“I didn’t want [Ben’s] death to be in vain,” Ben Gerring’s brother Rick Gerring said in an emotional speech at Gearies Beach on Friday.
“Out of a tragedy comes something good.”
Almost one year after Mandurah surfer Ben Gerring lost his life following a tragic shark attack in Falcon, Mr Gerring’s family and friends, dignitaries and Mandurah residents gathered at Gearies Beach to officially launch the Beach Emergency Number (BEN) signs.
The new 81 signs are Ben’s legacy, and the result of nine months of lobbying by the City of Mandurah.
They include information such as nearby crossroads, emergency phone numbers and coordinates that beach users can share with rescue services to facilitate locating an emergency.
At the official opening event, Ben’s brother Rick said that emergency services took an additional six minutes trying to find Ben, in a situation in which every minute counted.
He said the new signs were a ‘gift’ that would help the entire community and hopefully save a life.
Mandurah mayor Marina Vergone said the signs could not only be used along the coastline but also in trails, paths and forests.
She said the City would like the system to become a state-wide approach and encouraged other local governments to come on board.
“It’s not brain surgery, it’s very simple and it should’ve been done a long time ago,” Mandurah mayor Marina Vergone said.
Both Mr Gerring and Ms Vergone said they would like to see the new government subsidising shark deterrent systems, such as shark shields, to protect local surfers.
Ms Vergone said she would also like to see the government reopening shark fishing.