The Great Lakes are known for their quick changes in personality. One minute, they can be cool, calm, and collected. But within minutes, waves as tall as you could be crashing into the coast. It can make for some dangerous conditions. On Lake Michigan, alone, in 2023, nearly 40 people drowned, which seems like a lot. However, the year before, it was three times that, and some years have even seen more than 100 souls lost due to dangerous waters.

Thankfully, crews have been hard at work to develop systems and train people to cut down on the amount of drownings each year, and 2024 might prove to be one of the most successful if E.M.I.L.Y. has anything to say about it.

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Specifically Berrien County's Silver Beach County Park will be receiving a new piece of technology that they hope will save lives out on Lake Michigan during difficult conditions on the water.

The Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard, aka, E.M.I.L.Y. will be positioned on the beach this year, and is a remote-controlled boat that doesn't require a human to be on board, only to control it from the shore. Officials can use it to drive out to struggling swimmers in dangerous waters, without putting another person's life in danger in the process.

Lifeguards can deploy it, and then control it from elevated vantage points from the beach, and even in high waves, and undercurrents, steer the boat toward the person in need.

Once it's there, the person in need can grab ahold of it, and use it as a floatation device to keep themselves above the water. Officials say they have already implemented it in other coastal areas, and have saved lives in Oregon during a particularly strong rip current.

E.M.I.L.Y. should make its debut in Berrien County this June, and if successful, could be expanded across other potentially dangerous areas in the Great Lakes as well.

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