Following on from the Shark Watch program that was launched in 2009/10, a new volunteer initiaitve was launched at the end of 2010 which was referred to as Coast Watch Clarence (CWC).
Where the Shark Watch covered areas from South West Rocks all the way up to the N.S.W/Queensland border, the CWC focused its efforts on a much smaller region of the NSW coastline around the Clarence Valley.
The CWC program commednced operations on the 18th Dec 2010 and ran trhough the entire school holiday period until it’s conclusion at the end of January 2011.
Essentially the aim of the trial was to test the effectiveness of the aircraft to deliver effective aerial surveillance capabilities over the period of the year when the beaches are at their busiest – the summer school holidays.
Each day an AutoGyro MTO Sport was flown along the beaches of the area strethcing from Woody Head, north of Yamba down to Wooli which is roughly halfway between Yamba and Coffs Harbour on the N.S.W Mid North Coast.
During the week a single run was done with the aircraft leaving Yamba at 10a.m, and on the weekends a second run was carried out which left Yamba at around midday.
The feedback from both the public and the surf clubs was very encouraging, with all parties quickly recognising the unique abilities of the aircraft to rpovide a vital service that can potentially save lives.
Local media including radio and newspapers also commednted favourably on the potential of such an initiative, and there was small amount of corporate spo0nsrship provided by Carpet Court to help civer some of the operating costs.
While it was hoped that the CWC would be in operation agin in 2011/12, it has been decided that the initiaitve will be put on hold for the time being, but hopes are extremely high that it will return in some form or another in the future.