If you are an avid boater, consider a boating safety app for your phone. The United States Coast Guard offers a boating app that has the following features:
The ability to report a hazard;
The ability to report suspicious activity;
The ability to report pollution;
The ability to locate the nearest National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) buoy;
Access to Navigation Rules;
A guide to checking your safety equipment;
The ability to request a vessel safety check;
The opportunity to review the latest safety regulations;
The ability to file a float plan; and
The ability to request emergency assistance.
The Coast Guard is the boating safety coordinator for recreational boating. They work to minimize environmental harm, property damage, personal injury and loss of life. This is the first app created by the Coast Guard for preventive boater safety. The app provides the information and essential services that are most commonly requested by boaters. The app is available in Apple’s App Store for iOS devices, and on Google Play for Android devices.
The Story Behind the App
This app was born out of tragedy.
At the age of 17, Mr. Julian Romero joined the Coast Guard Auxiliary, which is an all volunteer group that supports the Coast Guard. At the time, Julian was the youngest Auxiliarist at Sector San Juan, according to his father. He studied at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy for one year, before transferring to the InterAmerican University in Puerto Rico. His plan was to join the active duty Coast Guard while studying to be a lawyer. On April 18, 2011, tragedy struck. Julian and his girlfriend went for a walk in the Old San Juan area of Puerto Rico. They were robbed at knifepoint by a 14 year old boy. Julian died of injuries while attempting to protect his girlfriend from the assault.
Because of Julian’s passion for the Coast Guard, his father Luis reached out to the Coast Guard and asked if he could sponsor a boating safety app for them. Julian did a lot of boat safety work in the auxiliary. Luis says, “In the Coast Guard, Julian found a great family. That same family was very good to us. When our son died they came to our help, and we came together to get through it as a family.”
The app was funded by Louis Romero, from Puerto Rico. Mr. Romero funded the app in honor of Julian’s memory. In addition to funding the creation of the app, Mr. Romero has committed to fund all updates and other support for the app’s lifespan. Mr. Romero notes that the app mirror’s his son’s drive to save lives and help others.
Users have the option to enable or disable location services. When enabled, users can report locations of hazards on the water. They can also use location services to receive the latest weather reports from the closest National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather buoys. The location services feature also allows boaters to call the closest Coast Guard command center in an emergency. When the app is not being used, neither the Coast Guard nor the app track the user’s location.
The Coast Guard offers safety checks for your boat. With this, you can request that the Coast Guard Auxiliary come to you to perform a safety check. This can save you time and keep you and your family safe.
The Coast Guard app includes a list of safety equipment. The list is based on the size and the propulsion of the boat.
If you forgot to file your float plan before you left, it is not too late! With the app, you can file your float plan and send it to your friends and family alike. The app allows the filer to provide details such as the estimated time of arrival, the description of the boat, a passenger list, a list of food and water on board, and the checklist of safety gear available on the boat. These details can assist the Coast Guard if an emergency presents itself and a boater is in trouble. The float plan is not sent to the Coast Guard directly. Rather, the idea is to forward the plan to friends or family, who could provide it to the Coast Guard in the case of an emergency.
State Boating Information
You can use the app to find information about boating that is state specific. This can come in quite handy during long trips.
Rules of the Road
The app includes detailed information about the rules of boating and boating safety.
You can report pollution, suspicious activities, and possible hazards directly to the Coast Guard. As an example, the Coast Guard cites a situation where someone reported a submerged vessel that was blocking their way. The app allowed the reporter to provide a picture, longitude, and latitude to the Coast Guard.
This app is not intended to replace a marine VHF radio. The Coast Guard strongly recommends that all boaters have a marine VHF radio on their vessels. Additionally, this app is not intended to replace an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB). This app is not a substitute for safe boating safety classes or the boater’s best judgment in a given situation. This app is simply designed to provide additional boating safety resources. According to Captain Joe Raymond, who is commander of the Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound, “The release of this mobile application is a step forward for the Coast Guard as we embrace new technologies. The intention is to make the information and resources more accessible to the boating public.”
If You Have Been Injured While Boating
If you have experienced an injury while boating, or if you have lost a loved one due to a boating incident, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the experienced Florida accident attorneys at Madalon Law to discuss the facts and circumstances of your particular situation.