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Safe at Sea: U.S. Coast Guard unveils safety app

By Staff | Jun 9, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED

As recently as the end of May, the United States Coast Guard released a mobile app to provide users with 24/7 access to the most commonly requested information an resources for the recreational boating public. On their mobile phones, a boater can access safety regulations, request a vessel-safety check, file a float plan, report hazards and suspicious activity and request emergency assistance.

Features include:

– Find the latest safety regulations

– Find the Navigation Rules

– Report pollution

– Check your safety equipment

– Find the nearest NOAA buoy

– File a float plan

– Request emergency assistance

– Request a vessel safety check (America’s Boating Club of Sanibel-Captiva can do it!)

As the nation’s recreational boating safety coordinator, the Coast Guard works to minimize loss of life, personal injury, property damage, and environmental harm.

The Coast Guard’s boating safety program involves regulation of boat design and construction, approval of boating safety equipment, and vessel safety checks for compliance with federal and state safety requirements. “The Coast Guard Mobile App supports these missions by providing the essential services and information most commonly requested by boaters,” the USCG reported.

Features of the app include: state boating information; a safety equipment checklist; free boating safety check requests; navigation rules; float plans; and calling features to report pollution or suspicious activity.

When location services are enabled, users can receive the latest weather reports from the closest National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather buoys as well as report the location of a hazard on the water.

The app also features an Emergency Assistance button which, with location service enabled, will call the closest Coast Guard command center.

The Boating Safety Mobile app was not designed to replace a boater’s marine VHF radio, which the Coast Guard strongly recommends all boaters have aboard their vessels. The app was mainly designed to provide additional boating safety resources for mobile device users.

The app is self-contained, so personal information is stored on the phone and is not sent to the Coast Guard unless the user chooses to send it. The Coast Guard does not track a user’s location, and the app does not track a user’s location unless the app is being used.

Pat Schmidt is a member of America’s Boating Club of Sanibel-Captiva. For more about the chapter and the courses it offers, visit www.sancapboating.club or contact education@sanibelcaptivasps.org or 612-987-2125.