We all know how important it is to log on and off with the Coastguard at the beginning and end of our oceanic adventures, however this is usually done via VHF or mobile phone. I recently discovered the NSW Coastguard have an app called Marine Rescue CLICK HERE however this only works if your Start Point or Destination are in NSW waters.
Information on the QLD version of the app is not easy to find on their site http://marinerescueqld.org.au/ but the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard have provided an app called SafeTrx which does the job nicely, and appears to be the same app as the NSW Coast Guard are using, just with a different name and without the Start/Destination location requirements.
Setup is straight forward, you simply enter your vessel and personal/emergency contact information, after which you have three main options:
- Call for Help,
- Sail Plan (trip plan start, destination, PoB and ETA), and
- Track Only.
“Sail Plan” trips allow you to specify an ETA and have your trip monitored by the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard 24×7 every day of the year. Should you not return by your ETA then Coast Guard will initiate formal Search and Rescue procedures. Don’t stress though, these procedures start with checking your location and giving you a phone call. However if it becomes apparent that you may be in danger then escalation procedures kick in to ensure help gets to you quickly.
Note that when a vessel becomes overdue the SafeTrx team follow the protocols set out in the Australian Search and Rescue manual and management of the operation is immediately passed to the SAR authority responsible for search and rescue in the area in which you are operating.
“Track Only” trips still record your trip on the handset (and to your trip history on the boaters website) and allow you to review and replay it later. Unlike “sail plan” trips, no ETA is provided and Coast Guard do not monitor your trip.
I have been using the Track Only for racing events in the bay, and as an added bonus I can review route and speeds logged for each leg and as I’ve setup website access (https://safetrx.coastguard.com.au/login.html) with my wife she can monitor the trip and check to see how I’m travelling (or how long I’ve been back at the club house)…
Few screen shots below for info, CLICK HERE for site and app download or search SafeTrx in the app store.