Published: Aug 17, 2012 2:26 AM EDT
Updated: Aug 17, 2012 6:30 AM EDT

WESTERLY, R.I. (AP) - A new and relatively inexpensive device could change the way you think about lifeguards.

EMILY is the acronym for a new remote-controlled lifeguard. It stands for Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard.

It's a small watercraft fitted with a flotation device and can go up to 22 mph, allowing it to get to people more quickly, and in some cases more safely, than any human.

It's being used by a handful of communities, including in Los Angeles County, home of the lifeguards made famous by the TV series "Baywatch."

If a swimmer is struggling, a lifeguard or anyone else can put EMILY in the water and send it through even rough waves with the help of a remote control.

EMILY made its first rescue last month when it saved a father and son in Oregon.