Coastguard has released a new app to download from the App Store and Google Play for $2, which it says is a game-changer for boaties and Coastguard, enabling boaties 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," CEO Patrick Holmes said.
"More than 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.
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"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."
Until now, boaties had logged trip reports via VHF radio or phone, the app giving users the technology to add their boat details, including their call sign, and nominate a designated shore contact who will be notified by text when they are overdue, and given advice on what to do, including calling Coastguard.
"Safety on the water is everyone's responsibility," Mr Holmes said.
"The new Coastguard app provides boaties with the tools to literally take their safety into their own hands, knowing that Coastguard has their back should something go wrong while they're out there."
The app funded by BayTrust, Auckland Maritime Foundation and other community funders. BayTrust had worked closely with Coastguard over the last two years to create it, contributing $100,000 towards its development and co-ordinating a further $146,000 in contributions from other community trusts nationwide.
The app would also provide up-to-the-minute weather, wind, swell and tide information, ability to mark a favourite spot and detailed forecasts at that location, but would augment rather than replace other safety measures, he said.
"The same rules still apply — take and wear your life jackets, 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," he said.