A LIGHT bulb moment has prompted a Mid-North Coast drone operator to up the ante on shark spotting this summer.
Adam Fitzroy of Forster has captured countless beautiful images of marine life swimming off the coast of the Great Lakes. There have also been a few tense moments when his drone spotted great white sharks cruising the popular Tuncurry surfing spot, Nine Mile Beach.
In response to claims he was only waiting for someone to get bitten, he decided to do something.
Finding little on the market in the way of drone alarms, he decided to make one himself.
"It was so simple and effective it took me five minutes to make and two minutes to think about," he said.
I want to establish a solid relationship with surfers and swimmers.- Adam Fitzroy
Currently in the process of patenting his design, Adam said it was essentially a 140dB alarm fitted to the drone and powered by internal batteries.
He also believed it was only right to do something given the hundreds of sharks he had spotted off local beaches in the last two months alone.
"I had to take some kind of initiative because of the amount of shark sightings," he said.
"It's not my responsibility to patrol beaches but if I do see some kind of imminent danger I want to be able to alert people."
With his drone now equipped to capture more than just great images, he is determined to let surfers and swimmers know they have got a friend in the sky.
"I want people to know if they see my drone and I sound my alarm it's to warn them," he said.
"Otherwise all is well."
And getting the message out there has taken on even more importance after the alarm was ignored by two young surfers.
While flying his drone off Nine Mile Beach this week, he spotted a large great white swimming worryingly close to a pair of young surfers.
When he sounded his alarm, they viewed it as a nuisance rather than a warning.
Eventually the shark changed direction and headed out to sea, but the outcome could have been very different.
Adam admitted there is every possibility the young surfers didn't know what the alarm intended, but that only made him more determined to get his message out there.
"That's my mission," he said.
"I want to be an advocate for drone safety."
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