Western Australia

More than 3,000 Western Australian surfers and divers boost their personal protection

shark stock image

More than 3,000 Western Australian surfers and divers now have better protection at WA beaches thanks to the WA Government’s world-first personal shark deterrent device subsidy.

The WA Government’s personal shark deterrent program, which began in May 2017, has enabled Western Australians to access a $200 rebate on scientifically proven devices through registered retail outlets.

At the start of the program, one device qualified for the subsidy – this was the FREEDOM7™. A second device, the FREEDOM+ Surf, was added to the program a year later (May 2018) after university testing showed it significantly reduced the risk of an encounter with a shark.

In December 2018, the shark deterrent subsidies were extended by a further 500 with $100,000 committed as part of the WA Government’s comprehensive shark mitigation strategy.

In the lead up to Christmas 2018, demand grew with 375 devices purchased over the festive period.

Of the 3,000 devices claimed so far about 400 devices have been purchased by surfers, while divers have snapped up the rest of the subsidised devices.

Personal deterrents for surfers and divers help Western Australians bring their sea sense to the beach and stay safe. The Sea Sense campaign, aims to inform ocean users how best they can use the strategies that are in place to help stay safe and enjoy the beach with confidence.

SharkSmart’s shark activity map has been improved as part of the campaign. This is the place for water users to get information about shark sightings, tagged shark detections, alerts and safety features at WA beaches.

Water users are urged to help each other by reporting shark sightings to the Water Police on 9442 8600. This ensures that SharkSmart and the Surf Life Saving WA Twitter service can alert the community, and beach managers can close beaches if necessary.

Source: WA Government