Navarre couple donates drones that will help rescue swimmers in the Gulf


NAVARRE BEACH, Fla. (WKRG) — As red flags are flying along the Gulf Coast, Navarre Beach lifeguards now have a drone that could save someone’s life.

The Gulf of Mexico is a beautiful sight to see but when red flags are up, it can be deadly. It keeps lifeguards busy this time of year.

“The drones are capable of dropping off a floatation device that has a water-soluble disk in it and it detonates a CO2 cartridge and it blows up,” Navarre Beach Fire Chief Danny Fureigh said. “It’s not a life vest. It’s a life ring and it gives them something to grab onto.”

Fureigh said Harrell and Irma Schaefer donated two of them to the fire department.

“The SwellPro 3 is the only drone that can take off and land in the water,” he said.

It can also broadcast a message about a missing child that can be heard up to a quarter of a mile away.

“We have a lot of missing children on the beach throughout the year,” Fureigh said.

Yellow flags for 10 days turned red Sunday which means no swimming in the Gulf but some went out into the water anyway which puts lifeguards in harm’s way too.

One of the drones will mostly be used at the beach while firefighters will use the other one. They say it will really help with fighting wildfires.

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