WASHINGTON — The Coast Guard released its first boating safety app May 16 as the kickoff to this year’s National Safe Boating Week.
The Boating Safety Mobile app was not designed to replace a boater’s marine VHF radio, which the Coast Guard strongly recommends all boaters have aboard their vessels. The app was mainly designed to provide additional boating safety resources for mobile device users.
The app is available on the Apple and Google Play online stores.
Features of the app include: state boating information; a safety equipment checklist; free boating safety check requests; navigation rules; float plans; and calling features to report pollution or suspicious activity. When location services are enabled, users can receive the latest weather reports from the closest National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather buoys as well as report the location of a hazard on the water.
The app also features an Emergency Assistance button which, with locations services enabled, will call the closest Coast Guard command center.
The app is self-contained, so personal information is stored on the phone and is not sent to the Coast Guard unless the user chooses to send it. The Coast Guard does not track a user’s location, and the app does not track a user’s location unless the app is being used.
The app was developed over a two-year period with BastayaPR, a nonprofit organization in Puerto Rico.
National Safe Boating Week, which ran from May 16 to 22, is an annual event that encourages all boaters to practice safe boating.
For more information on the app, please visit uscg.mil/mobile.