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ASB MAGAZINE:Surfing Western Australia is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Government of Western Australia that will promote WA’s shark mitigation strategy and educate surfers on how to keep safe.The State Government through the Department of Fisheries today announced vital funding for new water safety equipment for Surfing WA including a new jet ski and drones for surveillance at events and competitions.

The Government also announced funding over three years for the Surfers Rescue 365 program, which delivers free first aid training that is tailored specifically for surfers.The Surfers Rescue 365 program aims to provide recreational surfers with life saving skills sets via the provision of free training courses.

The idea behind the program is that surfers are in the water 365 days of the year dawn till dusk and therefore often the first to respond to emergency situations. Arming these surfers with these skills will go along way to making our coastline safer environment and forms a major part of Surfing WA’s ocean safety program. Each course consists of Board Rescue, First Aid and CPR training in a concise 3-hour session.

“Western Australia has an amazing coastline and some of the best waves in the world and therefore our beaches are very popular. With such a vast and sometimes remote coastline surfers are often the first on the scene when emergency situations arise in the ocean,” said Surfing WA CEO Mark Lane. “There is a great appetite from the surfing community to learn more around ocean safety and first aid. The Surfers Rescue 365 program provides surfers with this knowledge in short, comprehensive training sessions and with the fantastic support of the Western Australian Government we are able to provide this training for free and therefore reach more surfers across WA making our coast a safer place to enjoy.”

Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly was at Trigg Beach today to unveil Surfing WA’s new jet ski as well as four new initiatives to boost beach safety and announced a new campaign – Sea Sense – to encourage Western Australians to play their part in minimising the risk posed by sharks.

“While the risk of a shark encounter in WA is low, the McGowan Government is doing more than ever before to keep Western Australians safe at the beach,” said Minister Kelly. “These five new initiatives bolster our existing comprehensive shark mitigation strategy, giving ocean users more information, more choice and more assistance, so they can continue doing what they enjoy with confidence.”

The Sea Sense campaign aims to inform the community about the McGowan Government’s shark mitigation strategies, which are based on science and robust research, and how best to use them so people can keep enjoying the beach with confidence. The campaign will feature across print, television, radio and digital platforms.

Surfing WA welcomes and supports the Government initiatives to boost beach safety and it’s new measures to boost WA’s world-leading shark mitigation strategy which include;

– A new Independent Scientific Advisory Panel on Sharks: A panel of experts formed to provide advice to the State Government on the effectiveness of new shark mitigation technologies and scientific research into white shark populations, movements and behaviours in Western Australia;

– Development of a new SharkSmart app: A new app to be released in the first half of 2019 to provide real-time information and alerts direct to mobile devices;

– Whale carcass management: Collaboration across government departments and land managers to tow carcasses that are adrift, when conditions are suitable, and a program to trial additional towing options. Where possible, small whale carcasses will be towed, when removal by land is not practical;

– Refreshed SharkSmart website: New shark activity map now includes details about satellite-linked receiver locations, beach enclosures, Surf Life Saving WA surf club locations and locations of Beach Emergency Numbers (BEN) signs, to help people make informed decisions before heading to the beach.

These measures add to the existing evidence-based strategies which include enhanced beach helicopter and drone patrols; a world-first personal shark deterrent subsidy for divers and surfers; beach enclosures; an extended Shark Monitoring Network to Esperance; tagging operations; and a SMART drumline trial off Gracetown to start in 2019.

For more information, be sure to visit www.sharksmart.com.au