Myrtle Beach Ocean Rescue has yet to deploy an EMILY unit

"EMILY" ocean rescue device still unused, remains valuable
Published: Sep. 7, 2018 at 3:21 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 7, 2018 at 5:18 AM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - It was a $61,000 purchase to help with water rescues along the shores of Myrtle Beach, but they have yet to be used this year.

The device is called Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard, or "EMILY," for short.

We spoke with Myrtle Beach Ocean Rescue about the purchase and why they have yet to be used.

Four of the robotic life guard units were purchased by the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce this year, and while they have yet to be used as summer wraps up, Myrtle Beach Ocean Rescue said they're still a great tool to have in the right situation.

"A lot of the calls we went on this year we're closer to shore or they were unconscious so the EMILY didn't work for that situation," said Lieutenant Jonathan Evans.

So what is the right situation?

Evans said the EMILY units can only be used if a distressed swimmer is conscious during a rescue, for example a rip current rescue.

Diana Green with the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce who helped with the purchase of these units still believes strongly they were a good investment.

"Anything that we can do that will assist with public safety, especially on our beach which is our bread-and-butter," said Greene.

Evans agreed, referencing a plane crash last year near Myrtle Beach State Park, an accident he believes the EMILY unit would have been deployed.

"Last year when we had the plane go down, that would be a perfect example. The person was conscious - we could've shot it out there they're good and safe," said Evans.

This summer, Myrtle Beach Ocean Rescue recorded two drownings, both in which the EMILY unit was not needed.

While each summer the goal is to make through with zero drownings, both Green and Evans are proud of this season's work with local lifeguard services.

"We're very happy with that and I'm always happy when we're not having to utilize it but glad we have in case it's ever needed," said Greene.

"Overall, I think it was a very good and successful year, definitely for first year taking over the program, the water rescue itself went well and we are looking at ways to improve for next year" said Evans.

Myrtle Beach Ocean Rescue will still be patrolling the beach throughout the fall with the EMILY units on hand.

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