Beach Water Safety Management - Morphodynamic and human parameters from the Israeli mediterranean coast

TitleBeach Water Safety Management - Morphodynamic and human parameters from the Israeli mediterranean coast
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsHartmann, D
Conference NameWorld Conference on Drowning Prevention
Date Published09/2007
PublisherInternational Life Saving Federation
Conference LocationPorto, Portugal
Other Numbers03-16

Recreational water activities offer advantages for individual health and well-being and contribute large share to the economy of global and local tourism industry. On the other hand, those water activities also present risks to health, with unsafe recreational waters leading to injuries, and even death. Water Safety Management should be the tool to reduce and minimize the risk level at a given beach. It is aimed at sinking bathing-related death and injuries as well as making beaches and recreational waters safer places. Beach Water Safety management is the activity which integrates recognition of hazards and associated risks in the surf, risk assessment, developing strategies to manage it, and mitigation of risk using managerial resources.

Fault Tree Analysis provides in safety engineering realm three important benefits for safety management:

  1. It clearly lays out what sequence of events must occur for an undesirable incident to occur.
  2. It helps determine which parts of the system contribute the most to overall risk.
  3. The method lends itself to case studies, thus allowing the analyst to develop cost/benefit studies for proposed recommendations.

Once a generic Fault Tree has been developed, failure rate data for individual "components" in the system can be entered into the tree so that an estimate of the likelihood of the undesired event (the “Top Event” - drowning) can be made. Frequently the quality of the failure rate data is not high; nevertheless, the quantified analysis still provides useful insights because it identifies which elements in the system contribute the most to system failure – drowning in our case. Moreover, once the generic analytical model has been developed and preliminary estimates as to failure rates have been made, the analyst can then use to the model to create case studies.

Beach water risk has three components:

  1. Morphodynamic and human hazards.
  2. The consequences of these hazards (safety and economic).
  3. The frequency with which these hazards occurs, or are expected to occur.

The three terms are combined as shown in the Equation:

Riskhazard = Consequence * Likelihood.

The equation states that, the risk associated with those hazards is the product of the hazard’s frequency and of their consequences.

A Fault Tree Analysis (FTA) is concerned only with the likelihood term in the equation. The hazards, and their associated consequence(s), must be defined before the FTA starts. As the hazards are the interactions of human beings with morphodynamic conditions a professional coastal scientists has to perform it.

The FTA developed in this study is based on 29 Basic Events leading to 28 types of drowning as Top Events. Each event is based on knowledge known to coastal scientists and coastal professionals. In this pioneering analysis we perform the FTA without any interlocks and preventative safety measurements. By doing it this way we study the risk potential of the Israeli Mediterranean beach system and in addition generate a generic FTA methodology for other coastal regions worldwide.

Our results indicate that the "killing potential" of theoretically uncontrolled 190 kilometers of Mediterranean Israeli beaches associated with annual attendance of fifty million swimmers during a six months bathing season is 350 drowning fatalities annually. In reality, according to the last 40 years long-term statistics the annual average death tool is 44 drowning per year. Prior to these regulations the estimated relative drowning number was threefold. Our conclusions are that the Beach Water Safety Management tools regulated by Israeli law from 1964 manage to significantly decrease the number of drowning, can however easily be reduced by more than 50 to 80 percent.

Learning Outcomes
  1. Safety engineering tools such as Fault Tree Analysis are crucial for modern Beach Water Safety Management which plays an important role in modern tourism industry.
  2. Parameterization of morphodynamic and Human factors has to be carried scientifically by coastal professionals.
  3. Implying professional Safety Engineering tools and methodologies can save many lives.
  1. Hartman, D. (2006): Beach management and drowning along the Israeli Mediterranean Beaches. Journal of Coastal Research, 22, 1505-1514.
  2. Pick, K., and Hartmann, D. (2004): Onshore Storminess Factor (ONSF): A New Meteo-Oceanographic Tool for Drowning Risk Analysis and Beach Safety Management. Proceedings of First International Conference on the Management of Coastal Recreational Resources, Malta. 351-356.


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