patrols," he said.

Joel said Surf Life Saving drones have been a very handy tool.

Most recently, volunteer pilots assisted lifesavers during a search for a missing snorkeler at Durras and provided aerial surveillance when a whale carcass washed in to Broulee Island.

"They are another asset to help locate a missing swimmer or detect a marine creature - you can quickly put it up and get a birds-eye view," Joel said.

Joel said 20 people had already expressed their interest to become a volunteer drone pilot, and hopes to hear from more people, including those from outside the surf club community.

"Anyone can sign up and do the training to fly them," he said.

"The training provided can take someone who has never used one before, to become a skilled operator."

To become a volunteer drone operator, submit your expression of interest, HERE.

To apply for a paid position in the DPI shark surveillance program, CLICK HERE.

This story Volunteer or get paid to fly drones at Far South Coast beaches this summer first appeared on Bay Post-Moruya Examiner.

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