Girl Scout troops join in the effort to save swimmers from this water threat.
The Girl Scouts, working with The Jersey Shore Partnership Foundation and the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, are using QR code posters to help to promote rip current awareness among swimmers.
These signs are posted along the Monmouth, Ocean, Atlantic County, and Cape May shores.
Claire Antonuccis, the director of education at the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, has said that before the Girl Scouts started their signage with the QR codes, they first learned about the hazard of rip currents and how to keep themselves safe.
Antonuccis explained that “We did education programs for the girls, and then the girls went out into their communities and educated the public. They did presentations, there’s even a video you can see on Youtube, and even two sandcastles were entered in local contests. One of which won in Avon.”
The heart of the reason for the signage with the QR codes is the spreading of information about rip tides.
According to Walter Drag, a weather service meteorologist from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), so far this summer, there have been five young swimmers drowned as a result of rip tides that pulled them underwater. Drag pointed out that each of these deaths happened at unguarded beaches when the swimmers were unaware of the danger presented by rip tides.
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A number of Girl Scout troops received funding from TD Bank and JCP&L in order to place stickers featuring QR codes onto all of the rip current signage that has already been posted by the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium (NJSGC). These barcodes will allow individuals with smartphones to scan the signs for more information.
When scanned the user is directed to the NJSGC website’s pages about rip currents, which now feature a video that shows users not only how to recognize a rip tide when they see one, but also how to escape from them.
Pat Kurz, the director of outdoor program and facility of the Jersey Shore, stated that a big difference has already been made by the Girl Scouts, and that the signage for 39 of the 46 beaches now have the QR codes on their English and Spanish signage.