Demonstrating the drone at the beach, Source: Ajuntament de Gandia / Álex Oltra

Drones come to the rescue on Gandia beaches

Drones come to the rescue on Gandia beaches

The machines will aid drowning swimmers stay afloat

The City of Gandia launched a pilot project, on 18 August, that will use drones when helping swimmers who might be in distress and drowning. The name of the initiative, ‘Stop drownings’, says it all in that respect and speaks to the ambition of the local authorities to make their beaches completely safe for people enjoying their holidays.

The initiative counts on the collaboration of the Valencian regional government

Reportedly, 10 other beaches in the Valencia region will also implement this initiative, which is possible thanks to the support provided by the regional authorities (known as Generalitat). The drones will work together with the Red Cross rescue services to carry out surveillance support tasks in the bathing areas.

They will also drop life preservers to bathers in risky situations, if necessary. Given that the flying devices can cover distances faster than swimming lifeguards, it is only natural to use them in assisting the latter in their work.

Gabriela Bravo, the regional Minister of Justice and Interior, emphasized that the pilot project is not only “an effective instrument” in preventing drownings but also improves the rescue system overall. “We have incorporated new technologies with these unmanned aircraft into the 'Safe Beaches' plan that also includes the introduction of beach information staff”.

She added that once a person shows signs of drowning, the protocol allows the aircraft to help that person in a few seconds by providing a life preserver giving him a chance to stay afloat until the rescuer reach him.

The minister stressed that the drones will also monitor the state of the beaches, assess the influx as well as provide information since they can provide a lot of data. "The Generalitat wants to lead this project and given the level of satisfaction we are obtaining; we want to extend it to other beaches because each life that we save justifies the investment made".

Still, she warned that this innovation should not overshadow common sense, saying: "We have to continue working to educate citizens that they must act with sanity and prudence to avoid dangerous situations. We will be raising awareness about reckless behaviour that can lead to fatal outcomes”.



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