FORT MORGAN, Ala. (WKRG) — There are no lifeguards on Fort Morgan beaches. It is up to the volunteer fire department to answer the call of swimmers in distress. They now have a new tool that is already saving lives.
An orange raft may look like the latest water toy but it is actually the latest lifesaving device now being used by the Fort Morgan Volunteer Fire Department.
“It’s called “Dolphin 1″ and what it is is a rescue buoy device. It’s powered by battery, operated by remote control,” says Chief Craig Rohman.
He demonstrated the new device in the calmer waters of the bay to show off what it can do Friday. At just under 30 pounds it travels at speeds of seven to 10 miles per hour. He says it is the quickest way to reach someone in trouble in the water.
“Power the unit up, swimmer gets in distress, we are able to send it out to them, they grab hold of it and safely bring them back to shore,” said Rohman.
Faster than any swimmer, “Basically you lay across the top of it like you would a boogie board,” says Rohman.
It is able to right itself if it flips over and it’s already been put to a real life and death test and passed.
“It does work,” says Rohman. “We were able to successfully rescue a gentleman a couple of weeks ago.”
Rohman says they are the only department in Baldwin County with these types of water rescue devices. They currently have two in operation.
In a perfect world, Rohman says they would love to have full-time lifeguards along Fort Morgan beaches but a device like this may just be the next best thing.