Lifeguarding Technology: the New Wave

Two men lifeguarding on beach with drone hovering above the sand.

At the beginning of July 2023, EEI conducted some training with water safety experts RLSS UK, facilitated by the RNLI. This training was delivered on a beach in Cornwall, allowing the newly qualified operators to see not only the benefits of using this new lifeguarding technology, but also the challenges, that come with operating a drone in this environment.

The beach environment offers an excellent training ground for drone operators, providing a unique blend of ideal conditions and harsh realities. Training in this setting allows remote pilots to prove the quality and capabilities of today’s lifeguarding technology, particularly the SwellPro Splash Drone 4, specifically in their routine lifeguarding responsibilities. By simulating real-time problems and encountering actual scenarios they will face daily, trainees gain invaluable experience and develop coping strategies personalised to them.

Operating drones on the beach presents a multitude of challenges that highlight the versatility and adaptability of these aerial devices. Encountering uninvolved people on the beach is a common occurrence, requiring drone operators to navigate the air space to achieve the required task while maintaining safety distances and protocols.

Additionally, logistical factors such as battery charging and signal interference become evident in this environment, emphasising the need for effective operational planning and a detailed understanding of the operating area.

The constantly changing beach environment poses a significant impact on drone flights. Strong winds, shifting tides, and unpredictable weather conditions force operators to adapt their flight strategies accordingly. Training in such dynamic conditions allows pilots to understand the limitations of their drones and adapt their techniques to ensure successful outcomes.

Practical training on the beach enables remote pilots to explore the full potential of drone technology in real-time scenarios. It demonstrates how drones can support lifeguards by providing aerial surveillance, rapid response, and increased situational awareness. By witnessing first-hand the effectiveness of drone deployment, operators gain confidence in utilising this technology to enhance their lifeguarding duties.

While theoretical training provides a foundation of knowledge, conducting training in the actual operational environment is paramount. Trainees witness the importance of proper training and learn to operate safely and in accordance with UK CAA policy and legal regulations.

By experiencing the challenges and rewards of beach drone operations during training, remote pilots develop the skills necessary to fulfil their responsibilities effectively.

In conclusion, drone training in the beach environment offers trainees an opportunity to tackle real-time problems, navigate logistical hurdles, and witness the impact of environmental changes on drone operations. By honing their skills in these conditions, remote pilots gain practical experience, develop coping strategies, and unleash the true potential of drone technology in lifeguarding duties.

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