INNOVATION

There's Now An App To Help Beach Swimmers Learn More About Safety

Sadly, 69 percent of Australians can't identify rips.

25/10/2016 8:51 AM AEDT | Updated 25/10/2016 1:32 PM AEDT
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Is this the future of beach safety?

Every year thousands of beach goers find themselves caught in dangerous rips in Australian oceans, but a new app educating swimmers aims to change this.

Surf Live Saving Australia has teamed up with Samsung to launch Pocket Patrol, a new Android app that aims to help people identify hazards before they jump in the water.

The app uses augmented reality to superimpose the location of hazards that have been identified by the life guards on duty at the beach on the day.

This could be submerged rocks, shallow sandbanks or the are the biggest killer on Australian beaches -- rips.

"Our ultimate goal is to use this technology to further promote beach safety on all Australian beaches," Samsung said on their website.

The app is not to be used as a safety or warning device but as an easy, accessible tool used to promote safety and educate swimmers.

"It is not a safety or warning device, and must never be relied upon as a substitute for advice from an on-duty surf lifesaver and an understanding of your abilities in the surf," Samsung and SLSA warn.

It's currently being trialled over a four-week period at Queensland's Coolum Beach and Alexandra Headland.

For those of us who aren't in those areas, SLSA has also created short 360-degree film that shows what it's like to get stuck in a rip, providing tips on how you can get to safety.

The video isn't for the faint-hearted but like the new Android app, it's an important tool in the journey into further education about potential dangers at the beach -- that many of us know little about.

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