WARRNAMBOOL lifesavers will have access to an eye in the sky as part of a pilot program.
Surf Life Saving Australia has partnered with Westpac to introduce three rescue drones in Victoria.
A team of drone operators will conduct patrols at beaches throughout the state.
David Rylance, who lives in Melbourne but grew up in the south-west, has been appointed as the chief drone pilot for the program.
"The drones will allow lifesavers to make more informed decisions and help make our beaches safer," Mr Rylance said.
He said the drones could be used to spot rips and distressed swimmers and aid in rescue operations.
Mr Rylance said the drones could also be used to spot sharks. He said the team of drone pilots would determine where the drones would be used based on events in the state.
Westpac Warrnambool bank manager Glenda Goldsworthy said the bank was proud to support the evolution of search and rescue services. "The Westpace Life Saver Rescue Drone program is another way we're helping local communities and supporting our surf lifesavers who work hard to keep our beaches safe during the busy patrol period," Ms Goldsworthy said.
"Australian families can now enjoy their time at the beach knowing this innovative technology will help to spot rips, distressed swimmers and potential hazards in the water."
Warrnambool Surf Lifesaving Club president Justin Houlihan welcomed the initiative.
"There is some potential for drones to assist in a wide scope spectrum across the Life Saving environment," Mr Houlihan said.
Westpac consumer bank chief executive George Frazis said the drones would provide eyes in the sky.
"This new technology will help lifesavers on the frontline to spot rips and distressed swimmers as well as assist search and rescue operations, meaning Australian families can feel safer," Mr Frazis said.