Jet-skis to deter sharks at WA beaches

Premier Colin Barnett has unveiled 12 new jet-skis to be used by WA lifeguards to help prevent shark attacks at popular beach spots.

The jet-skis will allow lifesavers to monitor the coast from the water, a different approach to traditional stationary patrol-methods.

Surf Life Saving WA has been promised the jet-skis by the state government, funded by a $500,000 package over two years, as part of a $6.85 million shark mitigation program.

Mr Barnett said the bolster in lifeguard presence in the water had been introduced in response to recent shark attacks, drownings and a high number of recues and will "give beachgoers added confidence" at both metropolitan and country beaches.

"Most people are contentious of a serious of fatal shark attacks that we've had over the last 15 months, hopefully people will be safe this year."

Mr Barnett said the first six jet-skis have been delivered and will be based at Perth beaches from Fremantle to Mullaoo, with SLSWA teams on call year-around.

Mark Irwin president of Surf Life Surf WA said that lifeguards will use the funding to "move away from traditional patrol methods" and expand their patrol along coastlines that had recently increased in popularity.

"Rather than having just a stationary patrol where you have a group of patrolling members sit in the middle of the beach, that patrol will probably be a smaller amount of people and more of those people will be engaged with community awareness, patrolling the beaches in ATB vehicles and also patrolling on jet-skis and in-shore rescue boats out in the water along the coastline."

Shark sightings

Within 24 hours of the jet ski unveiling, several of Perth's beaches were closed on Sunday after a number of shark sightings.

North Cottesloe, Scarborough, and Trigg beaches were closed on Sunday morning after fishermen saw what they believed to be a great white shark about 800 metres off the coast at 7:20am.

The eyewitness reported that the shark was longer than the 4.5 metre boat.

A tiger shark was also reported 650m off Floreat Beach at midday, following a sighting of several sharks feeding off bait hours earlier 800m from shore.

Another shark was reportedly spotted at 11am off the coast of Swanbourne.

All beaches were re-opened by 1pm, after helicopters monitored the area and could not confirm any more sightings.

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