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RLSS UK conduct lifesaving drone trials on a Cornish beach with RNLI lifeguards

Lifeguards News Release

The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) is working with the RNLI to test the use of a new Emergency Response Drone Pilot rescue service which they have developed with Eagle Eye Innovations (EEI).

Lifeguards on the beach preparing to launch the drone

RNLI/Claire Fitzpatrick-Smith

Lifeguards preparing to launch the drone

The drones, manufactured by Swell Pro, are waterproof and 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.

To test the use of the drones as part of an operational lifeguard service, the RLSS UK is working with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), to trial their use at Crantock Beach in Newquay.

Starting on Saturday 29 July, drone patrols may be visible to visitors to Crantock. Peter Dawes, RNLI Lifeguard Operations Manager, said:

‘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. 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 said: ‘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.’

Tim Mitchell, Head of Academy for EEI, said: ‘As one of the UK’s leading drone training organisations, it was a natural fit to build a training programme with the Royal Life Saving Society UK which is the leader in beach lifeguard training. Working with the RNLI will give a real opportunity to see how the capabilities of the drone can help meet the RNLI’s mission of saving lives at sea.’

Notes to Editors

RNLI media contacts

For more information, please contact Regional Media Officers Claire Fitzpatrick-Smith on [email protected] or by calling 07977 728 315, or Emma Haines on [email protected] or 07786 668 847.

Alternatively you can contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336 789.

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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