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Drone lifeguards to be used on Spanish beaches to save swimmers

Drone lifeguards will be used this summer on the Costa del Sol to help monitor holidaymakers and carry up to two life vests for swimmers spotted struggling in the water, reports the

Estepona council is preparing to accept visitors again after the coronavirus pandemic in the Spanish province of Malaga. It has announced that the region’s lifeguard service will be reinforced with the use of drones. Councillor Susana Aragon says the unmanned craft will be able to carry up to two life vests to swimmers in difficulty.

Meanwhile, the drone operators will be positioned on the beach and the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) should reach any struggling swimmers faster than normal. After dropping a life vest to someone in danger, the flotation device will inflate automatically on contact with the water, according to reports.

Aragon said it is the first time such technology has been used on the beaches in Estepona, but will only be called upon when necessary. She added the drones are strong and stable and can operate in high winds.

Carlos Poveda, CEO of Umiles Group, the company working alongside the city council on the project, said that the drones can reach a distance of 300 metres in between 30 and 50 seconds.

In 2018, a drone was used to rescue two teenagers from rough seas off the northern coast of New South Wales in Australia. Lifeguards were piloting the new technology when they received a distress signal.

They deployed the drone to search for the struggling swimmers and footage relayed back to the lifeguards showed two youths in distress. The drone released a flotation device and saved their lives.

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