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Cape lifeguards training with potentially lifesaving device

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YARMOUTH, Mass. - Lifeguards in Yarmouth are training with a new tool that can shorten the amount of time it takes to bring a victim back to shore. It’s one of only three in the country right now.

At Smuggler's Beach in Yarmouth, lifeguards assist about four swimmers a week. A rescue often involves using torp or a board and swimming out to the victim, but now, lifeguards are training with a new rescue tool called a Seabob. It’s powered by lithium batteries, can go up to 12 miles per hour and can pull up to 900 pounds.

“You’re not winded at all when you get to the victim, you get there very quickly. You can pull them in and it leaves you another guard to do CPR when you get back to the beach after doing the rescue which is great,” said David Kelley, lifeguard of 11 years.

In the busy summer months, Yarmouth Parks and Recreation Director Pat Armstrong says Seabob can help move the lifeguards around without ever taking their eyes off the water.

“We can take that Seabob and transport our staff up and down the beach and we still have eyes on the water, instead of having someone out on the road with no eyes on the beach,” said Armstrong.

In a serious situation, it can quickly take a rescue mission underwater. 

Terry Burke with CEAN Sports helped bring the tool to the cape and says it can benefit search teams by quickly bringing divers down 360 feet.

“This is a rapid deployment tool where the diver can get on with their tanks and zip down in a matter of seconds to the location and do a grid search which is much faster so you close that window,” said Burke.

The Seabob isn't just for beach rescues during the summer. Dive teams could use it during the winter if someone happened to fall through thin ice. So, the town is hoping that the year-round use will be enough so it can get a grant to help pay for the roughly $14,000 rescue device.