A new piece of equipment now in the hands of Albany Sea Rescue is bound to save lives according to the group’s president. Volunteers were given a demonstration of the Dolphin 1 remote-controlled lifebuoy on Sunday before it was added to their arsenal of rescue equipment. ASR president Colin Bairstow described it as a “horseshoe life-ring with two enclosed propellers which can be individually driven remotely”. He said it will be an important tool when the ASR crew is unable to get its boat into dangerous areas such as when people are stuck on coastal rocks. “When we had that paraglider at Sharpe Point caught up on the rocks . . . if we had this item we could have driven it into him with a piece of rope and dragged him out,” he said. “The rescue might have only taken 10 minutes instead of us being there for 40 minutes.” He said there had been “four or five incidents at least over the last seven or eight years where we could have used it” and that it would be available on the boat for every operation. “This will save us from doing erratic things that you might otherwise think you need to (do) in the spur of the moment,” he said. “This item can replace a person being in the water and give a lot of confidence to the person being rescued that they can grab hold of a solid item being controlled by us in the boat. “At some point, it will save a life, there is no doubt in my mind.” The lifebuoy has a radio control range well beyond 500m and Mr Bairstow described it as “just like driving a remote-controlled car”. “I’m surprised we haven’t had an item like this sooner because we have had radio-controlled boats and aeroplanes as toys for 40 or 50 years,” he said. “The capability has been there and this has only come on the market in the last few years.” The item was purchased from ASR funds along with sponsorship from Harvest Road and Southern Ports.