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Night camera to monitor Surfers Paradise after dark

For the first time, Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) will roll out low-light camera technology at Surfers Paradise from this weekend in a bid to ramp up beach safety ahead of Schoolies Week and the peak summer months.

SLSQ currently monitors beach usage and surf conditions at numerous beaches across the state via its network of 33 coastal cameras; however this marks the first time in the organisation’s history that it will employ the new technology to review after-dark activity.

While hoping the camera will help boost safety at the popular beach, SLSQ chief operating officer George Hill ESM stressed it wasn’t a green light for people to go swimming at night.

“It’s really important to understand that we’re not going to be patrolling or monitoring Surfers Paradise 24/7 during this initial stage, nor are we encouraging anyone to enter the water at night or outside of designated patrol hours,” he said.

“But, we’re hoping this will give us an additional advantage when it comes to saving lives and proactively preventing incidents and injuries in the years to come,” he said.

The new technology comes after SLSQ recently identified Surfers Paradise as a particularly high-risk coastal blackspot following eight drownings in the past ten years, all of which occurred at night or outside of patrol hours.

“Initially, we won’t have lifesavers sitting there monitoring the beach every minute around the clock,” Mr Hill said.

“Rather, we’ll be using it in these early stages to gather further data and information about beach usage, high-risk behaviours, and any other areas where we can look to improve safety or possibly implement additional services down the track.

“And obviously, if lifesavers finish up for the day and report that there are still a lot of people on the beach, it gives us an opportunity to log-in from SurfCom or anywhere in the state and keep a close eye on the situation,” he said.

Mr Hill encouraged all beachgoers to put safety first this summer.

“At the end of the day, we want people to go the beach and have fun this summer but, more importantly, we want people to go home safely to their friends and families,” Mr Hill said.

“Swimming at unpatrolled times or after dark is a recipe for disaster; it’s not only extremely dangerous but it also puts our lifesavers and lifeguards at extreme risk as well.

“As always, we strongly urge any beachgoers this summer to swim only at patrolled locations, during patrol times, and between the red and yellow flags.”

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