New app tracks riptides letting people know about danger areas o - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

New app tracks riptides letting people know about danger areas on the beach

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) - A team of researchers in New Jersey are working on a new smart phone app that will help keep swimmers safe at the beach. The app will let swimmers know exactly where riptides are along the coast.

Dana Ayers says, "And it flows to that area, and rushes over that spot."

Ayers has been a lifeguard for a decade. She says the biggest threat to swimmers are the notoriously strong rip tides.

"Waters, more water, and in that case we see more rip current," she said.

And with the dangerous waters, communication among lifeguards is key in keeping swimmers safe. That's where the new rip tide app will track tides along the coast as they come in.

"Right now one of the things that hamper us as researchers is we don't know when these rip currents are occurring unless someone gets stuck," said Jon Miller.

Swimmers get stuck because the rip currents go out to sea, unskilled swimmers often panic trying to fight the current rather than swim out either side.

Miller says his app and website will not only allow lifeguards to report rip conditions, but also check nearby beaches.

"The more they know when they get to the beach about what's happening in neighboring communities, the more they are aware and can help protect the public," said Miller.

It also allows the public to check for themselves; something lifeguards say is vital on crowded beaches.

"We can see the rip currents; we can see what's happening, and developing, but we can't always tell every person that individually," said Ayers.

Soon people will be able to inform themselves, keeping more of the public safe from the dangerous currents.

Right now the app only tracks currents on the east coast. There's no word on whether it will be expanded to west coast beaches.

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