Tribe invests in safety

REMOTE RESCUE–Marquette Fire Department Captain Tom Dunleavy carries an “EMILY” water rescue robot on the dock at the Baraga Marina. DNR personnel, right, also trained on the remote controlled battery powered jet boats. They have flotation to hold up 400 pounds. KBIC Aanikoosing economic development group is partnering with EMILY’s designer/builder. These two devices are going to Marquette beaches and Little Presque Isle, where two people drowned in June.

by Barry Drue

The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community is partnering with a company that has patented a four-foot rescue boat/buoy that can remotely save the life of a person in trouble in the water. KBIC’s economic development company, Aanikoosing, Inc., is making two of the robots available in Marquette County. The first two rescue robots represent over $20,000 in equipment and training in its use donated by KBIC. Andy Chosa and Jeffery Loman of Aanikoosing have worked on the project, spearheaded by the tragic drowning of a man and woman off Little Presque Isle in June. Those two drowning deaths pushed the number of drownings around the Great Lakes to 450 since 2011. Large waves, winds and rip currents overwhelm many swimmers each summer. The battery-powered jet boat can float about 400 pounds in the water and can handle rough seas and cruise up to 22 miles per hour. They are known as “EMILY” which stands for Emergency Inte-grated Lifesaving Lanyards. They are made by the Hydronalix company, and are very tough with fiberglass/Kevlar hulls, strong rechargeable batteries and jet drives. They can be tossed into the water off piers and even out of helicopters. To read more, subscribe to the L’Anse Sentinel online, or buy a print copy at our local retailers.