Beach Safety ‘traffic lights’
Jackson Harrigan's 'traffic light' beach safety system may help prevent drownings
Posted on 13.05.2019
As Australia reels from a summer in which 53 people died in coastal drownings, a father-son duo hopes their traffic light-style surf warning signage system can help turn the tide on the worst coastal drowning figures in 15 years.
Jackson and Dean Harrigan have been travelling the east coast of Australia promoting their Ocean Live system, which uses red, amber and white lights to warn swimmers of the real-time dangers of rips, sand banks, sharks and UV.
“It’s essentially traffic lights at beaches,” project manager Dean Harrigan said.
“The fundamental difference between this device and a sign is that live data and information is fed from various websites, so the data is live.”
- Jackson Harrigan’s invention started out as a high-school project
- The system uses a set of lights on beach signs to warn of real-time dangers
- On-site trials of Mr Harrigan’s system are set to start in June
School project goes live
Ocean Live began as the brainchild of Jackson during his final years of high school in Sydney.
“I had to come up for a new invention for Design and Technology and Dad told me that I should do something for the community and something with passion,” he said.
A childhood spent swimming and surfing on Bondi Beach sparked the idea for a surf safety project.
“The community part was saving lives, and the beach was the part that I love and is my passion.”
The technology needed to be simple, effective and easily understood by tourists who might not be able to read English.
Jackson produced an early version of Ocean Live for his HSC in 2018, which used a “traffic light” system to warn of developing, present and dangerous beach conditions.
Coloured lights reflected the level of each danger and internationally recognised symbols were used for each hazard.
“The traffic lights system works effectively. I mean it’s recognised worldwide and it’s certainly something anyone in the world should be able to figure out what it means.”
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