Free App Helps Boaters Get Found Fast
February 23, 2011
BoatUS is offering a free new application for so-called smart phones that will come in handy if your boat breaks down or runs out of gas. The new app automatically sends your lat/lon coordinates and other info to a towboat operator (or friend) when you place a call. You don’t have to be a BoatUS member to download the app.
“The new app can greatly improve towboat response times due to the accuracy of the GPS technology built into these high-tech phones,” said BoatUS Vice President of Towing Services, Jerry Cardarelli. “The moment you hit the app’s ‘Call Now for a Tow’ button, it automatically provides us with critical information before our crew even answers the phone. We think the app really adds a new layer of comfort and peace of mind.”
Available for iPhones and Android phones, the app is available by going to BoatUS Apps. Once you upload it to your smart phone and enter your contact and personal information, you’re good to go.
The app gives boaters 3 choices of contact: Call Now for a Tow, Share Your Location, and BoatUS Directory.
- When “Call Now for a Tow” is activated, the app operates similarly to the roadside assistance operator system built into General Motors vehicles. Data, including your precise latitude and longitude, your boat’s make and length, your emergency contact information, whether you have a working VHF radio aboard, and your smart phone number, are automatically provided to the BoatUS 24-hour dispatch centers before voice communication takes place. BoatUS members with the association’s nationwide roadside Trailer Assist service can also take this app with them from the water to the road to summon help for a disabled vehicle or boat trailer (while towing). Trailer Assist will even winch your rig out of a slippery launch ramp if you’re stuck.
- The “Share Your Location” feature makes it easy to privately send text messages or emails containing your latitude and longitude with a Google map link, alerting your friends to where the fish are biting, or where the big raft up is on Saturday afternoon. Additionally, anytime the app is activated it automatically displays latitude and longitude at the top of the phone’s display – regardless of cell coverage. This feature turns a smart phone into a backup GPS, essentially allowing boaters to use the latitude and longitude information to give to rescuers via VHF radio. (BoatUS reminds boaters that a VHF marine radio should be any boater’s first choice for emergency communications.) The BoatUS Towing app can also be used in conjunction with your float plan, allowing you to easily text or email friends and family ashore (if within range of a cell tower). Your trip can also be tracked 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 the phone’s Internet connection is operable and they are in cell-phone range).
- Lastly, the “BoatUS Directory” feature allows boaters to join or renew membership with the association very easily over the phone, get a quote for BoatUS insurance, file an insurance claim, see BoatUS news online, or speak to the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water.
For more information:
Will you be downloading this app to your phone?
Do you believe this application will make life safer on the water? Please share your comments below.