Almost 1,000 people have downloaded anew Royal Yachting Association (RYA) smartphone app that aims to help the coastguard to track down missing boats. RYA SafeTrx is a smartphone app that enables boat users in UK territorial waters to plan their passage.
If the estimated time of arrival is exceeded without the trip being completed, then the designated emergency contacts are automatically notified.
Using the data sent by the SafeTrx app during a voyage, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency will be able to pinpoint lost and stricken boats more quickly.
Keith Oliver, head of maritime operations at the MCA, said: ‘During a search and rescue incident, the UK coastguard collects vital information about the people and vessels involved.
‘When did they set off? Where were they going? When were they due back? What was their last known location?
‘These are all vital pieces of the puzzle and the coastguard welcomes any system that can contribute to the information gathering effort. RYA SafeTrx will help provide this information, meaning that valuable time is not lost.’
This technology has been in use in Ireland and Australia for some time, and now the RYA’s adoption allows members to take advantage of the service in UK territorial waters for free.
Non-members can download the app free of charge, and data logging credits are available in bundles of 10 for £1.49 or 20 for £2.49.
The app can also deliver performance analytics for those keen to plot their average speed or total distance travelled.
Stuart Carruthers, cruising manager at the RYA, said: ‘Although RYA SafeTrx is not intended as a replacement for regular approved safety devices (VHF, APIB, AIS, etc) it will be beneficial to the one million users of small powerboats, RIBs, PWCs and for dinghy cruisers for whom existing tracking technology is not always practical.
‘Until now a simple, cost-effective system of tracking and alerting has not been available for these boat users. When we learned about this app and its enormous safety benefits we knew that we had to bring it to the UK.’
A yacht was destroyed by fire after catching alight in County Down, Northern Ireland early yesterday morning. The fierce fire engulfed a 40ft two-masted glass fibre yacht near Rostrevor Pier.
The owner had been contacted and confirmed there were two gas cylinders aboard the yacht but no people.
The Kilkeel lifeboat Frank William Walton was launched at 2.20am and quickly reached the stricken yacht which very quickly was ablaze from bow to stern.
One of the propane gas cylinders had already exploded so the lifeboat with, four fire-fighters from Warrenpoint and a mobile fire fighting pump aboard, stood off at a safe distance.
When the fire had somewhat subsided the lifeboat returned to the yacht and the flames were extinguished.
The lifeboat left the firefighters and the pump ashore at Warrenpoint and returned safely to the boathouse in Kilkeel at 6.45am.
Helm Gerry Smyth said: ‘It was vital that the lifeboat crew, the firefighters and the lifeboat were kept out of danger whilst there was the possibility of the gas cylinders exploding.
‘The yacht was extensively damaged and still afloat when we left the scene but importantly no lives were lost.’
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has cleared London Duck Tours to resume trips along the Thames, following last year’s mid-cruise fire.
Two vessels have been approved for use, following a Marine Accident Investigation Branch report, which pinpointed the cause of the blaze. It is believed that the boats’ buoyancy foam was to blame for the accidents, which resulted in 30 people being rescued and some passengers jumping into the Thames to avoid the flames.
An MCA spokesperson told the BBC: “The operator has been working to demonstrate that two of its vessels have been improved sufficiently to meet our safety requirements.
“We believe that we should shortly be in a position to issue a short-term certificate to allow them to operate for a period of three months.”
The company said in a statement on its website that it would be announcing the date of its return to the river “shortly”, with a normal service set to resume “as soon as possible”.
Motor Boats Monthly has been to the south of France to test out the new Jeanneau Leader 40 open sportscruiser, which first saw on dry land at the 2013 Paris Boat Show.
Nick also looks at the convertible aft sunbed in the cockpit, as well as the myriad seating options on the Leader 40.
Taking to the water, Nick also comments on visibility, the helm position and how the hull copes with the choppy conditions that we encountered.
Below deck, we take a closer look at the conventional layout, including the dinette, well-stocked galley, both cabins, and the heads.
Nick’s full boat test review is published in the July edition of Motor Boats Monthly, which is out now.
The Practical Boat Owner website provides a very detailed glossary of nautical terms. This may be useful to you if you are new to the world of sailing and yachting, or maybe you are just a little rusty with your seafaring language.
Here is a taster of the words in the glossary to test yourself on:
A fixed pile of timber, concrete or metal which is used for mooring a ship, and especially for warping in or out of a dock. Also used of a navigational beacon if standing in water and rather massively built.
A hole through the bulwarks, or even through the bows of the hull itself, where the anchor chain enters. The chain then disappears down through the deck and into the chain locker via the Navel pipe.
To swell, or swell up. Likewise to plim up. Used of plums and suchlike by fruit growers, and of the planking of wooden boats by yachtsmen. A boat which has been long ashore may take water when first put afloat, but, just ‘give her time to plim up’ and she’ll get tight.
Stays, usually of wire rope, supporting the mast at each side. Cap shrouds go to the top of the mast, ‘lowers’ go to some intermediate point, often about two-thirds of the way up, where Spreaders are fitted.
A warning on a chart to be vigilant for a possible danger, not exactly specified nor even certain to exist. Reported potential dangers, which may or may not exist and whose position is doubtful, are themselves called vigia.
The Neil Murphy Sailing Trust was established nearly a year ago by Maddie King in memory of her partner, Neil Murphy, who died in a motorbike accident in September, 2011.
Ms King launched the trust to share her partner’s love of sailing in the Lake District.
The trust provides funding for youths up to the age of 21 who have never been sailing, and helps them to gain their first level qualifications.
Funding will be given to groups who might be described as disadvantaged, discriminated against or vulnerable, including youth offenders. Equipment will be provided.
Read the full article here: ‘Neil’s sailing legacy for youth groups’ or go to the Neil Murphy Sailing Trust website for details of how to apply.