The Irish Sailing Association (ISA) and Minister for Agriculture, Marine & Food, Simon Coveney, today (Thursday 22nd August) officially launched ISA SafeTrx; a revolutionary free Smartphone app designed to save lives on the water. Developed in association with the Irish Coast Guard and DeCare Systems Ireland, ISA SafeTrx allows boat and leisure craft owners to log their voyages directly from their Smartphone which can then be accessed and monitored by their chosen emergency contacts as well as the Irish Coast Guard.
Speaking at the launch today Minister Coveney commented “The concept of safety at sea and on our network of rivers and lakes must become as commonplace as that of safety on our roads. We need to create a culture of safety first for those travelling on our waters for either commercial or recreational reasons. With loss of life continuing across the maritime spectrum, those who make their living from the sea and those who utilise the sea primarily for leisure purposes must ensure that safety becomes a top priority.”
By the end of July this year, Irish Coast Guard statistics showed a 45% increase in the number of emergency missions bringing the total figure of individual incidents to 1,572. Throughout the history of the Irish Coast Guard the record of annual incidents has never surpassed 2,000 but it is anticipated that this number will be exceeded by as early as the autumn. ISA Chief Executive Harry Hermon remarked “Last year over 1,000 people were assisted from difficulty by the Coast Guard and the RNLI with over 160 lives saved. Unfortunately not all seafarers returned safely. I believe that ISA SafeTrx, which has been designed by Coast Guard professionals and built right here in Cork, will help to reduce the number of fatalities on the water even further. I have no doubt that this will save many lives”.
In no fewer than five out of the ten MCIB reports published so far in 2013, it has been recommended that “Details of an intended trip be left with a responsible person ashore along with the latest time of return and that the person ashore should contact the emergency services shortly after the expected time of return has passed”. ISA SafeTrx will not only facilitate this recommendation, but will also help the Coast Guard to identify the location of the stricken vessel, assess details such as craft description, contact details ashore, previous activity, where the boat was last visible to the network and where headed, persons on board and other information all targeted at reducing the time that seafarers spend in the water waiting for a lifeboat or helicopter.
Chris Reynolds, Director of the Irish Coast Guard commented “SafeTrx helps take the search out of search and rescue. It encourages all sea users to plan and execute their trips better, safer and gives assurance to friends and partners ashore”.
Available for both Android & Apple iOS devices (iPhone, iPad), ISA SafeTrx logs position reports every kilometre (or every 5 minutes if stationary). Should the user fail to return on time their emergency contacts will be automatically alerted via SMS and advised to initiate the appropriate action. Voyage position reports are displayed on the SafeTrx Monitoring Console so where an emergency contact calls the Irish Coast Guard concerning an overdue trip, the Irish Coast Guard will have access to the user’s location and SafeTrx trip data through a secure SafeTrx server. As the ISA SafeTrx app periodically sends location data back to the servers, the Coast Guard’s response team can get help directly and quickly. Whilst the app is not intended to be used as a replacement for statutorily recognised safety devices (marine radios, marine emergency positioning beacons, AIS etc), it is a resource that in some instances may help to raise an alarm earlier and assist emergency services to locate casualties more accurately. The majority of small crafts particularly sea kayakers, anglers, jet-ski users, powerboaters and small sailing boats do not carry the AIS tracking device.
ISA SafeTrx is free and simple to use. Just follow the 4 easy steps:
- Download the app for free
- Register your boat and emergency contact details
- Enter your trip details and ETA. Tap ‘Set Sail’
- Arrive at destination. Tap ‘End Trip’
For more information and to download the app for free go to www.sailing.ie/SafeTrx.