Tests currently performing on Rhode Island Beach.
A new invention will help lifeguards keep an eye on swimmers. It’s being tested in Rhode Island. Sarah Cody shows us “Emily
WESTERLY, RI – The beach area of Westerly is just beginning to open up for the season.
So, in a few short weeks these beaches will be the first on the east coast to feature potentially life-saving technology.
Meet a state-of-the art robotic lifeguard called “EMILY.”
Lisa Konicki, the Executive Director of the Westerly-Pawcatuck area Chamber of Commerce, has worked tirelessly to bring this invention to her town.
“EMILY” is an acronym for Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard, a name inspired by a California girl who died tragically at age 13.
It is intended to assist, not replace the human lifeguards.
Once a whistle is blown indicating a person is in distress, an EMILY would be deployed by one lifeguard who would operate it with a remote control from shore.
Another lifeguard would then follow the 4-foot-long bouy, which can race through the choppy waters at 24 miles-per-hour.
Once the “EMILY” reaches the struggling person, it acts as a floatation device until the lifeguard catches up.
Gina Fuller, a mom who grew up swimming here, thinks “EMILY” could be helpful for rescues in the dangerous rip tide.
But she doesn’t see it being helpful for problems with children in the shallow water or even for swimmers who go under the waves.
This is an undoubtedly expensive endeavor.
It is costing 23-thousand dollars to purchase two “EMILY’s” and send two lifeguards to California for training.
In addition to private donors, the chamber foundation has given 75-hundred dollars, the Rotary Club has donated 5-thousand dollars, and the town of Westerly has provided 10-thousand dollars, some of which is taxpayer money.
But there is some skepticism about the robotic lifeguard swirling around the internet.
Questions about the time and money spent on this brand new device. One comment even said would a jet ski be just as effective?
“EMILY” will be used on two town beaches in westerly, where the paying public and the local taxpayers will both benefit.
Will this robotic lifeguard live up to expectations?
Will Westerly become a model for other coastal towns all around the area?
Only time will tell.
Duration : 0:2:23