Shark-spotting missions in Australia are still weeks away as patrols wait for a helicopter from New Zealand.
The special rescue helicopter was bought and retro-fitted in Auckland but is still being finished and will miss the start of the Perth beach season.
Surf Life Saving WA's Chris Peck said aerial patrols would have started if the $2 million helicopter, fitted with first-aid equipment, floats and a winch, had arrived.
There have been calls to start patrols early after a shark attack was blamed for the death of swimmer Bryn Martin. He disappeared at a Perth beach on October 10 and his shredded swim shorts were found later that day. Even if the helicopter had arrived, it would not have been in the air the day Martin disappeared.
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"We choose to use that on weekends when we know we are likely to have more people at the beach."
Heliflite Pacific spokesman Brett Sanders said the Agusta Westland helicopter was in the spray booth and would be sent in a few weeks.
"This is just how long it takes to do a helicopter of this level of complexity, to a standard that needs to be done," Sanders said. "They all want it early but, contractually, it is on time."