Shark-spotting drone patrols beach

Shark-spotting drone patrols beach

In Seal Beach, Calif., the Marine Safety Department’s new $1,400 drone is working overtime protecting summer beachgoers.

According to Patch, the city’s drone was originally purchased to photograph the annual Junior Lifeguard Program, but when video showed 10 to 12 great white sharks close to shore, lifeguards realized the drone’s potential. Previously, lifeguards confirmed shark warnings by jetskiing to the sharks’ reported location, which took enough time for the sharks to move on.

With the drone, lifeguards can spot sharks from 100 feet up, and zoom down for a closer look. Additionally, the drone images allow lifeguards to measure the sharks, closing the beach only when large or aggressive sharks are sighted.

In addition to shark spotting, lifeguards say they can see the shape and length of riptides, which are also hard to see from land.

About the Author

Connect with the GCN staff on Twitter @GCNtech.


  • business meeting (Monkey Business Images/

    Civic tech volunteers help states with legacy systems

    As COVID-19 exposed vulnerabilities in state and local government IT systems, the newly formed U.S. Digital Response stepped in to help. Its successes offer insight into existing barriers and the future of the civic tech movement.

  • data analytics (

    More visible data helps drive DOD decision-making

    CDOs in the Defense Department are opening up their data to take advantage of artificial intelligence and machine learning tools that help surface insights and improve decision-making.

Stay Connected