Port Macquarie beaches will soon be a lot safer after it was announced that the town is one of the locations to be receiving a new Rapid Response Vessel, designed to protect swimmers from shark attacks this summer.
The upcoming launch of the vessels comes as the NSW Government ramps up its shark management measures ahead of a busy summer season.
Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders said the four new Rapid Response Vessels, which will be located along Sydney, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour and Ballina, form part of the Government's world-leading Shark Mitigation Program.
"These Rapid Response Vessels will be strategically located along the NSW coast to provide rapid assistance to first responders in the event of a shark incident at our beaches," Mr Saunders said.
"While the chance of a shark encounter remains low, the NSW Government continues to leave no stone unturned when it comes to protecting beachgoers, proudly earning us the title of overseeing the largest shark mitigation program in the world."
Mr Saunders said the NSW Government has invested a record $86 million over the next four years to deploy new and conventional technology across our coastline.
"Our Shark Mitigation Program includes 305 SMART drumlines deployed daily across the NSW coast to intercept, tag, relocate and release sharks, 37 tagged shark listening stations, shark meshing at 51 beaches and 50 drones to spot sharks in the water."
Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience Steph Cooke said with the school summer holidays beginning, beachgoers are reminded to take precautions to keep themselves safe.
"There are simple steps swimmers and surfers can take to be safe, including staying close to shore, avoiding murky waters and keeping up to date with the NSW Government's SharkSmart app," Ms Cooke said.
Surf Life Saving NSW CEO Steven Pearce welcomed the announcement from the NSW Government and said the Rapid Response Vessels will add another layer of protection for swimmers this summer.
"This equipment will bolster our extensive UAV (drone) surveillance program conducted by Surf Life Saving NSW at 50 locations along the coast. Combining our eyes in the sky with a rapid response capability will provide beachgoers with even greater peace of mind this summer," said Mr Pearce.
Further information about the NSW Shark Mitigation Program, including the locations of nets, SMART drumlines, tagged shark listening stations and drone operations, can be found at www.sharksmart.nsw.gov.au/current-program
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