Helicopter patrols of Capes beaches kick off again this weekend. The phased roll-out of regular patrols across the South West will ramp up to daily patrols again this summer, with swimmers and surfers warned most Capes beaches do not have lifesavers on the ground. Surf Life Saving WA general manager Chris Peck said the two choppers carried out 724 patrols, 24 search and rescue missions, and instigated more than 80 beach closures across nearly 1000 hours of flying time in 2020-21. “Our helicopters provide unrivalled ability to cover large areas of our coastline in minimum time, warning tens of thousands of beach-goers of potential dangers each season, and assisting other search and rescue agencies in vital emergency response activity,” he said. “While we have several on-beach Lifeguard Services currently operational, our volunteer lifesaver patrols do not commence until October, so the helicopters have an even more important role to play in the interim as we see the weather starting to warm up and people heading back to the beach.” An agreement between SLSWA and the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River will see lifeguards return to Rivermouth in December. Regular visitors were urged to check SLSWA’s Twitter feed for beach updates and all users were encouraged to download the SharkSmart app. Shark sightings could be reported to Water Police on 9442 8600.