Hapless boaters located by their smartphone
by BoatUS/Sail-World Cruising on 14 Jun 2011
They had done everything wrong - they were power boaters and their engine had broken down. They had no VHF, radio or chart plotter, they were tired, it was foggy and they didn't know where they were. But the BoatUS Towing Service was able to help them because they had a smartphone on board, and downloaded an app which gave them their position.
BoatUS’s GPS App for smartphones .. .
Yes it was every boater's bad ending to the weekend. The 21-foot bowrider with two persons aboard broke down off the New Jersey (USA) coast. But the captain and mate did have a cell phone with them, so they called the BoatUS Towing Services 24-hour dispatch center for assistance (800-391-4869).
The two boaters gave the BoatUS dispatcher a poor description of the surroundings where they thought they were located. Upon hearing this information, local TowBoatUS captains in Beach Haven, Ocean City and Barnegat Light quickly deduced that it didn't add up.
TowBoatUS Ocean City's Capt. Patti Kearney says, 'We solved the problem by advising the boaters to download the BoatUS Smart Phone App.' Once the couple completed this easy task, the BoatUS dispatcher was automatically provided the vessel's precise latitude and longitude information, and Capt. Kearney was able to quickly locate the boat and bring it back home safely.
The App reduces towboat response times by using the accuracy of the GPS latitude and longitude technology built into smart phones, and also adds helpful location and tracking features. Since its launch in February, over 36,000 boaters, sailors and anglers have downloaded it.
The BoatUS Towing App can also work well with your float plan, allowing you to easily text or email loved ones ashore, allowing them to 'track' your trip on the BoatUS online Member Service Locator map. The App also gives smart phone users the option of seeing their own location on Google maps (when their cell phone's Internet connection is operable).
BoatUS reminds boaters that a VHF marine radio should be the first choice for emergency communications and they should always contact the US Coast Guard or local law enforcement in an emergency situation. However, having the App is a great backup for routine breakdowns and it can be easily downloaded by going to www.BoatUS.com/app. It's available for both Android and Apple iPhones, but not yet with Blackberry.
The app will allow you to text or email your boat’s location to other boats, share your raft up anchorage, show your boat’s near shore location on Google Maps, display your Latitude & Longitude (even out of cell range).
Then for those in the USA who are members, it will allow you to call for a tow and BoatUS will know where you are.
About BoatUS Towing Services:
Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is the nation's leading advocate for recreational boaters providing over half a million members with a wide array of consumer services, including on-the-water towing assistance provided by TowBoatUS and Vessel Assist Pacific.
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