LONG BEACH— A new app officially hit the market Aug.1 called Marina Village. The Marina Village app is a first-of-its-kind mobile app developed specifically for the marina and boating community and the marine service industry that supports it. The app is an interactive, ever-changing resource for boaters designed to provide enhanced communications, improve safety, facilitate maintenance, and generally make boating a fun, enjoyable experience.
“I put the original concept together for the marina environment,” said CEO Michael Wiggins. “My company had previously built a mobile safety app for K-12 Schools that uses similar technology. I am a live-aboard boater, and during the same time frame [pandemic], I coincidentally had conversations with a number of my fellow boaters, neighbors, who complained of emergency incidents that had occurred in which they had difficulty getting an appropriate emergency response.”
Wiggins is a former paramedic and firefighter who also has extensive knowledge on technology and software.
The app was developed to operate on a marina-by-marina basis, with the main screen providing access to marina-specific information and general information to all marinas. Users can move digitally between marinas 1,200 marinas on both coasts of the US.
“The primary purpose of the app is to improve boater/marina safety,” said Wiggins. “This is done by improving the speed and quality of response in emergencies and providing resources to boaters and marinas to improve the safety of day-to-day boating operations. The app provides an array of mechanisms for improving communications among and between boaters, marina staff, emergency responders, security and maintenance staff, and service vendors for both emergency and day-to-day messaging.”
The app also offers a Panic Button for when the worst happens. Users can simultaneously make immediate calls or texts to 911 and onsite staff for quick responses and activation of the Incident Management Dashboard. The alert triggers the activation of the IMD, which provides a central point of communication for all responders. The IMD also can send broadcast messages to all users of the app in the marina to assist in managing the event. Additionally, it provides a real-time tracking log of communications in the app during the course of the incident to promote situational awareness among arriving responders and create a record of the event for post-incident analysis. In addition, the app is specific to each marina; vendors are listed according to the services they offer. Specialized communication channels are used in emergencies, marina operations, mass messaging, direct one-on-one messaging, and user self-setup customizable chat groups. The app also provides information for boaters such as marina weather, USCG navigation regulations, buoy markings, radio protocols and more. In addition to the safety functions of the app, users can also list equipment for sale, trade, or giveaway, submit a photo to be chosen as the photo of the week, check the marinas event calendar.
Step-by-step features in the app:
- Alert (Panic) Button: The user can make a text or voice connection to 911 with a pre-formatted message indicating the type of emergency and GPS location with simultaneous notification to the staff at participating marina and neighboring boaters.
- Incident Management Dashboard: Digital dashboard for incident management with GPS mapping, emergency communications interface (connecting first responders, marina staff, reporting party).
- Broadcast Messaging: Large group (all users of the app in a marina) messages can be sent for both emergency and routine messages.
- Channel/Group Messaging: Pre-formatted small messaging groups for marina operational (admin, maintenance, security) staff and emergency response channel. User-customizable special interest chat groups for any purpose (fleet-racing, yacht club, SCUBA club, boat dock.)
- Marinas-Change Location: Digitally tour different marinas (1,300 and growing) on both US coasts. Prepare for a trip or visit digitally for entertainment.
- Video Adventures: View videos that highlight points of interest to boaters at other marinas. This is an ongoing series that add new videos regularly. Videos are tongue-in-cheek, engaging, and reasonably short. Users/marinas can submit their own videos for publication to the app.
- Photo-of-the-Week: Weekly photos of great sunsets, boat racing, fishing, or of interest to boaters are shared. Users can submit their own photos for publication.
- General Information: Information on boating safety, including navigation regulations, fishing regs, boater safety classes, weather information, and more.
- Marina Maps: A map of each marina is included on the screen for that marina.
- Harbor Map: Map of the more extensive harbor system that each marina is a part of.
- Marina Website: A link to each marina’s website is included on that marina’s screen.
- Service Vendor Listing: Marine service vendors are listed in each marina that they provide services in with a 5-star rating system that allows boaters to rate the service provided by that vendor. There is a broad range of service categories (currently 108), including everything from bottom-cleaning to mechanics to sail-making to insurance.
- Swap Meet: Boaters can list boating items they have for sale, giveaways, or something they need. There is no cost for items listed in their home marina (nominal charge for items listed in multiple marinas.)
- Incident Reporting: Report non-emergency incidents like maintenance issues, oil spills, non-injury accidents, etc. User completes simple-quick reporting form, which allows marina staff to update status with automatic notification to reporting party.
- Event Calendar: Local event calendar for events in the area of a marina of interest to boaters. It can be maintained by marina staff or designated users.
- Support: Email from the app for help using the app.
- Daily Safety Report: Automatically generated daily safety report (for marina admin staff) emailed to a designated individual(s).
For more information on the app’s features, or to get a QR code to access downloading the app, please visit https://marinavillage.app/.