How to tell if it'll be a good day at the beach
A combo of official and crowdsourced info makes Beachers your go-to beach app.
Beachers is the TripAdvisor or Waze for beaches – crowdsourcing crowd levels, water safety, surf, admission, parking and other access information, and allowing users to post real-time pictures and get heat and sunscreen alerts. The free app was created by Yoni Sofer, a beach lover who now splits his time between South Africa and Israel.
Sofer seems to be the ideal person to get this project off the ground. He has a background working for a digital marketing company in Israel and has also spent a lot of time on the beaches of Tel Aviv.
He says a lot of people aren’t aware of the dangers around them. “Most beachgoers don’t know what a rip current looks like,” he told From the Grapevine. “That’s how the whole idea for Beachers came about. We wanted to create a digital safety tool and communication channel for general beachgoers to be informed about what’s going on before they even leave the house.”
Beachers wants to be more than just a water safety app – it includes recreation information and surf forecasts into one go-to beach tool. “What we did is create an all-encompassing beach tool, and package it in a way to make people’s days safer and more fun. We want to create the correlation between having fun and being safe.”
The information provided in the app doesn’t come exclusively via crowdsourcing. Beachers is working with local water safety and recreation organizations both to provide information and get the word out about the app. “We partnered with Lifesaving South Africa, so the rip current information for those beaches will come from the lifeguards themselves,” says Sofer.
Beachers has created a tool specifically designed for lifeguards to update information about their beaches, extending the lifeguards’ sphere of influence exponentially. How many times the lifeguards update a beach’s status will depend on local circumstances.
“It may be that a beach doesn’t have a change in status the whole day, so one update will be fine. If things are changing constantly – weather, crowds, pollution – it will be as many as relevant,” says Sofer. “It’s in the lifeguards’ best interest keep the crowd up to date.”
The app has only been live a month on both the Android and iOS platforms, but Sofer says their user base is growing steadily. Information for several hundred beaches in Southern California and Florida is already available. If a user's favorite beach isn’t listed, he or she can submit it in the app.
While Beachers does have long-term ideas about how to monetize certain features of the app, due to the nature of the safety information offered, the app itself will remain free. "We feel the app provides vital safety information that should be free to the public. We don’t believe that you should have to pay to access that service."
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