BEACHGOERS can expect to see more drones in the skies above them this summer, but these are not the work of voyeurs, instead, the flying devices are helping to keep swimmers safe.
During the summer season last year, when the region had 10 drones operating along its coastline, six lives were saved. That figure has been doubled to 20 this year.
Regional justice minister, Gabriela Bravo, explained that 20 drones have been sent to towns along the region’s coast to help lifeguards in their work at the beaches.
She said that up to June, there had been 24 drownings across the Valencia region, “A number which, in most cases, could have been avoided.”
Speaking on Thursday at a presentation of the flying devices in Burriana, Bravo said that this campaign “aims to multiply efforts with emergency and lifeguard services to reduce an unacceptable number of victims.”
“The non-manned drones have become an extremely useful tool, which allows people in danger in the sea to be located rapidly. Last summer six lives were saved in direct rescue actions, thanks to the 851 flights carried out along a total of 2,137 km of coast.”
“Thanks to these new resources”, added Bravo “we are improving our capacity to respond to possible drownings because we will be able to detect people in danger more quickly”. In fact, she added, “the drones can take off from their base in just five seconds and reach a speed of 85 kilometres per hour at the place where the emergency is being detected”.
The unmanned drones are equipped with floating devices which are dropped for swimmers who appear to be in difficulty. In addition, the drones are coordinated on a daily basis with the lifeguard and rescue services of the town councils to carry out surveillance support tasks in the bathing areas”.
In the province of Castellón six coastal towns have been provided with drones. They are: Borriana, Vinaròs, Peñíscola, Moncofa, Alcalà de Xivert and Oropesa.
In Valenica province another six beaches are being equipped with drones, in the towns of: Cullera, Gandia, La Pobla de Farnals, Miramar, Piles and Alboraia. In the province of Alicante eight coastal towns now have drones. They are: Altea, Benidorm, Dénia, Orihuela, Santa Pola, Jávea, Guardamar del Segura and El Campello.
Bravo stressed that the aim of the campaign is to save lives, which is why raising awareness is just as important as the technical and human resources involved in the campaign. “Through awareness-raising, we promote a culture based on prevention in our society. In this way, the Platges Segures project encompasses a global strategy: information on good practices and also human and material means so that, as our slogan says: Don’t spoil your summer. We want to see you again. A campaign in which we want to involve citizens in the prevention and fight against drowning”.
Bravo also reminded the public of the basic advice on how to reduce the number of drownings in the region’s bathing areas. “It is essential to respect the flags [showing the sea conditions], swim only when fully fit, avoid drinking alcohol, do not go into the sea when there is no lifeguard on the beach and be especially vigilant with minors,” she concluded.