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Williamston High School
Williamston, Mich.
Offshore rip current alert system


The Williamston High School InvenTeam invented the Offshore Rip Current Alert (ORCA) system to reduce the number of drowning deaths due to rip currents in the Great Lakes. ORCA features a rip current detection buoy equipped with a mechanical flow meter to detect current speeds and an alarm to alert swimmers when dangerous conditions are present. The buoy costs approximately $400, weighs approximately 60 lb and requires minimal set-up time and maintenance. The ORCA system contains a 12 V battery that relies on solar power to maintain its charge throughout its deployment.