Experts gathered in Miami recently for the First
International Symposium on Rip Currents, the No. 1 cause of
Attendance exceeded expectations and a number of
exciting initiatives were announced, said Dr. John
Fletemeyer, research professor at the Laboratory for
Coastal Research at Florida International University. A
contract for the first-ever book on rip currents was signed
with publisher CRC Press, a subsidiary of U.K.- based
Informa. Additionally, the inaugural International Rip
Current Education Award was presented to Olga Giner. In
honor of her son, who drowned trying to save a young girl,
Giner founded the Giankarlo Squicimari Foundation to raise
awareness of the dangers of rip currents.
“It was extremely interesting to see the
different scientists and researchers getting together to
share information and get the word out to the
public,” Giner said of the conference.
The objective of the event, held Feb. 17-19, was to
present the latest research and “address the
disconnect between science and public education,”
said Fletemeyer, who organized the symposium along with Dr.
Stephen Leatherman, a professor and director of the
Laboratory for Coastal Research.
“We all realized what a role education
plays,” Fletemeyer added.
The two keynote speakers were Dr. Robert Brander, a
coastal geomorphologist and senior lecturer in the School
of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the
University of New South Wales in Sydney, New South Wales,
Australia, and Adolph Kiefer, Olympic champion and founder
of Adolph Kiefer & Co. in Zion, Ill. Sessions on
forecasting and historical analysis were presented.
The next International Symposium on Rip Currents will be
held in Australia in 2012. Fletemeyer said areas for future
research include assessing whether current rip current
safety recommendations should be revised and locating
“hot spots” of rip current activity.