App provides real-time information

on beach conditions

A smartphone app called myBeachCast allows beachgoers to check real-time conditions at 1,800 beaches in the Great Lakes region.

Description

A smartphone app and Web site developed by the Great Lakes Commission, LimnoTech and the eight Great Lakes states allows anyone with a smartphone to access real-time conditions at 1,800 Great Lakes beaches. The app, called myBeachCast, provides information on swim advisories and other environmental conditions — including dangerous currents — for Great Lakes and inland beaches. The app tells beachgoers whether bacterial pollution from sewer overflows have caused any swim advisories, wave heights and whether the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has issued any advisories about potentially dangerous currents. The app is especially important in light of a number of recent Great Lakes drownings, most of which are caused by people getting caught in dangerous rip currents. All of the data on the myBeachCastapp is provided by government agencies. The app also allows users to discover local beaches based on the user’s location, view beaches and their status on a map, save favorite beaches, and get driving directions.

Resource Challenges Addressed

  • Poor water quality
  • Potential danger to public health
  • Human exposure to potentially dangerous bacterial pollution
  • Rip currents
  • Low beach safety

MYBEACHCAST SMARTPHONE APPLICATION

Michigan beach with dune grasses.

Beaches like the one pictured here are being monitored for cleanliness and safety via the app. Credit: Joanna Gilkeson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Results and Accomplishments

The myBeachCast app has been downloaded more than 1,000 times in the first few months it has been active.