Practical Boat Owner: The dates for Push The Boat Out 2016 have been announced as 14 to 22 May. Organisers at the Rotal Yachting Association (RYA) hope the recent success of the America’s Cup World Series Portsmouth, will inspire even more to get out on the water when the free and reduced sailing tasters return next year.
The 2015 Push The Boat Out (PTBO) event saw more than 24,000 newcomers to the sport attend events at almost 350 locations across the UK, with around 16,000 people taking to the water.
Venues provided opportunities to go afloat in dinghies, yachts and on windsurf boards, alongside a range of off-the-water activities.
So far, according to feedback from clubs and centres, the event has attracted more than 2,000 individual and nearly 1,500 family memberships. More than 3,000 individuals have signed up for follow-on activities including additional taster sessions and start sailing courses.
This year, for the first time, PTBO was held over a nine-day period instead of a weekend, and the same extended format will return in 2016.
In the East, Grafham Water Sailing Club held a successful open day, welcoming 50 visitors through their doors and managing to entice 30 new club members – a significant increase on last year’s numbers.
‘Clubs and centres continue to get better and better at providing a welcoming environment, and we are really excited for next year’s event which I’m sure will prove even more popular.
‘With the America’s Cup World Series taking place in the UK once more in 2016 and of course the Rio Olympics just around the corner, it is a fantastic time to reach out to those inspired to try sailing by these unique events.
‘Push The Boat Out will be the perfect opportunity for new people try out our fantastic sport.’ With clubs and centres organising next season’s activities well in advance, the dates for PTBO 2016 have been confirmed as early as possible, so that planning for individual events can begin in good time.
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.’