Deborah Buszard, deputy vice-chancellor at UBCO, gives a speech Thursday at a federal funding announcement regarding an app that will increase boater safety. The creator Nelson Jatel (left) is a UBC alumnus. (Carli Berry - Capital News)

B.C. company gets $600,000 to build safe sailing app

The app will alert emergency contacts if boaters don’t arrive

A new app, created by a Kelowna company funded by the federal government, will ensure sailors are safe when out at seas.

The app ensures navigators have a sailing plan and will automatically alert emergency contacts and rescue responders if users do not arrive at their destinations within a designated time.

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Ralph Goodale made the announcement Thursday morning at the Kelowna Yacht Club, alongside Lake Country-Kelowna MP Stephen Fuhr, that $595,000 will be invested into the Kelowna company for the app.

READ MORE: Premier John Horgan calls for high-tech investment to boost B.C. economy

Users will fill out a profile for the app, which intends to be used as a planner in case an emergency situation happens.

Chief executive officer Nelson Jatel, with Limnology Research Cooperation, which is building the app, said it will be ready to roll out in a beta version mid-April.

READ MORE: Okanagan tech industry booming, contributes over $1.6 billion to regional economy

Also the owner of a fishing charter company, Jatel noticed there wasn’t an app for boaters to make it easier for them to chart a sailing plan, which is where his idea started.

On average, the Canadian Red Cross says 166 people die in boating-related incidents each year.

“It is designed for Canadian boaters from coast to coast and it’s intended to support marine boaters,” he said.

The app will be available in about a year for the general public.

“If you’re in one of these emergency response centres on the coast, it will be directly sent to the coastguard so they know you are overdue,” Jatel said.

Emergency responders will be altered, and they are able to track how many people have filed a sailing plan.

The app also allows users to amend the plan while in cell service, and will contact those in the app’s user contact list prior to sending the coast guard.

If users lose their phone, they can still check in through a computer or another phone, Jatel said.

READ MORE: UBC Okanagan opens new high-tech learning and teaching building

A plan for a similar app is also being funded for search and rescue groups on land, said Goodale.

“We’re trying to cover all kinds of outdoor adventures, whether it’s on the water or in the backcountry,” he said.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Check out the latest gadgets at the 2019 BC Tech Summit

The funding was made available through the Search and Rescue New Initiatives Fund. The Government of Canada dedicates $7.6 million each year to support new and ongoing projects under SAR NIF.

READ MORE: BC Tech Summit to revolutionize business models

@carliberry_
carli.berry@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

VIDEOS: North Island Bantam Eagles place second at Tier 3 Bantam Championships in Port Hardy

“This is now a piece of North Island history and will be talked about for many years to come.”

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Tier 3 Bantam Championships

“The packed arena and electricity within was fantastic.”

Port Hardy RCMP issues warning about recent overdose

“Our primary concern is public safety. We are urging the public to be aware of what is circulating.”

Port Hardy RCMP looking for volunteers who are interested in public safety

“The volunteer program will include community and crime prevention programs”

Suspicious fire in Alert Bay burns two homes, spreads to nearby bush

Police say underage suspects have been identified

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Bobrovsky perfect as Blue Jackets blank Canucks 5-0

Vancouver shut out for 10th time this season

Fundraising campaign launched for man caught in SilverStar avalanche

In only two days, the GoFundMe surpassed its $15,000 goal

Terror at sea: Helicopter rescues frightened cruise passengers in Norway

The Viking Sky cruise ship was carrying 1,300 passengers and crew when it experienced engine trouble

Search and rescue team helicopters injured climber from B.C. provincial park

A 30-year-old woman suffered a suspected lower-limb fracture in Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

DOJ: Trump campaign did not co-ordinate with Russia in 2016

Attorney General William Barr said special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice

Trudeau in Vancouver to support Tamara Taggart at Liberal nomination event

The former broadcaster is seeking the nomination for the Vancouver Kingsway riding

Trudeau calls May 6 byelection for B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith

The riding opened up when Sheila Malcolmson resigned in January

B.C. VIEWS: The hijacking of our education system gathers speed

Children taught to strike and shout fringe far-left demands

Most Read