Karekare Surf Lifesaving Club enters the drone zone

Last Updated : 24 Nov 2015
Kareakre surflifesaving
From left: Mayor Len Brown, Matt Williams (SLNZ Northern Region acting CEO), Jeremy Gershen (Karekare Lifeguard), Matt Wade (Karekare Surf Club Patrol Captain)

Karekare Surf Lifesaving Club is trialling the use of a surveillance drone to improve rescue response times and help keep people safe in the water.

The drone will be used to fly over areas that need to be searched to establish what other resources are needed for potential rescue operations. It will also help surf lifesavers keep an eye on swimmers and alert them when people swim outside patrolled areas.

Information from the drone trial will add to research being carried out in Australia, where drones have been used to great success by surf lifesavers.

Another pair of eyes

Karekare Surf Lifesaving Club’s patrol captain, Matt Wade, says the club is delighted with the drone.

“It won’t take away the need for rescue craft and lifeguards but it will give us another pair of excellent eyes where it really counts,” he says.

A gift from Guangzhou

The drone was a gift from Xiong Yifang, the co-founder of technology company Ehang, based in Guangzhou, China to Mayor Len Brown. The mayor decided to give it to Karekare after a discussion with club stalwart and Auckland Champion Sir Bob Harvey.

The Karekare club is 80 years old this season, the second oldest club in Auckland, and has saved 5000 people since its inception in 1935.

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