MARINE SERVICES: Marine Rescue NSW Evans Head Unit Commander Karen Brown at the Razorback Lookout which will participate in the new shark alarm system.
MARINE SERVICES: Marine Rescue NSW Evans Head Unit Commander Karen Brown at the Razorback Lookout which will participate in the new shark alarm system. Samantha Elley

Shark alarm to be in by November for Evans Head

THERE will be a shark alarm system operating at the Evans Head Surf Lifesaving Club by mid November, says Richmond Valley CEO John Walker.

Marine rescue to the rescue

And it is likely that the local marine rescue unit at Razorback Lookout will participate in the warning program, as long as the sound of a loud alarm doesn't interfere with an emergency radio call.

The plan is to have an alarm that can be activated by lifesavers, police or even a third-party private security firm, in the event of a shark sighting at Main Beach.

Initially Marine Rescue NSW raised concerns that a shark alarm located at the Razorback lookout radio room - and activated by a third party - could pose a noise risk to emergency marine radio communications if not set up correctly.

"Monitoring the water for sharks is not our core business," said Marine Rescue spokesman Dean Storey - indicating that listening out for and responding to emergency distress calls on the radio network took precedence.

"But considering where we are located at Evans Head if we are in a position to help we will."

Dean said his organisation was happy to have further discussions with the council on the matter.

Local pilots can help

Meanwhile, Rod Kinnish, president of Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Heritage Aviation Association, said local pilots could offer a warning service from the air for as little as $10/hr.

Already aircraft flying along the coast between Cape Byron and the Clarence are advised to phone triple-0 if they spy a shark.

Rod admitted aerial surveys were not completely reliable because as soon as a plane flies past it is Murphy's Law that says a shark will surface immediately behind it.

"It's more of a feel good thing for the people on the beach," he said. "It makes them feel comfortable."



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