New app keeping boaties safe on the water
Kiwi boaties are set to be safer on the water from today with the launch of Coastguard’s new app.
The app, which is downloadable from the App Store and Google Play, is a game changer for boaties and Coastguard alike with the ability for boaties, for the first time, to log a trip report from their smart phone from anywhere in the country.
“One of Coastguard’s core safety services is taking trip reports,” says Coastguard CEO Patrick Holmes. “Over 250,000 trip reports are logged with Coastguard each year which include information on where the boatie is heading, what time they expect to get there or return, and how many people they have on board. This ensures that should anything go wrong while they’re out on the water, we have a solid starting point to enable a quicker rescue.”
“Every minute counts in an emergency on the water so knowing where to start searching for someone who is missing can mean the difference between life and death,” says Holmes.
Up until now, boaties logging trip reports have done so through their VHF radio or by calling Coastguard on the phone.
The new app provides users with the technology at their fingertips to add their boat details, including their call sign, and nominate a designated shore contact who will be notified by text when the boatie is overdue and given advice on next steps to take, including calling Coastguard.
“Safety on the water is everyone’s responsibility,” says Holmes. “The new Coastguard app provides boaties with the tools to take their safety literally in their own hands, knowing that Coastguard has their back should something go wrong while they’re out there.”
The app has been made possible thanks to generous funding from BayTrust, the Auckland Maritime Foundation and a number of other community funders. BayTrust have worked closely with Coastguard over the last two years to create the app, contributing $100,000 towards its development and co-ordinating a further $146,000 worth of contributions from other Community Trusts nationwide.
“We strongly believe in this initiative and are extremely proud to now see it come to life,” says BayTrust CEO Alastair Rhodes. “Creating safe communities is one of our key priorities and we know how much enjoyment Kiwis get from being on the water all round New Zealand.”
More than just providing trip reporting services, the Coastguard app is the boaties best mate with up-to-the-minute weather, wind, swell and tide information and the ability for boaties to save their favourite spots for quick access and detailed forecasts at the location.
And while the app is set to become the number one tool for kiwi boaties, Coastguard is quick to stress that it doesn’t replace all aspects of safety on the water.
“The same rules still apply – take and wear your lifejackets, have a VHF radio as well as the app and speak to Coastguard via your phone or VHF if crossing a bar due to the heightened risk,” says Holmes.
The Coastguard app is available now for $2.99 from the App Store and Google Play.