Socially and physically based surf warning system to improve beach safety

Surf-related drowning fatalities represent a significant economic burden to the Province of Ontario but many public beaches in Ontario do not have lifeguard programs and there is also a lack of active monitoring of surf conditions to provide real-time warnings. Improving beach safety is complicated by the fact that rescues and drowning fatalities do not depend on the wave and current conditions alone, but also depend on the behavior of the beach user individually and as part of a group. The study uses a combination of wave and current measurement and modeling, beach user surveys and workshops to develop a dynamic surf hazard warning system for the Municipality of Kincardine in Bruce County, Ontario. Results of this research will lead to an adaptable and scalable approach to improved beach safety in the Great Lakes through real-time monitoring and direct and indirect changes in beach user activity.

Alex Smith;Elizabeth George
Faculty Supervisor: 
Christopher Houser;Dana Menard;Kendall Soucie
Partner University: