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The Environment Report
Thu June 13, 2013
Safety info now part of Great Lakes beach app
Before you head to the beach this summer, you might want to check on the conditions.
There’s a free beach app you can get for your Android phone. It’s called myBeachCast.
You can bookmark your favorite Great Lakes beaches, find out the wind and water conditions, and check to see if there are any beach closings for a particular day.
The Great Lakes Commission released the app in partnership with Limnotech. Christine Manninen is the communications director for the Great Lakes Commission.
“There was all this great beach information out there, and all this extensive beach monitoring that happens. But we thought there was a real lack of public knowledge about the information or where to find it, in a practical manner if they’re heading to the beach,” she says.
She says they recently updated the app to add safety information.
“So if there’s any danger of high winds or waves or rip currents they can get that information.”
Manninen says the hazard information comes directly from the National Weather Service. It’s updated every three to four hours.
You can learn a lot from this app, but Manninen says there are a few gaps in the water quality data.
“Michigan has hundreds of beaches and some of the beaches aren’t tested at all, if they don’t have funds. But that is reflected in the app as well. So we actually put on there when the last report was made for the beach, so you will know by looking at the app when that last report from the health department came in," says Manninen.
She says they’re hoping to have a version of the app for the iPhone soon.