11 Jan 2024

Using AI to identify ocean rips

From Summer Times, 9:20 am on 11 January 2024

Most people can't identify a rip when they're out in the ocean, but thanks to artificial intelligence help is on the way.

Rips, narrow segments of water, can move faster than two metres per second and spotting them can be difficult, particularly for kids.

However an AI tool developed by NIWA and Surf Life Saving New Zealand is having some success detecting rip currents in real time. 

Dr Christo Rautenbach, a coastal and estuarine scientist at NIWA, is one of the people behind the tool.

He and Surf Life Saving NZ's head of coastal safety and research Adam Wooler talk to Anna bout the danger of rips and  how the tool has been used.

Waves break at a beach.

Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly