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Aerial shark patrols begin

29 November 2011

shark patrol The annual fixed-wing shark coastline patrols from North Haven to Rapid Bay will resume operating from 28 November and continue throughout the summer between 11am and 8pm on weekdays.

The fixed wing patrol planes fly more than 1000 kms along the coastline every weekday, and complement helicopter patrols on weekends and public holidays that have already started.

During the week popular beaches from North Haven to Sellicks are swept hourly with extended flights down as far as Rapid Bay several times a day, and on weekends and public holidays, the patrols extend as far as Victor Harbor and Goolwa.

On sighting a shark in close proximity to swimmers or the shore, the plane will circle above the shark and sound a siren. This is the signal for swimmers to leave the water as quickly as possible.

As a matter of routine, patrols will notify the South Australia Police (SAPOL) and if the sighting poses a particular risk to public safety, SAPOL will manage the incident in conjunction with other emergency services.

Swimmers should also observe the following steps to ensure their own safety:
- always swim at a patrolled beach and between the flags
- never swim alone
- avoid swimming at dawn, dusk or night
- never swim in murky water
- avoid swimming near fishing activity and avoid schools of fish
- be aware of the tides and their impact on sand bars.

The aerial beach patrols will complement water borne patrols and services provided by SAPOL, Surf Life Saving SA, Volunteer Marine Rescue Associations and other government agencies.