Lifesaving drone trials conducted on UK beach
The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) is working with the RNLI to test a new Emergency Response Drone Pilot rescue service developed with Eagle Eye Innovations.
To test the use of the drones as part of an operational lifeguard service, RNLI lifeguards have been trailing their use at Crantock Beach in Newquay, Cornwall.
Manufactured by waterproof drone specialist Swell Pro, the drones are said to be capable of improving observation of people in the water, broadcasting pre-recorded and live messages via a Tannoy system, and have the potential to deploy lifesaving items, such as inflatable buoys.
“The River Gannel that runs through the middle of Crantock Beach and, particularly at low tide, makes access across the broad expanse of beach and to the water’s edge difficult for our patrol vehicles,” says Peter Dawes, RNLI lifeguard operations manager.
“The drone will allow the lifeguards to undertake rapid observations across a wide area, and the integrated speaker system allows the lifeguards to help inform and give proactive safety advice to the public. RNLI lifeguards play a vital role in keeping the public safe when they are visiting the beach. We welcome the opportunity to be part of the RLSS UK’s trial and help them develop this lifesaving equipment within an operational beach set-up.”
Robert Gofton, CEO at RLSS UK, comments: “We are excited to see how this trial develops drones becoming a piece of equipment to support the lifeguards of the future. Drones have been around for a while, and we are constantly looking for ways to use their capabilities in helping to keep people safe on our very busy beaches.”
The RNLI recently joined forces with British Canoeing on a new safety campaign to focus on stand-up paddleboarders (and other paddle sports) after a significant increase in rescues.