Little Ripper Arrives In Port Macquarie

Little Ripper Arrives In Port Macquarie

A state-of-the-art drone pilot training school opened in Port Macquarie today.

Member for Port Macquarie, Leslie Williams said the Westpac Little Ripper Lifesaving Unmanned Aerial Training School is Australia’s first training school for people to operate drones.

“The NSW Government is committed to working in conjunction with Surf Life Saving NSW and Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter to keep our beaches and other coastal areas safe.

“The Government has allocated $11 million over three years to fund water safety projects to reduce the incidence of drowning across the State, which includes $4 million for Surf Life Saving NSW to enhance their rescue capabilities.

“New technology such as the Westpac Little Ripper Lifesaver may present safer ways for our lifesavers to patrol the coast.

“This is an exciting concept for our area which will see people trained to operate drones specifically to assist in the saving of lives,” Mrs Williams said.

“The Training School is located in the purpose-built Surf Live Saving NSW administration building in Central Road in Port Macquarie.

“Surf Life Saving NSW has collaborated with the Ripper Group (who have developed the drones) in the testing and roll-out of the training program,” Mrs Williams said.

“A number of volunteer and professional life guards have had extensive training to operate the drones which are used for shark spotting.

“The drones could also reduce the time it takes to locate and come to the aid of people in danger or distress.
“I understand that the drones could also assist in identifying potential hazards, such as rip currents, allowing lifesavers to issue warnings to swimmers or position flags.

“These eyes in the sky have come a long way from simply being a hobby device to becoming life saving pieces of equipment.

“The Training Academy will also roll out a high school program as well as offering qualifications for people with restricted mobility.

“The sky is the limit for the way drones can be utilised in communities with a range of possible uses including the agricultural industry, construction industry as well as photography,” Mrs Williams said.

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