JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The United States Coast Guard has released a free mobile app to help boaters improve boating safety.
As the nation's recreational boating safety coordinator, the Coast Guard works to minimize loss of life, personal injury, property damage, and environmental harm, the Coast Guard said in a news released about the app.
"Our boating safety program involves public education programs, regulation of boat design and construction, approval of boating safety equipment, and vessel safety checks for compliance with federal and state safety requirements," the release said. "The Coast Guard mobile app supports these missions by providing the essential services and information most commonly requested by boaters."
Features of the app include:
- State boating information
- Safety equipment checklist
- Free boating safety check requests
- Navigation rules
- Float plans
- 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 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 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.
To download the app, search "Coast Guard boating safety" in either the Apple App Store or the Google play store for Android phones.