A lifeguard buggy and (right) a marine rescue drone on display. Image Credit: Sajila Saseendran/Gulf News

Dubai: After high-speed robot lifeguards, Dubai will be introducing drones that will drop lifebuoy rings to help save lives on public beaches.

Dubai Municipality has also introduced jet skis and beach buggies to patrol the beaches and shorten the response time in case of drownings.

The latest vehicles and devices for marine rescue operations in Dubai are on display at the exhibition of 3rd International Conference on Coastal Engineering and Management in the Middle East (Arabian Coast 2016) which was inaugurated by Hussain Nasser Lootah, director-general of Dubai Municipality, on Monday.

Mansour Al Beloushi, chairman and founder of Sanad Air Academy, a government-authorised academy for manufacturing and testing drones and training their users, said the academy has manufactured a custom-made drone for Dubai Municipality to assist in rescue operations on public beaches.

“It can drop up to four lifebuoy rings to swimmers who are drowning,” he told Gulf News.

The lifeguard drones have two cameras to scan the sea at day and night. These cameras use thermal images to locate the drowning swimmers. “It can reach 300m in five to six seconds, which is much faster than a lifeguard swimming to offer a ring. It can fly for 35 minutes and cover up to 7 sq km. It is also fitted with a light beam that can direct the lifeguards or boats to a swimming person.”

The drones will be used on Dubai’s public beaches from the beginning of 2017. “Every beach will have the drones. One drone will be used within a radius of 10km,” said Al Beloushi.

Ebrahim Mohammad Ebrahim Ali Juma, head of Coastal Zone and Waterways Management Section, said the municipality has just started using jet skis and beach buggies for rescue operations.

Five jet skis, two small beach buggies and five big beach buggies will cover seven public beaches managed by the municipality.

“Jet skis are specially used for deep water rescue while the buggies will be patrolling the beaches and will help carry the rescue packs, boards and buoys quickly,” said Khalid Jamal, the assistant head of operations of Lifeguard Services with the municipality.

Jumeirah 1, 2, 3, Umm Suqeim 1, 2 and Al Mamzar Beach and Corniche are the public beaches monitored by the municipality. Almost 100 lifeguards are designated at these beaches, said Tarek Abdeen, the operations manager of the lifeguard services.

Jamal added that some five people have already been saved using the remote-controlled robot lifebuoy shaped like a boat, also known as EMILY (Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard), ever since its launch in September.