Castricum life guards get robot help thanks to Emily


Sea rescue workers in Castricum are to start experimenting with a robot rescuer, a remote-controlled buoy which heads at high speed over the waves to someone in trouble.

The robot, named Emily (Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard) is an American invention which has been 15 years in the making and has been tested on US beaches for several years.

‘The robot reaches speeds of up to 35kph which I am never going to reach,’ rescue worker Lennaert Zonneveld told broadcaster NOS. He spotted information about the robot online and arranged to bring it to the Netherlands.

The buoy can also be fitted with an intercom system to enable communication with the person. It also has a night vision camera and lighting. A sonar version has also been developed to look for people who are under water.

‘But the buoy can’t dive or drag people back, so we will always be around to pick up the person,’ Zonneveld said.

The Castricum brigade are involved in 250 to 300 rescues a year, of which around half are emergency situations.

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