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NSW Government Launches New Sea Smart Tech

New technology will be keeping beachgoers safer this summer with the Smart Beaches project providing real-time data to almost 50 beaches in NSW, helping the region’s lifeguards more accurately predict beach conditions using GPS and smart cameras.

The Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government stated that the NSW government had invested AU$ 1.6 million to expand the project beyond the Northern Beaches and Lake Macquarie to five new council areas up and down the coast this swim season.

He noted that wave detection buoys, artificial intelligence cameras and surf rescue boards fitted with GPS technology to gather accurate data will be used on beach conditions to enable lifeguards to be better prepared for the busy summer ahead.

These smart devices will provide real-time readings on tide conditions and wave patterns, as well as help to predict how many people will visit the beach, how long they will stay and the most popular times for a swim.

The Smart Beaches project will allow beachgoers to feel safer at the surf, knowing the lifeguards have the latest data on hand to be better prepared for dangerous conditions and prevent incidents both in and out of the water.

The Minister for Local Government stated that the expansion of the trial will mean more councils will benefit from new technology. The data insights help councils make better decisions about when and where to roster lifeguards, decisions that could save lives, she said. As a result, this programme will now be expanded to beaches in Randwick, Central Coast, Wollongong, Newcastle, and Sutherland.

The Member for Manly noted that the technology had been successfully trialled at Freshwater, Shelley, South Steyne and Dee Why beaches. Over the summer of 2020-2021, 88 lives were lost in the surf. Thus, the technology will help lifeguards make more informed decisions to reduce that toll.

The state’s lifeguards will require all help they can get monitoring the surf, conditions, crowd numbers and keeping our beachgoers safe. An app is also being developed for Summer 2023/2024 that will help councils streamline existing reporting and data systems into one, easy-to-interpret dashboard. Funding has been provided through the Smart Places Acceleration Programme, an AU$45 million allocation as part of the Digital Restart Fund.

About the Smart Places Acceleration Programme

The NSW government has launched the NSW Smart Places Acceleration Programme, an AU$45 million initiative that helps place owners – including councils, government agencies, property owners, and regional organisations – partner with the State Government to solve problems and improve the quality of life for communities across regional and metropolitan NSW.

The programme will seek to:

  • Support economic and community recovery post COVID-19
  • Encourage partnerships with and co-investment from local councils and industry to deliver smart place initiatives
  • Support advancement and implementation of the NSW Smart Places Strategy
  • Ensure NSW remains the leading state in implementing Smart Places initiatives

The Minister for Customer Service stated that this programme will connect and empower communities by driving investment in new technology and data. The aim is to use technology to make life easier for people. Be it busting congestion or improving health outcomes, the funding aims to strengthen communities. The government is calling on expressions of interest and encourages all relevant councils and place owners to bring forward ideas.

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