Available for Irish users on Android or Apple, discussions underway on use elsewhere in Europe

Sailors in Ireland will have access to a new smartphone app backed by the Irish Coastguard that could aid their rescue in emergency.

The app allows sailors to log their voyages directly from their smartphone – and the passage plan information can be accessed and monitored by a series of emergency contacts as well as the Irish Coastguard.

Should the user fail to return home on time, their nominated emergency contacts will be automatically alerted via SMS.

The free app, available for both Android and Apple iOS devices, is called ISA SafeTrx and has been launched with the backing of the Irish Sailing Association and Government. It has been developed in association with the Irish Coastguard and DeCare Systems Ireland.

Currently the Irish Coastguard is the only rescue service to have access to the SafeTRx database and SafeTrx is only available to individuals with an Irish Apple or Google Play account. The app will work in foreign waters, developers say, but data roaming will apply as the user must have an Irish phone.

Discussions are underway to bring the app to the UK and other European countries. Other than Ireland, only the volunteer coastguard in Australia have signed up for it so far.

ISA SafeTrx claims to log position reports every kilometre, or every five minutes if stationary. If the battery level falls below 30%, the location transmission interval will be adjusted from 1km to 2km to save battery power. If the battery level falls to 10%, SafeTrx is said to suspend in order to preserve battery power for emergency calls.

If an emergency contact calls the Irish Coastguard concerning an overdue trip, the Irish Coastguard will have access to the user’s location and SafeTrx trip data through a secure SafeTrx server, according to developers.

The Coastguard should then be able to see where the boat was last visible to the network and where it was headed, as well as other details such as persons on board.

The development team said the app was not intended to be used as a replacement for statutorily recognised safety devices such as VHF radios, EPIRBs or AIS, but rather as a resource that in some instances may help to raise an alarm and assist emergency services to locate casualties.

Users of ISA SafeTrx need only to follow four basic steps:
1.      Download the app for free  
2.      Register boat and emergency contact details
3.      Enter trip details and ETA. Tap ‘Set Sail’
4.      Arrive at destination. Tap ‘End Trip’

Follow the link for more information and to download the free sailing app

Yachting Monthly’s popular Crash Test Boat app is still available, now at a reduced price of £1.49.