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Lifesavers get night vision for GC beach

AAP logoAAP 16/11/2016 Ed Jackson

Low-light camera technology will monitor beachgoers at night on Surfers Paradise beach just in time for the start of Schoolies celebrations this weekend.

The $15,000 camera has been fitted on a high-rise building on the Surfers Paradise foreshore and provides high-definition footage to lifesavers.

It's the first time a low-light camera has been used to monitor a beach in Queensland.

The decision to install the camera at Surfers Paradise came after the beach was labelled a "coastal drowning black spot" in Surf Life Saving Queensland's (SLSQ) 2016 Coast Safe Report.

Eight people have drowned at Surfers Paradise in the past 10 years - all at night or outside regular patrol hours.

However, SLSQ chief operating officer George Hill doesn't want the new camera to be taken by beachgoers as an invitation to swim at night.

"It's really important to understand that we're not going to be patrolling or monitoring Surfers Paradise 24-7 during this initial stage, nor are we encouraging anyone to enter the water at night or outside of designated patrol hours," Mr Hill said.

"But, we're hoping this will give us an additional advantage when it comes to saving lives and proactively preventing incidents and injuries in the years to come."

More than 20,000 school leavers are expected to descend on the area around the Surfers Paradise foreshore for the annual Schoolies celebrations starting on Saturday.

During the initial trial of the camera, its footage will only be watched from 7am to 10pm each day until the start of the Christmas holidays next month.

"It's very welcome news, especially in time for Schoolies," Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said.

"But my message to both locals and tourists is that it is a criminal offence to swim at night time. The cameras are not there to think 'well, someone's watching, I can get in'."

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