independent

Friday 31 October 2014

Coast Guard testing out new iPhone app

Published 28/08/2012 | 14:58

COASTAL communities in Fingal may have a safer time at sea soon with a new iPhone app being developed by the Irish Coast Guard. The Irish Coast Guard is developing a new iPhone app with the potential to save lives at sea.

The app which has already been 3-4 months in development has now commenced live trials and a cross-section of people across Ireland are testing it. The test group includes sailors, divers, fishermen, powerboat users and pleasure-craft water users from every corner of Ireland. The groups are being asked to test the app in a variety of situations, including diverse weather conditions and their feedback and experience will be invaluable to the development of the final app. While the app will initially be for iPhone users, it will also be extended to other smartphones depending on the uptake. All going well, the new app could come into use before the end of 2012 or early 2013.

The Irish Coast Guards say the purpose of the app is to further encourage anyone going out to sea whether it is professionally or for leisure or sport to let the Coast Guard know in advance. 'Getting to casualties early is the key for our search and rescue Units. This new app has the potential to get our resources on-scene as quickly as possible which will in turn save lives,' the Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard service said: 'It is important to remember though that while we are trialling this new technology for use, remember that it is not being developed as an alternative to VHF radio or emergency beacons. ' It is important that before going to sea check local weather conditions and tides in the area and wear correctly maintained and fitting lifejackets that are suitable for the activity. 'Lifejackets are of no use unless they are worn. As well as that, ensure your craft is fit for purpose and always advise someone as to where you are going and the time of your intended return.

'If you do see someone in difficulty in the sea, on the shore, cliffs, lakes or rivers dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.'

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