Something tells me David Hasselhoff and the Baywatch gang never imagined it would come to this - but somehow, they'd be just fine with it.

The cast of "Baywatch" running in shallow waves
Photo via YouTube (Baywatch)

Robot lifeguards are now assisting with the rescues of would-be drowning victims off the shore of Lake Michigan.

The Dangers of Lake Michigan

According to data published by the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, an average of 89 people have drowned somewhere in the Great Lakes every year since 2010. Every year, Lake Michigan is the lake that claims the most victims.

RELATED: Michigan Has 2 of the Nation's Top 10 Most Dangerous Lakes

Lake Michigan's unusual shape plays a part in its increased danger, according to experts. notes that "its shores also run parallel, causing unique wave shapes. The shapes of these waves are what contribute to rip tides, which are one of the most dangerous things swimmers can encounter in the water."

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Lake Michigan also has more visitors every year than any of the other Great Lakes, allowing it to present its drowning dangers to a higher population.

Lack of Lifeguards Along Lake Michigan

Many parks and communities along the shore of Lake Michigan can no longer afford to staff full-time lifeguards along their beaches - another factor that results in more drowning victims than there might otherwise be.

Sparse beach along Lake Michigan
Photo via Facebook (Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project)

However, a couple of communities in southwestern Michigan still do employ lifeguards on their beaches - New Buffalo and St. Joseph, and that's where "EMILY" is beginning to make a difference.

More About "E.M.I.L.Y." - the Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard

EMILY is the pet name for the Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard - essentially a remote control robot designed to get out to potential drowning victims much faster than a lifeguard could.

Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard (EMILY) deploying into Lake Michigan on a rescue mission
Photo via Facebook (Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project)

Once deployed by a human lifeguard, EMILY can speed through the waves and out to a drowning victim extremely quickly. Once the robot arrives, the victim can grab onto its easy-grip handles and use the robot to help stay afloat until human help can get there.

Both New Buffalo and St. Joseph's Silver Beach now feature EMILY as part of their lifesaving arsenals, thanks to a generous donation from the parents of two unfortunate drowning victims.

Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard (EMILY)
Photo via Facebook (Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project)

Back in August 2022, Emily MacDonald and her boyfriend Kory Ernster both tragically drowned in Lake Michigan off South Haven's South Beach. Paying for them with life insurance money, Emily's mom and Kory's dad recently donated a pair of EMILY robots to the beaches in St. Joseph and New Buffalo to assist with their lifesaving efforts.

"We value the fact that they value human life over tourism," Lisa MacDonald told Fox 17.

The company that produces the EMILY robots says they've been successfully utilized in countless rescues.

The Christmas Tree Ship's Century-Long Rest in Lake Michigan

In December 1912, the Rouse Simmons sailed with a deck and cargo of evergreens from Thompson Michigan. But when a winter storm arose, the crew was unable to battle the waves and, the ship was lost to the depths of Lake Michigan.
See the Christmas Tree Ship today, where it rests, covered with Zebra mussels, about 12 miles northeast of Two Rivers, Wisconsin

Gallery Credit: Scott Clow

Abandoned Church Camp on Lake Michigan

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