Mullaloo Innovation and Technology


June 2017 – This project has now been decom­mis­sioned. Click here for more infor­ma­tion.

shark detection

Com­mu­nity News: Mul­laloo Shark Pro­tec­tion goes hi-tech

Beach­LAB is a col­lab­o­ra­tion between Mul­laloo Surf Life­sav­ing Club and Curtin Uni­ver­sity, which com­menced in 2013. Researchers are Curtin’s Cen­tre for Marine Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy (CMST) are cur­rently study­ing the appli­ca­tion of sonar tech­nol­ogy in detect­ing the pres­ence of marine ani­mals in a mon­i­tored area at Mul­laloo Beach.
Beach­LAB is look­ing at large-scale beach cov­er­age for detec­tion and alert rather than indi­vid­ual pro­tec­tion units used by some swim­mers. It also seeks to alert swim­mers of poten­tial marine threats audi­bly and visu­ally while they are in the water, rather than dig­i­tally through apps or online ser­vices.

Research cur­rently being con­duscted by Beach­LAB includes:

  • The effec­tive range of implanted tags inside the shark’s body
  • The effects of sea growth on the under­wa­ter instru­ments. These growths include algae, sea­weed and/or bar­na­cles on the receivers and can grow very quickly dur­ing sum­mer months.
  • The long-term effec­tive range of the detec­tors to ensure ade­quate cov­er­age and over­lap along larger dis­tances of coast­line.

This sys­tem has been a world first and was recently recog­nised at the WAITTA Incite awards as a National Final­ist.


This sys­tem was orig­i­nally devel­oped as a proof of con­cept, with fund­ing from the Club, vol­un­teer sup­port and dona­tions from organ­i­sa­tions such as, Whit­fords Sea Res­cue, RPS MetO­cean and RADLINK.

In April 2015, a sec­ond detec­tion buoy was deployed off Mul­laloo Beach, approx­i­mately 500m North of the Club and 200m off­shore. This buoy is also directly con­nected to the com­mand and con­trol sys­tem to provide addi­tional detec­tion capa­bil­ity at Mul­laloo Beach. The Club detec­tion buoys, along with the Depart­ment of Fish­eries detec­tion units, now provide us with more than one square kilo­me­tre of cov­er­age for tagged sharks. This is a world first for any beach.

The sys­tem is now being inte­grated into the gen­eral alarm sys­tem of the Club. Future under­wa­ter detec­tions will sup­ple­ment the obser­va­tions of life­savers on duty. It will also provide addi­tional detec­tion capa­bil­ity for tagged sharks on a 24/7 basis when the beach does not have life­savers on duty.

Fur­ther tri­als of SONAR tech­nol­ogy will con­tinue with CMST in the near future with the hope that one day a suit­able sys­tem will be devel­oped and funded to be imple­mented at Mul­laloo Beach.

Fur­ther infor­ma­tion can be viewed at this link.


Using Rescue Buoys on Abalone Patrol

Mul­laloo SLSC has recently tri­alled the use of rigid Res­cue Buoys on our abalone patrols, as an alter­na­tive to the soft res­cue tube. The Res­cue Buoys provide rigid han­dles which Rescue Buoysenable dis­tressed patients to hold onto a flota­tion device which is pro­vided to them. Being a rigid design, it can be thrown a sig­nif­i­cant dis­tance from either the IRB or land which is impor­tant to reduce the poten­tial of injury to res­cuers work­ing around a reef in wind and swell con­di­tions. These types of res­cue buoys are not being used by other Surf Life Sav­ing Clubs in West­ern Aus­tralia and the effec­tive­ness of the trial will be detailed and pro­vided to Surf Life Sav­ing WA. Our thanks to Peter Rogers from Cona­coPhillips Aus­tralia, who’s dona­tion enabled us to pur­chase the equip­ment.