Lifesavers using Wi-Fi

Lifesavers using Wi-Fi

Queensland lifesavers using Wi-Fi to lure people back between the flags after spike in drownings

Posted on 01.10.2019

Queensland lifesavers will unleash an arsenal of gizmos and gadgets designed to keep swimmers safe this summer, after a massive spike in the number of coastal drownings last financial year.

Confronted with 21 deaths on Queensland beaches — three times the number of fatalities in the previous financial year — Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) is taking preventative action.

Their plan will utilise Australia’s love of mobile phones to nudge swimmers closer to the red-and-yellow flags with Life-Fi, a Wi-Fi network set to be activated on busy tourist beaches.

But it will only be accessible between the flags — the signal drops out once users stray beyond the patrolled area.

Jason Argent from SLSQ said when users log on to the network they are shown beach conditions and warned of any dangers in the water.

“Any hazards identified by lifesavers and lifeguards will be entered into the Life-Fi system,” he said.

“As you log on and accept the terms and conditions, it’ll actually give you that information and give you an idea of what’s happening around you.”

The project is designed to encourage swimmers to stay between the flags, where lifesavers and lifeguards are patrolling.

But it will also automatically offer foreign tourists beach warnings in their own language.


Key Points

  • The SLSQ Wi-Fi will only work between the flags
  • More than 80 per cent of beach drownings last year occurred outside the flags
  • Drones are also being deployed to keep an eye on swimmers and conditions

Owen Jacques
ABC News





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