B.C. company awarded $595K in federal funding for boating safety app

A Kelowna company has been awarded $595,000 in federal funding for its marine safety mobile app.

The Sailing Plan app is touted as a mobile sailing plan, one that can provide details about the watercraft, planned routes and the people who are on board. The app is in its development stages and should be ready sometime next year.

Ralph Goodale, the minister of public safety and emergency preparedness, made the funding announcement on Thursday at the Kelowna Yacht Club. Goodale said LRC Consulting Solutions was awarded the two-year grant from the Government of Canada’s Search and Rescue New Innovation Fund (SARNIF), which “supports the development of modern tools” like the Sailing Plan app.

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“This SARNIF grant will help ensure that important work is completed to enhance and support marine safety for all Canadian boaters. Creating and submitting a sailing plan will never have been easier or more efficient.”

Goodale added that “small vessel regulations make sailing plans mandatory for guided excursions, but it can be a challenge to effectively and consistently connect data with search and rescue incidents and activity management.”

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SARNIF is managed by Public Safety Canada and provides annual funding for projects that will enhance the national search and rescue program.

“For the last three years, LRC and its partners have been assessing the opportunity to develop an easy-to-use mobile app for boat captains to use that provides, in the event of an emergency, essential information for search and rescue professionals to search for an overdue vessel,” said Dr. Nelson Jatel, CEO of LRC.

“We were surprised that no mobile app existed to file a daily sailing or float plan and realized an opportunity to harness new technology to improve Canadian boating safety.”

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Also attending the announcement was Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr.

“As a pilot, I understand the safety requirements of filing a flight plan and filing a sailing plan should be no different,” said Fuhr.

He said the app will “make it easier for commercial boaters to meet their small vessel regulatory aspects and provide recreational boaters with a great, new, easy-to-use app to increase boater safety for all Canadians.”

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According to the Lifesaving Society, approximately one-third of all water-related deaths in Canada occur while boating, with the majority caused by capsizing, collision or falling overboard.

“The development of the Sailing Plan application will provide an intuitive, usable and robust sailing plan solution for all Canadian boaters,” said the project’s technical lead, Jon Corbett, adding that the app will “make the large quantity of data more accessible and actionable by search and rescue staff.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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