Surface vehicle could give assistance to lifeguards

Arizona-based Hydronalix has developed a surface vehicle that could provide assistance to lifeguards and help save lives.

The Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard (EMILY) is a 1.25m remote-controlled water vehicle that can reach speeds of 22 knots (25mph) to deliver rapid floatation to a drowning individual.

‘EMILY has been deployed from shore, boats, piers and even dropped from rescue helicopters,’ said Bob Lautrup, executive vice-president at Hydronalix.

Lautrup explained that EMILY has been developed over three years and that it is intended to be a tool for lifeguards but not a direct replacement for them.

‘It aids lifesavers by getting flotation to the individual to rapidly stabilise the situation,’ said Lautrup. ‘Then the lifesaver can complete the rescue.’

In high seas or white water where it is unsafe for a lifeguard to enter the water, a poly line can be attached to EMILY so that rescuers can tow victims to safety once the vehicle has reached them. ‘EMILY can be used in these circumstances without risking the rescuer’s life,’ explained Lautrup.

The device is propelled by a proprietary pump-jet and driven by an electric motor that is powered by batteries.

EMILY is now being used on both coasts of the US by lifeguards and first responders. Those testing the device have suggested several possible improvements that Hydronalix has factored into the latest models.

‘EMILY has entered production and the next step is marketing and sales,’ said Lautrup.