Boating safety in your pocket: Coast Guard launches mobile app

An image of the Coast Guard boating safety app. 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. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Nick Ameen)

An image of the Coast Guard boating safety app.(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Nick Ameen)

SEATTLE — The Coast Guard is scheduled to release its first-ever boating safety application for mobile devices, Saturday.

The free app will be available on Apple  App Store and Google Play online store and is designed to provide boating safety resources to mariners using a mobile device.

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 locations services enabled, will call the closest Coast Guard command center.

“The release of this mobile application is a step forward for the Coast Guard as we embrace new technologies,” said Capt. Joe Raymond, commander, Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound and Captain  of the Port Puget Sound. “The intention is to make the information and resources more accessible to the boating public.”

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.

The app was developed over a two-year period with BastayaPR, a non-profit organization in Puerto Rico.

National Safe Boating Week, May 16 – 22, is an annual event to encourage all boaters to practice safe boating. For more information on NSBW as well as general boating safety information, please visit http://ift.tt/RYRykX and http://ift.tt/1mA741R.

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