Your safety on the water should always be a high priority, but is often something we can forget as windsurfers. The RYA have introduced a new system, SafeTrx, which could be the ultimate answer for when/if it all goes wrong on the water…
RYA SafeTrx is an alternative tracking and alerting system for the UK that uses iPhone and Android smartphone technology. The App was developed by DeCare Systems Ireland Ltd in close co-operation with SAR professionals and RYA SafeTrx has the full support of the MCA. SafeTrx is also the standard solution in mobile application vessel tracking in Ireland, Australia, Spain, South Africa and the Netherlands.
Anyone who uses RYA SafeTrx can file a passage or trip plan and ETA from their smartphone onto the RYA SafeTrx system. The app then tracks where you are and will alert an emergency contact designated by them should the journey exceed the ETA. If conditions mean that the ETA changes then it can easily be amended en-route.
RYA SafeTrx App
RYA SafeTrx is not intended as a replacement for normally approved tracking and alerting devices (VHFDSC, EPIRB, PLB, AIS, etc.). However, it can provide a simple cost-effective means of tracking and alerting for those who use small boats such as RIBs, PWCs, windsurfers and dinghies where existing tracking technology is not always practical and who are mostly boating in coastal or inland areas where there is a cell signal.
If you are boating from a launch place on the shore (windsurfing or kite surfing for example) you can set up SafeTrx in alert mode with the time you expect to return and leave it in your car; it won’t record a track but it will still raise an alert if you do not return on time.
Triggering the alert
If a trip plan isn’t closed either on arrival or if the ETA is exceeded because an incident has prevented you from doing so, then an alerting escalation process is automatically triggered. This starts with a notification that the ETA is due to expire. The App then continues to send notifications to the user at regular intervals until the passage plan is closed; if it isn’t then the App sends an SMS message to the boaters’ emergency contacts advising them to contact both you and the Coastguard.
Helping take the search out of search and rescue
Overdue alert and location information can be viewed by the Coastguard enabling it to respond to anyone who is overdue; if an alert is received the Coast Guard is not struggling to determine where to begin the search effort.
The App reports location data to the SafeTrx server in small data packets in regular intervals. If there is no cell network available to transmit the location data then the app will record it on the Smartphone’s internal storage.
In addition to the Alert mode, the App has a tracking option called performance mode; ideal for windsurfers, kitesurfers and dinghy sailing enthusiasts. Performance mode comes with a quick start feature that starts tracking at the touch of a button and records vessel speed and track. Performance Mode trips have a playback feature.
How it works
Step one – Registration
Register your vessel, personal and vehicle details on the RYA SafeTrx website
Download the App on your smartphone
Step two – Create a trip plan on departure
Enter vessel details, destination ETA, no. of people on board and purpose of trip
Enter emergency contact details
Choose trip start, waypoint and end point
Press set sail
Step three – GPS Tracking on vessel
Transmits position, speed and heading to the RYA server at regular intervals
Step four – successfully close trip plan
Closes out trip plan on reaching destination or amends ETA details mid-passage
Step five – failure to close trip plan
Triggers a set of escalation messages to the skipper and finally the boater’s emergency contacts
RYA SafeTrx Monitoring Console assists in locating overdue vessel
SafeTrx upgrades for 2015
There are a number of significant upgrades offering functional enhancements to the existing platform with each SafeTrx 2014 customer getting an automatic upgrade to the new software.
RYA SafeTrx App
Users will have the ability to quickly activate a distress call or ask for assistance directly from their safeTrx app by pressing and holding the trip screen. Location, speed and heading will be displayed on the distress call screen.
Users will be able to create their own personalised checklists to be included as part of a trip plan to be checked before departure. Checklists can also be created for winter storage or preparing for the start of the season; these are printable.
Performance mode will enable users to log top speed, average speed, fastest five-minute leg, fastest one-minute leg and total distance travelled.
In addition to filing a sailing plan, RYA SafeTrx Alert Mode will give the user the option of track playback. The playback screen animates the trip displaying top speed, average speed and distance travelled.
SMS end trip will give users a prompted option of notifying their emergency contacts when they have arrived safetly and closed their trip plan.
Free for RYA members
The RYA SafeTrx App is free for RYA members to download and use for each trip they make. Non-members will have to pay a nominal charge per trip. RYA Members will also benefit from exclusive functionality within the RYA SafeTrx App including performance and passage analytics.