Should the need ever arise, you want the Coastguard to be in the best possible position to assist. Image: MCA
How to use the search and rescue app to create a safety plan for your trip.
With the sailing season now in full swing, the RYA, RNLI and HM Coastguard are reminding boaters that the tracking and alerting tool, RYA SafeTrx, is freely available to anyone who wants to be safer afloat.
The app provides all recreational boat users, particularly dinghy cruisers, PWC users, RIB users, canoers, kayakers, wind and kite surfers and smaller boat users with an easily accessible and simple to use means that can inform HM Coastguard of their voyage plans and dynamic location in the event of distress.
Before sailing, it is important to tell a friend or relative ashore (your emergency contact) about your plans and to make sure you have a suitable means of communication on board for routine messaging and emergency situations.
With RYA SafeTrx you can enter your plans and contact details directly from a smartphone
RYA SafeTrx allows you to enter your plans and contact details directly from a smartphone knowing that should you not arrive by the time given, your nominated emergency contact will be alerted and advised to initiate appropriate action.
Where an emergency contact calls HM Coastguard about an overdue trip, the Coastguard will have access to the boater’s location and SafeTrx trip data through a secure SafeTrx server. This will help the Coastguard to get help directly to you, and quickly.
RYA Cruising Manager Stuart Carruthers said: “The RYA SafeTrx app is more than a mobile vessel tracking application, it is also a practical tool that provides additional safety information. As well as the sail plan mode, which records a starting point, a destination and an estimated time of arrival for your emergency contacts, features include equipment and safety checklists, marina and harbour information and weather information. It is worth taking a little time to explore everything SafeTrx can do for a safe and smooth sail.”
In addition to the features the app offers, users also have access to the RYA SafeTrx website at safetrx.rya.org.uk. Here accounts, vessel details and emergency contacts can be managed, checklists can be personalised and trips can be reviewed.
For users who do not want to use the app, there is the option to register an account and vessel details online via the website. The details entered will be kept in the RYA SafeTrx database and will be available to HM Coastguard if the user ever needs assistance.
RYA SafeTrx & CG66
HM Coastguard has approved RYA SafeTrx as its replacement for the official voluntary safety identification scheme, better known as CG66.
RYA SafeTrx builds on the advantages of the CG66 scheme to assist HM Coastguard with search and rescue and provides enhanced functionality if used together with the optional RYA SafeTrx mobile app.
As part of the changeover, HM Coastguard stopped taking registrations for the CG66 scheme on 11 July 2018 but will retain access to the CG66 database for two years.
The data from CG66 has not been migrated to the RYA SafeTrx database, therefore, anyone who wishes to make use of RYA SafeTrx will need to register on the RYA SafeTrx system when and if they choose to do so.
HM Coastguard can be contacted over VHF or phone so that you can advise them that you have arrived safely. Image: MCA
To get started with the RYA SafeTrx app:
- Download the app from the UK Apple App Store and Google Play Store
- Register a new account on the RYA SafeTrx app
- Log in to the app with your e-mail and password
- Register your boat and emergency contact details
The RYA SafeTrx user guide is available at www.rya.org.uk/go/safetrx and provides detailed information on both the RYA SafeTrx app and the RYA SafeTrx website. It includes:
- recommended phone settings for using the app
- illustrated step-by-step guidance for installing the app, registering an account, navigating the menu, registering a vessel and entering a sail plan
- details of track only mode, which allows users to monitor and record their performance on the water, and group sharing
- details of how to access safety information and use the RYA SafeTrx website
- limitations on mobile services
- Tell your emergency contact that they have been nominated and let them know what you are doing. The RYA SafeTrx app gives you the option of sending your emergency contacts an SMS with your Sail Plan trip details after you start your trip and also after you have closed your trip to let them know that you have arrived safely.
- If you cannot close a Sail Plan or Track Only trip, call or SMS your emergency contact to tell them you have arrived safely.
- If you cannot make contact with your emergency contact, HM Coastguard can be contacted over VHF or phone so that you can advise them that you have arrived safely.
- It is important to consider the level of cellular coverage on your route and at your destination. The RYA SafeTrx app requires a mobile data connection to transmit location data in real time, and to start/stop Sail Plan and Track Only trips. As a guideline on mobile coverage, OFCOM have a mobile coverage checker app (www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/advice-for-consumers/advice/ofcom-checker) that may be useful when deciding to log a Sail Plan or not. Boats sailing to more remote areas that have intermittent reception should be GMDSS equipped.
Visit www.rya.org.uk/go/safetrx for further details and guidance including the RYA SafeTrx user guide and FAQs.
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