Give the Coast Guard and VMR the info to keep you safe
Reviewed Nov 2017
I used this product on my phone during the Victorian leg of a delivery trip from Qld to SA in winter 2017. It had been suggested to me at the start of the trip but I didn't want anyone looking over my shoulder while I dawdled along on a shake-down cruise on an old cruising yacht. As it turned out I had VMR and Coast Guard checking on my progress and safety, without the app, regardless of whether I wanted their help or not ;) so in Victoria I ran the app to to try it out.
As a mobile app it relies on cell coverage to be able to send your location to a server. When the phone is out of range, location 'pings' are stored until network is found, then interval pings are uploaded. Cell coverage around the Australian coast is very good.
There are two operating modes that the skipper can select from: track only, or lodged route tracking. In track only mode the server tracks time and location and makes this available on a map base to CG/VMR and anyone else you share your account details with, so your trip can be followed along. However there is no ETA lodged, and if you get delayed by weather, catching fish or just enjoying paradise you don't set off panic alarms. In full tracking mode the skipper lodges a full plan, with ETA, and a missed ETA will set off a series of actions. First an attempt will be made to contact the vessel, then after a reasonable 'missed deadline' time and no response a SAR activity will be triggered.
For family and friends who want to follow along and wish they were travelling with you it's a great online interface that maps the trip, leg by leg. For a serious trip it's a great way to help manage comms with CG/VMR. It's additional to, not a replacement for, good communications with the marine emergency services.