Dal students design new device to help prevent drownings at Peggy’s Cove

Click to play video: 'Dalhousie University engineering students design live-saving device to prevent drownings at Peggy’s Cove'
Dalhousie University engineering students design live-saving device to prevent drownings at Peggy’s Cove
A group of university students in Halifax have come up with a unique plan to save lives. They’ve designed a device that can help prevent drownings, specifically at the popular tourist spot in Peggy’s Cove. Skye Bryden-Blom reports. – Apr 20, 2023

A group of Dalhousie University students has devised a plan to help keep people safe at Nova Scotia’s Peggy’s Cove.

The famed lighthouse and rugged coastline attract up to 800,000 visitors yearly, but its beauty can be dangerous to those who do not keep off the black rocks.

Liam Carson, Tanner Duplessis, Zach Gould, and Willem Glozanski are engineering students.

A team of Dalhousie Engineering students have joined the Life Saving Society of Nova Scotia to develop a device to prevent drownings at Peggy’s Cove. Skye Bryden-Blom / Global News

They’ve teamed up with the Lifesaving Society of Nova Scotia to develop a device that could help prevent drownings at the popular tourist spot.

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“We met in the fall with these four students and we brainstormed,” says special director Paul D’Eon. “We had everything from drones to rockets.”

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D’Eon says every second counts as once someone has fallen into the ocean their best chance of survival happens within the first minute.

The team settled on an air gun. After pulling the trigger, a life jacket tethered to a rope shoots out to pull people back to shore.

The hope is for several of these devices to be stationed near the coast.

“Sort of like a fire extinguisher where anyone can grab access from a reasonable distance where you wouldn’t have to travel that far,” says Duplessis.

Click to play video: 'Fatal Peggy’s Cove accident after two men slip on black rocks'
Fatal Peggy’s Cove accident after two men slip on black rocks

Another step would be to ensure workers in the area including rock patrollers and restaurant staff are trained to use it.

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The students also considered the rescuers’ safety in their plan.

“That was one of our major design requirements is that this design cannot put anyone else in harm’s way,” says Carson. “Our goal distance was 200 feet roughly and right now our prototype does 100 feet, so we’d like to increase that distance.”

Carson estimates the prototype will need another year of refining, but he hopes to see it at the cove within the next three years.

They already have ideas to make it easier to use.

“We’re looking at ways to have the compressed air attached to the device itself instead of having to use a compressed air canister that might be back at the restaurant,” says Glozanski. “We’d like to have a way that the rope will reel itself back in instead of having someone pull it, so it’s even more hands-off than it is right now.”

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