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beach with sign warning "strong currents"Recent studies suggest that tourists believe that beach access points and resorts are located adjacent to safe swimming areas, but that isn’t always true.

Dean warns of drowning danger

Tourists are a high-risk group for drownings, says Chris Houser, UWindsor dean of science and a professor of earth and environmental sciences.

“During the mid-winter break, many vacationers head south to sandy beaches and turquoise waters. But in their efforts to unwind — and warm up — they often put themselves at risk of drowning by committing a simple cognitive error referred to as ‘tourist brain’,” he writes in an article for the Conversation, which publishes news and views from the academic and research community.

Citing recent studies, Dr. Houser notes that tourists think beach access points and resorts are located adjacent to safe swimming areas, particularly when visual cues such as manicured paths and promotional posters promote swimming at those locations.

“Just because a beach is accessible, has numerous attractions and is near to a resort, does not make it safe,” he writes.

Read his entire article, “Why your tourist brain may try to drown you,” in the Conversation.