News - July 04, 2018

HM Coastguard adopts ‘RYA SafeTrx’ as new safety ID scheme

The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) have today joined forces to reveal RYA SafeTrx as HM Coastguard’s new official voluntary safety identification scheme.

RYA SafeTrx: designed to improve safety at sea

The world-leading RYA SafeTrx app is designed to improve safety at sea and potentially cut vital minutes off the time taken to pinpoint a casualty’s location. It monitors your boat journeys and alerts designated emergency contacts should you fail to arrive on time.

Using iPhone and Android smartphone technology, this free tracking and alerting system is easily accessible and ideal for everyone who enjoys being on the water – from kitesurfers and kayakers to dinghy sailors and powerboat users.

Notify the Coastguard at the touch of a button

The free RYA SafeTrx mobile app and website, now supersedes the HM Coastguard CG66 scheme. It combines a more technologically cutting-edge version of the CG66 database function with additional lifesaving technologies so that you can make a 999 call to the Coastguard at the touch of a button.

The app can be used free of charge in UK territorial waters and is used by many other search and rescue organisations across the globe.

Freely available to any UK resident

The RYA SafeTrx app is available to any UK resident who wants to be safer afloat and already has over 13,000 users. It provides all recreational boat users with an accessible and simple-to-use way of automatically informing HM Coastguard of their voyage plans, vessel and crew information, incident data, dynamic location and even a direct 999 connection in the event of distress.

‘When we receive an emergency call we need a huge amount of information fast. This app helps us access all your details, so that you can get a swifter response with the right resources,’ says the MCA’s Director of Maritime Operations & HM Coastguard, Richard Parkes.

‘RYA SafeTrx uses real-time advanced technology. CG66 was just a database, but the new app allows users to do so much more, including summoning the Coastguard – which could save lives. The precise geolocation feature for example, allows the Coastguard to know where the caller is, an important consideration when the person in distress is unsure of where they are, disoriented, injured or unfamiliar with the area.

‘We have already contacted CG66 users to tell them about the switchover to RYA SafeTrx. The handover is well underway and from Wednesday 11 July people will be redirected from GOV.UK’s CG66 page to the RYA SafeTrx website. Information on CG66 will still be accessible to the Coastguard, but we will no longer be accepting new information.

‘I’d like to take this opportunity to remind all boaters that you must continue to use emergency alerting equipment appropriate to your sport. RYA SafeTrx complements this equipment but is not designed to be used instead of it.’

RYA Cruising Manager, Stuart Carruthers, added: ‘With the full support of the MCA, the RYA SafeTrx app promotes enjoyable boating, a safe mind set and good practice. The software consulting company behind the development of SafeTrx, 8 West Consulting, is striving to make this the default technology for keeping the ordinary seafarer safer at sea. With that goal in mind, it is vital that the product continues to adapt to new challenges and opportunities.’

RYA SafeTrx is free to download from Apple app store or Google Play. Once downloaded, boaters can run unlimited free trips using the app. In addition to the Sail Plan mode, the app has a tracking option called Track Only mode, which enables boaters to analyse their speed and performance on the water while racing or cruising. For customers who do not wish to use the mobile app, there is an option to register their details online at https://safetrx.rya.org.uk/login.html.


News - June 27, 2018

Royal Netherlands Watersport Union talk all things safety with SafeTrx and the KNRM helps app

A recent article in the Watersporters news from the Koninklijk Nederlands Watersport Verbond (Royal Netherlands Watersport Union) featured two missions conducted by the KNRM - Koninklijke Nederlandse Redding Maatschappij.

Close cooperation between Watersportverbond (Royal Netherlands Watersport Union) and the KNRM

The Watersportverbond (the Royal Netherlands Watersport Union) collaborates with many partners, one of which is the Royal Dutch Rescue Society (KNRM): the rescue agency on the water, both at sea and on inland waterways.

In the first years after its foundation in 1824 KNRM lifeboats only performed a few times a year and the emphasis was on rescue and help for sailors. In recent years, prevention has also become part of the task and is now formally part of KNRM’s mission. The reason for this is drastic changes in water sports and the social obligation to try to prevent incidents, injuries and damage. “Rescue by the KNRM is free, but not every water sports enthusiast realizes that such costs can be prevented in a number of cases. And that is also the reason that the KNRM pays a lot of attention to prevention” according to Henk Kok of the KNRM. One of the aids in prevention is the KNRM Helpt app, which has been available since 2015. It is an easy and quick way to call for assistance or help.

In more than thirty years the Belgian sailor Christian Muyls never needed the KNRM until last year. Over two weeks the Belgian had to use the KNRM Helpt app twice. The first time was for assistance, the second time there was a serious need. In November 2017 he made a test run with a new yacht when the engine stopped on the Markermeer. Thanks to the KNRM Helps app he got the advice to return to Lelystad, where he was towed in by the lifeboat.

Two weeks after the technical defect, Muyls sailed with a friend on a trip to Belgium when things went wrong. “It was wonderful until Hoek van Holland. There the wind fell away and we had to continue on the engine. West of Walcheren the ship suddenly sounded an alarm. I asked my friend to see what was wrong. His announcement was appalling: The ship is full of water!” Indeed the pillows were floating around in the cabins. Christians shipmate shot a flare into the dark night sky, while Christian went looking for the leak with a flashlight and in the meantime started an alarm. Because the radio had become disabled due to the high water, the experienced sailor had to rely on the App again. “The emergency button this time. Those guys came out of their beds to come to me in the darkness. ” He continued “… as far as I am concerned the App KNRM Helps is an excellent extension of their work. “

Frank Bertels, who lives in Belgium, read about the KNRM Helps app in the magazine Zeilen. “I downloaded the app from interest, but then I could not suspect that I would have to use the app so quickly.” The Breskens lifeboat assisted the experienced sailor after an insoluble technical problem. Bertels sailed up to the Westerschelde on the road to Vlissingen when the mainsail at the top of the mast became stuck. ‘Not immediately an emergency situation,’ said Frank, but at the same time help was needed. Through the KNRM Helps app, the Belgian connected with the KNRM Emergency Center and lifeboat skipper Marcel van den Nieuwendijk. “That contact was very pleasant,” says Bertels. “He told me that the lifeboat from Breskens would come to us, whatever happened. We were then assisted in an expert and pleasant way.” He continued “KNRM Helps has proved to be a very good and easy way to call for help in situations where there is no question of need and death. Absolutely a must for every water sports enthusiast! “Frank Bertels concludes his story:” I shared the story with my neighbor in the berth next to me and he immediately installed the KNRM Helpt on his phone! “

New function helps associations for competitions or tours

A new feature of KNRM Helpt is the so-called Flotilla function that allows groups of users (boats, canoeists or surfers) to be tracked. The function supports associations that organize competitions or tours. In addition, it provides insight into the current locations of participants (with mobile coverage) and offers organisers additional information about the participants in case of emergencies. Flotilla can also reduce administration for associations. The Watersportverbond and the KNRM will carry out a couple of pilots this summer with Flotilla. Gaining experience and drawing lessons for improvement is the goal of the pilot. The Coast Guard is interested in participating.

Authors: Het “Koninklijk Nederlands Watersport Verbond” or the “Royal Netherlands Watersport Union” is the national governing body for the sports of sailing, surfing, and canoeing in the Netherlands, recognised by the “World Sailing”.

Watersporters Article


News - May 11, 2018

SafeTrx Flotilla Event Launches In The UK

8 West Consulting, the developers of SafeTrx, the leading maritime non GMDSS public safety system, is pleased to announce Ocean Sports Coaching as the second customer for SafeTrx Flotilla Event.

Ocean Sports is a UK based company that is all about bringing the community of paddlers and surfski racers together to experience the ocean. Their mission statement says “75% of the planet is water…get out on it!”. Ocean Sports runs bespoke academy coaching days and weekends to hone paddling technique and ocean skills as well as events.

This coming Sunday the 13th of May Ocean Sports is running the Celtic Crossing, where paddlers will journey from the Scillies to Cornwall in the most challenging paddling event in Europe, over 53kms of open ocean paddling. We are excited to track this event live and we wish all the participants the very best of luck. Glenn Eldridge, Principal at Ocean Sports, said “Celtic Crossing is the kind of extreme ocean sports event where safety is paramount, and we are proud to bring innovation and enhanced safety to the race for our participants using SafeTrx Flotilla Event”.

Paul Ryan, Head of New Business Development at 8 West, said “We look forward to setting up future events with Ocean Sports and working closely with Glenn and his team to bring safety to the forefront of all their events. SafeTrx Flotilla Event is an ideal solution for paddle race organisers to manage events and to allow the public to view and playback events.”


News - April 30, 2018

SafeTrx Flotilla Event used in South Africa’s surfski event, Freedom Paddle on Friday 27th of April

Our new SafeTrx Flotilla Event solution was used in South Africa’s challenging surfski event, the 28 kilometer Freedom Paddle in Cape Town. The race was held on “Freedom Day” which is a public holiday on the 27th of April commemorating the liberation of South Africa.

The event saw over 200 paddlers take to the water, braving the weather conditions and the currents to paddle around Robben island.

All competitors used their NSRI SafeTrx apps to enter the SafeTrx Flotilla event code which allowed them to be tracked by the maritime Search and Rescue and by the event organisers. People were able to immerse themselves in the race by following it live on the SafeTrx Flotilla Event Freedom Paddle and access the replay of the race on the website.

For one of the competitors the race ended unexpectedly. The competitor activated an emergency using his RSA SafeTrx app and reported to be suffering nausea and motion sickness. The NSRI lifeboat Rotarian Schipper diverted to the coordinates provided on the RSA SafeTrx app emergency activation. The paddler was taken on-board the sea rescue craft and brought into Cape Town harbour without incident and no further assistance was required.

A report on the race can be found at here and a SABC TV report on the race can be watched here.