Muriwai beach using drones to save lives

Beachgoers at a popular west Auckland beach will have an extra pair of digital eyes on them this summer.

The Muriwai Surf Life Saving Club will be operating drones to survey the rugged coastline, hoping their eyes in the sky will help save lives.

Muriwai volunteer lifeguards have been trialing two drones equipped with cameras to act as their aerial surveillance.

"We realised about two year ago after an incident where we lost somebody and couldn't find the body frankly that we needed an eye in the sky," volunteer lifeguard Tim Jago says.

Unlike a boat, the drone can be launched within two to three minutes, giving a birdseye view to where human help needs to be directed.

And unlike a helicopter - its cheap, about $5000 a unit.

The trial earned an Innovation Award for the Muriwai Surf Club.

It's planning to train 25 volunteers so every shift can use the drones, it will also have to get civil aviation approval to operate over DOC land and people.

If successful the club plans to expand to other northern beaches and hopes that one day, they could even act as a lifesaver.