Since it is Rip Current Awareness Week (June 3 – June 9), students from the Stevens Institute of Technology and the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium (NJSGC) have developed an app that warns users of unsafe beaches. According to WebMD, rip tides are a top danger and deadly phenomena. Unfortunately, they tend to receive much less publicity than other natural hazards, making their threat that much bigger.
The app will utilize mobile device technology by collecting and distributing up-to-date data on current rip tides and related information. This data will help make rip tides and undertows less unpredictable, and swimming at particular beaches much more safe.
The app will be available on Blackberry, Android and iOS devices, and will track real-time rip current threats entered into the data system by patrolling lifeguards. Lifeguards will be able to view previous reports of rip tides over a 24-hour period on a map or list. The map form utilizes Google Maps and allows users to get a better perspective on the rip tide locations.
A demo has already been launched and proven successful and NJSGC hopes to test the app out again in one of two coastal towns in New jersey this summer. Unfortunately, because most beaches don’t have lifeguards, the app won’t help all beachgoers yet. For the app to function to the best of its abilities, more man power will be required on public beaches. Until then, the app is a starting ground for safer, sans rip tide beaches.