News - April 18, 2017
SafeTrx Raises Alarm on Capsized RIB in South Africa
On Monday 17th April, the National Sea Rescue Institute’s Mykonos lifeboat station was activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) following a SafeTrx distress call received from 2 persons on a capsized RIB off-shore of Gonnemanskraal, Jacobsbaai. Reporting a third person was still under water scuba diving from their boat at the capsized position, they made an emergency call to the MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) to raise the alarm. In addition, family in Cape Town who had also received the SafeTrx overdue SMS message, contacted friends in Jacobsbaai who launched their private boat to go to assist.
The following is the incident report from NSRI Mykonos Station Commander, Casper Frylink:
“At 14h03, Monday, 17th April, NSRI Mykonos were activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) following an NSRI RSA SafeTrx distress call received from 2 persons on a capsized rubber-duck off-shore of Gonnemanskraal, Jacobsbaai, and reporting a diver still down scuba diving from their boat at their capsized position.
NSRI Mykonos launched the sea rescue craft Spirit of Freemasonry and Gemini Rescuer II and responded 20 nautical miles to the scene. On arrival at the scene, about a nautical mile off-shore, found all persons safe and other boats in attendance and assisting.
Matthew and Megan Melidonis, aged 30 and 31, from Kirstenhof, Cape Town, both NSRI coxswains, off-duty on a recreational day diving and on a rubber-duck owned and skippered by 77 year old Doug Cleland, from Camps Bay, were scuba diving on a reef off-shore of Gonnemanskraal on the West Coast.
Matthew was scuba diving and under water at the time when waves caused the rubber-duck to capsize with Megan and Doug onboard.
Megan and Doug were able to climb onto the upturned hull of the capsized rubber-duck and Megan used her cellphone to activate the NSRI’s RSA SafeTrx emergency phone application that is downloaded to her phone and to also make a call to MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) to raise the alarm and to inform that her husband was still under water scuba diving.
Megan then free dived under the boat to recover the capsize kit and fire off a red distress flare in the direction of a fishing vessel passing by less than a nautical mile from their position but the distress flare appears to have gone unnoticed by the fishing vessel.
Megan then recovered and deployed the anchor to prevent the upturned boat from drifting onto rocks.
MRCC had also received the RSA SafeTrx emergency distress message at the same time as the phone call from Megan and Saldanha Bay Port Control and NSRI Mykonos were alerted by MRCC.
Family in Cape Town, who had also received the RSA SafeTrx emergency message, contacted friends in Jacobsbaai who launched their private boat to go to assist.
At that stage Matthew had surfaced from his scuba dive and he swam over to the capsized rubber-duck and once at the capsized rubber-duck he and Megan had continued to set off red distress flares at delayed intervals. The red distress flares were noticed by campers at Trekoskraal who launched their recreational craft and came to assist.
Matthew was also able to call for assistance and to confirm their position using a handheld Marine VHF radio that he recovered from their upturned craft and Telkom Maritime Radio Services intercepted the call and confirmed that NSRI Mykonos were activated and en-route.
When the two private boats arrived on the scene they were informed by the casualty crew that NSRI were also well on their way and Megan and Doug were taken onboard one of the private boats and on NSRI’s arrival on the scene Matthew remained behind to assist to right the capsize boat while one of the private boats took Megan and Doug to shore.
Their casualty boat was righted and towed to shore by NSRI and once safely ashore their boat was recovered and no further assistance was required.
The casualty crew Megan Melidonis, NSRI Hout Bay coxswain, and her husband Matthew, NSRI Simon’s Town coxswain, are commended for having all safety measures and equipment at hand to initiate an immediate rescue response and the private boats from Jacobsbaai and Trekoskraal that responded are commended for going to their assistance.”
News - February 10, 2017
FLBI joins the SafeTrx Community
Cork, Ireland 9th Feb - Following the recent launch of SafeTrx in Germany with Deutsche Gesellschaft zur RettungSchiffbrüchiger (DGzRS), 8 West Consulting, the company behind the SafeTrx vessel tracking application, today announced the official release of the Finnish Lifeboat Institute (Meripelasstusseura) SafeTrx app in Finland. Officially launched at the Helsinki International Boat Show, the voluntary organisation joins a growing list of sea rescue organisations adopting SafeTrx, the world’s leading mobile vessel tracking and safety app.
Founded in 1897, the Finnish Lifeboat Institute has approximately 1, 800 volunteers in 60 rescue stations with 130 rescue vessels across Finland in both coastal and in-land lake areas. The FLBI will offer new services to its ‘Trossi’ boating membership base and the general boating public through SafeTrx. The organisation will seek to use SafeTrx to help promote safe, responsible recreational boating in Finland’s coastal waters and inland navigable waters. The FLBI conduct more than 1600 search and rescue missions annually and assist over 3000 people in Finnish waters every year.
Branded ‘Trossi SMPS’ for the local market, the FLBI SafeTrx app uses all the standard SafeTrx vessel tracking and alerting features in addition to a number of localised features. The app includes weather information through the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) weather provider. FMI is Finland’s national meteorological service and is a public institution. Facilitated by the FMI service, the app allows the boater to choose a location and returns the hour-by-hour weather forecast over the next three days for that location. To help facilitate trip planning, the FLBI SafeTrx app includes Electronic Nautical Chart (ENC) from the Finnish Transport Agency’s OpenGIS Web Map Tile Service (WTMS). The chart data is displaying on the SafeTrx maps at specific zoom levels for coastal waters.
In addition to it’s vessel tracking capabilities, the FLBI SafeTrx app provides a mobile maritime safety platform to the Finnish boating community. Useful maritime safety information provided by the Finnish Border Guard and FLBI can be accessed by the boater when they’re online or offline. Mobile app users are also able to view the location of nearby lifeboat stations on an interactive map.
The FLBI SafeTrx app is integrated with the FLBI Trossi membership database and offers Trossi members full access to the product feature set by entering their membership number. Non-members have access to all features within the app except Sail Plan mode. Available in both English and Finnish, FLBI intends to use SafeTrx to engage with non-members and encourage membership growth.
Announcing the launch, Pertti Helaniemi, Vice Chairman of the board of the Finnish Lifeboat Institute said “We’re delighted to join sea rescue organisations worldwide in bringing SafeTrx to Finland. Offering SafeTrx to our volunteers, members and boating community enhances Finnish Lifeboat Institute’s marine search and rescue services, ultimately improving safety along Finland’s coastline and inland lakes. As a proven maritime safety platform, we are confident SafeTrx can help reduce the risk of maritime accidents and the loss of human lives at sea in Finland.”
News - January 18, 2017
SafeTrx Launches in Germany with DGzRS
Cork, Ireland (January 18th 2017 ) – 8 West Consulting, the company behind the SafeTrx vessel tracking application, today announced the addition of Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Rettung Schiffbrüchiger (DGzRS) to the SafeTrx community with the release of the ‘SafeTrx’ Smartphone app in the German Google Play and Apple App App Stores.
Established in 1865, the Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Rettung Schiffbrüchiger (DGzRS) or German Maritime Search and Rescue Service, is one of the most modern sea rescue organisations in the world. As a Search And Rescue (SAR) service,the DGzRS is on call around the clock in the North Sea and Baltic Sea in all kinds of weather with a fleet of 60 rescue vessels, 800 volunteers, 180 professionals and 54 rescue stations along the coast. In 2016, the voluntary organisation rescued 677 people and were involved in over 2,000 operations at sea. The charity finances its work exclusively through donations and voluntary contributions.
SafeTrx is a tried and trusted mobile vessel tracking solution in use across the world. Available on both Android & Apple iOS devices (iPhone, iPad), SafeTrx monitors a journey, alerts designated contacts should a journey go overdue and provides a Web-based user interface for the SAR service to rapidly assist in locating an overdue vessel. Developed in co-operation with SAR and Coast Guard organisations, SafeTrx is now the standard solution in mobile application vessel tracking in Ireland, the UK, Australia, Spain, South Africa, the Netherlands, Norway, Finland and Germany.
Available in German and English, the DGzRS SafeTrx app uses all the standard SafeTrx 2016 vessel tracking and alerting features in addition to significant functional enhancements which have been added to this year’s product upgrade. To facilitate trip planning, the DGzRS SafeTrx mobile app includes weather information through the ‘Deutscher Wetterdienst’ weather provider. Deutscher Wetterdienst is Germany’s national meteorological service and is a public institution. The DGzRS SafeTrx app displays the daily weather observations and region specific forecasts from Deutscher Wetterdienst.
In addition to it’s vessel tracking capabilities, the DGzRS SafeTrx app provides a mobile maritime safety platform to the German boating community. Useful maritime safety information such as trip preparation, safety equipment, basic navigation skills and advice in emergency situations can be accessed by the boater when they’re online or offline. Mobile app users are also able to view the location of nearby lifeboat stations on an interactive map.
Speaking on behalf of the DGzRS, Udo Helge Fox, Executive Director of the DGzRS, commented; “SafeTrx gives rescue services access to data the skippers provide themselves as long as they are in range of a mobile network. In case of an emergency, the MRCC can use the stored data to support search missions. Sometimes the information we get on missing leisure boats is very poor. We are sure that SafeTrx can help to close this gap and will be of great support to locate people who need assistance, and it will minimize false alerts from family members that we often get if crews are overdue.”
John Murphy, CEO of 8 West Consulting, commented, “We’re delighted that the DGzRS are making our vessel tracking application available to the German maritime community. They join a growing number of search and rescue services worldwide that understand the true potential of our software”.
Developed in co-operation with SAR and Coast Guard organisations, SafeTrx is now the standard solution in mobile application vessel tracking in Australia with the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard and Marine Rescue Queensland; in Spain with the Salvamento Marítimo; in South Africa with the National Sea Rescue Institution; the Netherlands with the Koninklijke Nederlandse Redding Maatschappij; in Norway with Redningsselskapet; in Germany with the Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Rettung Schiffbrüchiger; in Finland with the Suomen Meripelastusseura; in Ireland with the Irish Sailing Association and in the UK with the Royal Yachting Association.
Nessa Malone, SafeTrx Product Manager
Press and Public Relations
News - November 24, 2016
Community Collaboration at the Annual SafeTrx User Group Meeting
The goal of the software consulting company behind the development of SafeTrx is to make it the default technology for keeping the ordinary seafarer and leisure sports persons safe at sea. With that goal in mind, the product must continue to adapt to new challenges and opportunities and the SafeTrx team recognises that the best informed people to guide the adaptation are those organisations that have been successfully deploying and utilising SafeTrx and actually saving lives.
The second 2016 SafeTrx User Group (SUG) meeting took place on Wednesday October 26th 2016 in Schiphol outside Amsterdam. It proved to be a very productive and engaging event. The SUG’s meeting aims are chiefly to promote cooperation and information exchange between existing and future SafeTrx users, which include Sea Rescue and Coast Guard organisations and other interested parties from around the world. Such cooperation will lead to more successful and efficient implementation of SafeTrx and associated services for the present user community and for future adopters.
Representatives from the following organisations were present:
The meeting was chaired by Nessa Malone, SafeTrx Product Manager. Nessa was joined by her colleague John Murphy.
Nessa facilitated a series of presentations and follow up discussion by attendees.
First to speak was Henk Kok, Senior International Advisor Search & Rescue with the KNRM. He presented and shared their experiences on the usage of the 2016 SafeTrx app with meeting attendees. He recounted details from some operational rescues aided by SafeTrx over the past 12 months and led a worthwhile discussion on the opportunities associated with implementing SafeTrx.
Wiljan Meijvogel, KNRM’s Policy and Innovation Advisor, described the operational policies and standards the KNRM have put in place as part of their SafeTrx implementation. This very useful and informative session gave an opportunity for the group to exchange experiences, lessons learnt and share best practices. These experience-derived templates will be very beneficial for future users in any operational theatre.
The group then addressed the challenging concept of ‘international cooperation’ and how it might be aligned to the SafeTrx strategy. This is a complex, multi-faceted area for the community to explore with many challenges from a territorial, jurisdictional, legal, political and economic standpoint. However, it will undoubtedly give rise to enormous safety, efficiency and economy of resources benefits should these all be resolved satisfactorily. Several themes arose from this discussion and all attendees agreed these topics would remain on the community’s agenda for ongoing discussion and exploration.
SafeTrx users and future user community collaboration in the areas of product direction and feature sets, shared safety materials, third party data sources and operations were also considered and multiple ideas were exchanged.
John and Nessa outlined the proposed features for the 2017 version of the product and generated plenty of discussion around these within the group. Attendees raised a broad array of proposed enhancements, and requested discussion on possible features and options in the areas of safety, user experience, operations, social engagement, promotion and content.
All attendees reported that they found the session to be extremely worthwhile and looked forward with enthusiasm to progressing the SafeTrx product and concepts in the future.
The session gave the SUG members a sense of shared ownership in the future of the SafeTrx platform as they deliberated which salient features will form the evolutionary aspects of the next version and which will make it into the 2017 product.
The SUG meeting provided an opportunity for future technology ideas and operational concepts to be discussed. Sharing such initiatives improves cooperation between SUG members in the areas of innovation and emerging technologies for lifesaving. It will also ultimately lead to a better SafeTrx product, which will continue to save lives at sea.