Lifeguards consider using drones to spot sharks

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DEL MAR, Calif. - Lifeguards across Southern California are considering using drones in an effort to spot sharks in the water.

The idea came to light after recent shark attacks in North Carolina that left three kids severely injured. Last year, 52 attacks were reported in the U.S., but only few resulted in series injuries.

“I think [drones are] able to see more of what’s going on in the water. If there is a way to connect that with the lifeguards then I think its great,” said Rancho Bernardo resident Laurie Brennan, who was visiting the beach in Del Mar Wednesday.

Recently, the FAA announced it would ease regulation in the nation’s airspace and anticipated the growth of ocean lifeguard drones. Lifeguards in Orange County recently used a $1,400 drone to patrol for sharks off the coast of Seal Beach.

Del Mar lifeguard Lt. Jon Edelbrock said their group hasn't explored using drones yet.

“It's not something we are employing or even talking about right now,” said Edelbrock.

He said it's normal to see sharks in the area.

“You’ll have nurse sharks off the coast here, sevengills are fairly prolific and a little further out we have blue sharks,” said Edelbrock.

Leopard sharks and juvenile white sharks are seen off the coast of Del Mar, Edelbrock said.

San Diego Fire-Rescue lifeguards are not currently looking at drones, but would be open to using them.