SOSeas - Assessment tool for predicting the dynamic risk of drowning on beaches

The SOSeas Service is generated using E.U. Copernicus Marine Service Information




Drowning is one of the main causes of deaths worldwide. International reports confirm that around 372,000 people per year die by drown. However, registered data are underestimated (WHO, 2014) because the total number of deaths from drowning may be 50% more than recorded  in developed countries (Lunetta et al., 2004) and it could be multiplied by five in developing countries (Taneja et al., 2008; WHO, 2014). Thus, drowning and accidents in aquatic systems are an unresolved worldwide problem and considered as a public health issue. Consequently, there is an urgent need to tackle this issue to reduce the number of compromised human lives by increasing the production of research, development and innovation in this field.

Despite significant advancements in technology, techniques and knowledge, people still drown on the coast in unacceptable numbers; according to Szpilman (2018), the maximum drowning index in Latin America is located in Brazil where a person is dead by drowning every 91 minutes. Against this backdrop, the following question arises: could we develop a worldwide operational system to inform end users about the risks at any patrolled or unpatrolled beach?



A graphical abstract of the designed solution is showed in the following figure. The assessment tool for predicting the dynamic risk of drowning on beaches is based on three steps: firstly, it is performed a cross cutting analysis between metocean conditions, beach characterizations, and flag events catalogue, secondly, an expert system, based on Artificial Inteligence (DNN models), to identify dynamic risk of drowning synchronized to dynamic metocean conditions and, next, obtain electronic bathing flags as an indicator of this risk.

Copernicus Marine Service products used

The Copernicus Marine Service provides regular and systematic core reference information on the state of the physical oceans and regional seas. The daily observations and forecasts produced by the Copernicus Marine Service support the SOSeas Service with the required metocean data to provide the dynamic hourly risk assesment (forcasting flags). Copernicus Marine Service reanalysis products have been used to train the Artificial Neural Network, whereas Copernicus Marine Service forecasting products are used to provide the forecasting risk assesment.

Copernicus Marine Service products are key elements of the SOSeas service. SOSeas makes use of the following products:


The SOSeas Service creates the availability of, until now, non-existent tools that would enhance safety in these aquatic spaces, reducing deaths by drowning and the rate of accidents in these areas. The service provides risk assesments every two hours, which are refreshed every day.

Targeted end-users include:

  • Aquatic space public users: through a SOSeas web space, each user can have detailed and real-time information of all risks and their variability throughout the day. It is important to mention that lack of knowledge of bathing areas is one of the risk factors that contributes to the increase cases on drownings and accidents on beaches. Providing information in a predictive manner would therefore help to minimize this risk factor, enabling the selection of the safest spaces at every moment.
  • Lifeguard Services: SOSeas offers those in the lifeguard service to carry out a risk identification and evaluation of the aquatic space in which they are working. In addition, they could predict future risks for their beaches, enabling them to make decisions that are more efficient on preventive strategies for their environment, helping to reduce accidents and deaths.
  • Administration: SOSeas provides the administration, such as owners and managers of aquatic spaces, with the tools for the management and improvement of safety in sandy coastlines. It is necessary to remember that everyone who comes into contact with the inherent risks in these areas, are vulnerable to suffer an accident, by which reducing deaths and accidents grants the administration important savings in healthcare spending.

Get Access to the SOSeas Service

The SOSeas Service is FREE, OPEN, and can be accessed via Web at any time (24×7 Service)

Video tutorial about the SOSeas app

In the following video, Maria Luisa Sámano and Marcos Mecías explain the SOSeas project, among others.


This section provides news about the SOSeas Service evolution:

  • 08/11/2021 – The journal of Operational Oceanography published the paper entitled “SOSeas Web App: An assessment web-based decision support tool to predict dynamic risk of drowning on beaches using deep neural networks
  • 20/05/2021 – The SOSeas Team (Javier García) participated at the “Mundo SOS II congress” with more than 125 participants
  • 10/03/2021 – The SOSeas Team (Javier García) talked about the SOSeas system at the Beach Safety Technology Conference on the “predictive modelling and risk forecasting” session. 
  • 20/07/2020 – The SOSeas Team (Marcos, Javier García and Felipe) had a very interesting  online meeting with the team in charge of the Smart Beaches iniciative (Australia).
  • 2/7/2020 – The SOSeas Team (Marcos, Javier Costa and Felipe) participated in an online workshop organised by the International Drowning research alliance (IDRA), in which the SOSeas Service was explained to international drowning experts from Australia, US (Hawai), UK, among others.
  • 8/6/2020 – The SOSeas App v1.0 was released including several functionalities such as the operational electronic flags.
  • 8/5/2020 – The SOseas Service was presented at the EGU 2020 conference by Javier García, more info here.
  • 12/12/2019 – The SOSeas Team (Felipe Fernández) showed to the Copernicus Academy Network the activities that IHCantabria undertakes as Copernicus Academy Member, the SOSeas Service was explained as one of the User Uptake activities. See the presentation here.
  • 24-30/11/2019 – The European University of the Atlantic (UNEATLANTICO) organizes the “Drowning Prevention Week” in which the SOSeas team leads the round table entitled “Research and technology available for drowning prevention – SOSeas“. See the whole programme here.
  • 15/11/2019 – First prototype of the SOSeas app (v0.5) has been released, access through the following link
  • 20-24/05/2019 – The SOSeas Team (Felipe Fernández) showed the roadmap and needs of the SOSeas Service at the Copernicus Marine Service General Assembly

Feedback is more than welcome!.

The SOSeas Service is user driven, your feedback is key to provide a useful product, please contact the SOSeas Team to provide your feedback.

SOSeas Team



SOSeas Team



Visit the Copernicus Marine Service Web site or contact the CMEMS Service Desk.

CMEMS Service Desk Contact