BEACH WATCHER: Northern NSW Life Saving co-ordinator Stephen Leahy at Shelly Beach, Ballina. Picture: DAVID NIELSEN
BEACH WATCHER: Northern NSW Life Saving co-ordinator Stephen Leahy at Shelly Beach, Ballina. Picture: DAVID NIELSEN

Cameras will help keep beaches safe

By EMMA O'NEILL

A NEW set of eyes and eight cameras will be patrolling our beaches this summer. Stephen Leahy has been appointed as the new Northern NSW Life Saving co-ordinator, and is excited about his role and the new coastal watch surveillance system due to start in two weeks.

Three of the eight cameras have been installed at Byron Bay, Lennox Head and Ballina, and Mr Leahy said they would be used to monitor beach conditions and overall beach safety, especially in unpatrolled areas.

"It will allow a lifeguard to monitor multiple beaches from one surveillance point," he said.

Mr Leahy said the surveillance system would not replace a lifeguard sitting on the beach, but would assist them during rescues and allow them to watch unpatrolled beaches.

Mr Leahy said members of the community would be also able to see the footage online to check surf conditions.

"The community will only see what is on the screen. We will be able to zoom and move the cameras when needed," he said.

For the first time in three years a refresher program will also be run for lifeguards.

Mr Leahy moved to Ballina from Sydney a week ago and said he loved being able to see the ocean from his lounge room. He has been previously involved with lifesaving as the%national manager of Life Saving Services.

"I've been involved with lifesaving for many years and it really is like a big family," he said.



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