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.

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