The phenomenon of ‘killer rip tides’ is being studied by ISRO in collaboration with a private lifeguard agency appointed by the Goa government to safeguard its beaches.
Rip tides are one of the most common causes for drowning in the shallow waters off Goa’s popular coastline.
The study Ripex 2017 is being conducted by a team of scientists at Space Applications Centre, ISRO Ahmedabad, along with Drishti Lifesaving, a private agency appointed by the state tourism ministry to maintain a lifeguard force.
“Rip currents are one of the most common problem-causing currents witnessed along Goa’s coast with a higher rate of incidents recorded at Calangute, Baga, Anjuna and Colva beaches.
Using a specially developed device and the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System and a navigation receiver, the team of scientists, along with the lifeguard specialists, tested the presence of active rips along some beaches on January 31 to February 1, documenting these for future research.
A rip tide is a strong sea current which pulls the water away from the shore, often catching unawares swimmers and people enjoying the sea in the shallows and can drag them into the sea.
Over the last few years, lifeguards have been instructed to direct tourists off the shore-line when such tides occur, more often than not unpredictably.
“Drishti’s lifeguards are trained and adept at identifying and conducting rescues in Rip currents. Warnings and studies generated by systems like Ripex are critical to augment our services and enable us to pre-empt an incident,” Somani said.
Goa’s beaches attract nearly four million tourists every year.
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