Safetrx - New CG and RYA vessel registration and tracking system

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paddlersteve
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Safetrx - New CG and RYA vessel registration and tracking system

Post by paddlersteve » Wed Jul 04, 2018 12:12 pm

I've stumbled across this today:

http://hmcoastguard.blogspot.com/
App based registration, route plan and tracking system.

It appears to be due to replace the CG66 registration scheme and although previously only free for RYA members, now appears to be free for the general public.

Has anyone used it?

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Re: Safetrx - New CG and RYA vessel registration and tracking system

Post by seawolf856 » Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:14 am

I've just downloaded the App and registered my details. It was very straightforward and I can't really see any downside to having another layer of safety to use if needs be.
I routinely notify and leave a trip plan with the Coast Guard before launching and this App lets you log a trip plan with the rescue coordinators easily on your mobile so all your details are already on record if SARS are needed.
On a related matter, I haven't had my PLB registration back yet and I applied at Christmas!!!

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Re: Safetrx - New CG and RYA vessel registration and tracking system

Post by Chris Bolton » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:08 pm

Thanks, seawolf, sound useful.
I haven't had my PLB registration back yet and I applied at Christmas
Mine took 6-7 weeks. I'd chase it up.

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Re: Safetrx - New CG and RYA vessel registration and tracking system

Post by sean107 » Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:21 pm

I tried safetrx for the first time this week on a caostal trip. according to it i headed 2 miles inland a couple of times...

it was also flaky about sending sms messages.

it's an interesting app and i hope it will improve butvright now i wouldnt bet my life on it.

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Re: Safetrx - New CG and RYA vessel registration and tracking system

Post by Chris Bolton » Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:35 pm

I assume it uses GPS to track you, if your phone has it and it's enabled (which will run down the battery faster) otherwise it will triangulate off the cellphone base stations. Like any other phone app, it's signal dependent, but if it's tracking it needs at least two signals.

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Re: Safetrx - New CG and RYA vessel registration and tracking system

Post by seawolf856 » Mon Jul 09, 2018 3:44 pm

I used it on Sunday for an Anglesey coastal trip from Moelfre to Point Lynas and back. I was taking a group of 12 paddlers, so I was also able to put that information into my 'sail plan'. It tracked me perfectly and the times and speeds it logged agreed with my Garmin GPS. I was very impressed and all at the touch of a button on my smart phone. Setting up the trip plan was really easy with a 'press and hold' on the start point and the same for any way points and the end point. It even sent a text message to my emergency contact (the wife) saying I was launching and gave her the trip plan and ETA. When I finished, my phone was safely stashed away in a dry bag in the day hatch but I got a notification that my logged ETA was approaching (15 min warning), so I dug out the phone and hit the stop button informing the CG that I had finished my trip - must remember to do it sooner next time! It then sent a text to the wife saying I was off the water safely. Try it, you may hate it but I think it is a brilliant addition to the safety tool box and in case you were wondering, I would not rely on this phone App alone for my safety. I carry VHF, PLB and flares. I also track my sea journeys using Garmin GPS and Strava.

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Re: Safetrx - New CG and RYA vessel registration and tracking system

Post by sean107 » Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:59 pm

Maybe the app works better on different phones - it was very buggy for me (Android on a Samsung Galaxy S6)

Glad to hear it works OK for some.

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Re: Safetrx - New CG and RYA vessel registration and tracking system

Post by PhilAyr » Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:25 pm

I will probably add it to my growing list of safety & emergency equipment. However I do have a few reservations. My concern would be the possibility of false alarms due to forgetfulness, user error or simply battery failure. I hope I am wrong

Phil

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Re: Safetrx - New CG and RYA vessel registration and tracking system

Post by paddlersteve » Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:49 pm

Two updates:

I was fortunate enough to visit the Ops Room at Milford Haven Coastguard at the weekend, who gave me a demo on the system. They seem impressed with it and can see all live journeys taking place. There were a couple of vessels inland that appeared to demonstrate someone had a boat on a roof or trailer and had forgotten to turn the tracking off. Compared to the lack of alternatives it looked very useful. The CG seemed to suggest that they would respond when someone used the SOS button, or when an emergency contact got in touch, rather than to every overdue journey. They could search by location, vessel name, vessel type and persons names to find individuals (as well as see all live journeys on a map) and could see not only full sail plan details but also battery power and signal strength on the phone. They were very keen to encourage its use!

Secondly I paddled from Southerndown to Porthcawl yesterday and you should be able to see my route here. The app was set at ten minute reporting intervals and after three hours paddling, my phone was still at 75%+ battery, so it didn't drain it too badly.
https://safetrx.rya.org.uk/sharetrip.ht ... 1am2qk99rt

I set a "Sail Plan" which seemed to work well. You can include a customised checklist to work through as you set it up and turn it on. I couldn't figure out how to set up a plan and then save it to turn on later. I'd set it up the night before but didn't want to turn it on then. When I opened the app the next day I had to re-enter the details. It was simple and easy, but would be useful to save a planned future journey you can then activate. Anyone else know how to do this?

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Re: Safetrx - New CG and RYA vessel registration and tracking system

Post by Daker » Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:41 pm

I have now tried 3 times to load the app to my phone and on each case it appears to load but will not open so is completely useless and, as far as I can establish, there in no way to log a route on the web site version so not terribly impressed.

Personally I only ever contact the CG if I'm likely to be away for multiple days (in case others are concerned about vehicles left), carrying out rescue sessions (in case others think there's a problem), doing big open crossings (where any problems could escalate very quickly), or if the conditions are rough enough that the chances of something going wrong are quite real (or others worry they are).

In many of those situations I am unlikely to have sufficient battery to be able to have a smart phone on continuously and I'm unlikely to want to dig around for a phone and try to power it on and open an app to send a message, so logging a route on line would not achieve much over a standard VHF call.

This sounds like a good idea in principle if it can be made to work on all platforms and if there was a way to just add an "I'm OK" type of update when a signal may be available or indeed a "Need Help" message but it doesnt appear to be there yet.

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Re: Safetrx - New CG and RYA vessel registration and tracking system

Post by Mr Ed » Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:31 pm

In danger of sounding like an old git....

Am I the only one who goes kayaking to get away from mobile phones?

I'm happy to let the CG know my plans before I set off- my contact details are currently on CG66 (which will be deleted in 2 years time i'm told). I don't really want them tracking me or forcing me to download an app. I don't want my phone on all day with no battery. I don't want to worry that i'll have a lifeboat called out because my phone is broken.

One day i'm just going to jump in my kayak in my t-shirt sans buoyancy and safety kit and paddle off into the sunset and not let anyone know where i'm going or how long i'm going to be. My wife might be a bit unhappy but it would be worth it to get away from my email for a day or so.

Grumble grumble back in my day etc etc

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Re: Safetrx - New CG and RYA vessel registration and tracking system

Post by Daker » Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:34 pm

LIKE !!!!! ;-)

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Re: Safetrx - New CG and RYA vessel registration and tracking system

Post by seawolf856 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:34 am

paddlersteve wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:49 pm
Two updates:

I was fortunate enough to visit the Ops Room at Milford Haven Coastguard at the weekend, who gave me a demo on the system. They seem impressed with it and can see all live journeys taking place. There were a couple of vessels inland that appeared to demonstrate someone had a boat on a roof or trailer and had forgotten to turn the tracking off. Compared to the lack of alternatives it looked very useful. The CG seemed to suggest that they would respond when someone used the SOS button, or when an emergency contact got in touch, rather than to every overdue journey. They could search by location, vessel name, vessel type and persons names to find individuals (as well as see all live journeys on a map) and could see not only full sail plan details but also battery power and signal strength on the phone. They were very keen to encourage its use!

Secondly I paddled from Southerndown to Porthcawl yesterday and you should be able to see my route here. The app was set at ten minute reporting intervals and after three hours paddling, my phone was still at 75%+ battery, so it didn't drain it too badly.
https://safetrx.rya.org.uk/sharetrip.ht ... 1am2qk99rt

I set a "Sail Plan" which seemed to work well. You can include a customised checklist to work through as you set it up and turn it on. I couldn't figure out how to set up a plan and then save it to turn on later. I'd set it up the night before but didn't want to turn it on then. When I opened the app the next day I had to re-enter the details. It was simple and easy, but would be useful to save a planned future journey you can then activate. Anyone else know how to do this?
Sounds like a great opportunity you were given there. Thanks for sharing the feedback so positively. Your second point about not being able to ‘set and save’ a sail plan the night before also caught me out and I’d like to learn if we are simply overlooking a function or does the App need an update to build this in? It would be great to be able to preload a sail plan the night before and just recall it and activate it at the actual time of launch. Having said that, it only took a few moments to put the details in again.

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Re: Safetrx - New CG and RYA vessel registration and tracking system

Post by seawolf856 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:40 am

Mr Ed wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:31 pm

Grumble grumble back in my day etc etc
There are plenty of sea kayakers out there who were around "in your day" - you know, when we hunted whales to the brink of extinction and kids died of diseases we can now cure. Decades on, lots of us 'old gits' have embraced new technology and appreciate how it has been unobtrusively integrated into our sport to enable us to continue kayaking safely in later life e.g. lightweight composite kayaks and carbon paddles, titanium knee joints and hip replacements etc!
The use of modern technology including GPS, VHF, PLB and mobile phones is not compulsory so the choice to put to sea in just your Tee shirt is still your own and I sincerely hope your tech free adventures continue for many years.

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Re: Safetrx - New CG and RYA vessel registration and tracking system

Post by Mr Ed » Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:35 pm

seawolf856 wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:40 am
Mr Ed wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:31 pm

Grumble grumble back in my day etc etc
There are plenty of sea kayakers out there who were around "in your day" - you know, when we hunted whales to the brink of extinction and kids died of diseases we can now cure. Decades on, lots of us 'old gits' have embraced new technology and appreciate how it has been unobtrusively integrated into our sport to enable us to continue kayaking safely in later life e.g. lightweight composite kayaks and carbon paddles, titanium knee joints and hip replacements etc!
The use of modern technology including GPS, VHF, PLB and mobile phones is not compulsory so the choice to put to sea in just your Tee shirt is still your own and I sincerely hope your tech free adventures continue for many years.
1.) What about people with non-app phones?
2.) Why close down the existing CG66?
3.) Will it not lead to CG redundancies and centre closures in the future?
4.) Why haven't I been contacted directly via email from CG about any of this?
5.) How long before you 'have' to use the scheme before you're prosecuted/held liable for rescue/callout costs?
6.) Why has operation of the system on different platforms not been more rigorously tested?
7.) What happens on multi day expeditions with limited/no reception and phone battery issues?
8.) How will my data e.g. GPS exact location be used/stored/abused?

Looking at the scheme yes it has positives and i'm sure some people will embrace them. For me it looks like a lazy "an app will fix everything' approach to safety and many of the questions i've posed above haven't been answered.

I'm all for technology used well but this looks problematic to me.

P.S. I love seal meat and practice my harpoon throwing regularly. In my t-shirt!

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Re: Safetrx - New CG and RYA vessel registration and tracking system

Post by seawolf856 » Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:55 pm

Hi Mr Ed,

Don't get me wrong, I am completely on side with you regarding the incessant invasion of our lives by FB/Apple/Google and by those who think "an App will fix everything". I do not like the big brother approach of being tracked continuously and I do not subscribe to social media in any way shape or form. Unfortunately most of the rest of the world doesn't agree with us. However, the development of good technology has to be recognised and applauded. I use a GPS for recording trip data for my own satisfaction and to help me with future trip planning. This App did work well for me and without it my responsibility as a group leader means I would have had to phone the CG and tell them of my plan to take 12 paddlers on the sea anyway. Finally, I will NOT be using this App routinely and I completely share the fears raised by your point 5).

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Re: Safetrx - New CG and RYA vessel registration and tracking system

Post by seawolf856 » Tue Jul 24, 2018 4:27 pm

Just to add a quick update and bump this thread back to the top. I logged a paddle plan for a trip to Bardsey Island (N. Wales) on Saturday using RYA Safetrx. I was paddling with a group of seven but I was NOT the leader so I just sent the paddle plan from my phone using my personal user name but included the size of the group on my sail plan. I did tell the group leader that I had done this but normal launch procedures were being followed and he was already in the process of informing the CG by VHF of our imminent launch.
I guess this raises several questions now that any number of individuals within a group can quickly and easily log the same sail plan with the CG by using the App:
1) What if all seven of us had done the same thing?
2) Is this going to create problems or do the CG acknowledge that several sail plans my exist at the same time for the same group?
3) Is it now up to the group leader to ask his paddlers if anybody has already logged the plan and if so, does he trust it has been done correctly or does the leader have an overriding responsibility to contact the CG himself?

Anyway, our group leader went through the usual procedure of contacting the local CG (Holyhead) by VHF to tell them we were setting off and the very first question the CG asked was "have you logged your sail plan using RYA Safetrx?".
So it shows how the system is already being treated as the preferred option by the CG. It does not however answer any of the questions. Our group leader informed the CG that the sail plan had been logged by a group individual but they still took all the details anyway.

I think this subject may be debated for some time yet and it would be interesting to hear of any experiences anybody else has when using RYA Safetrx

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Re: Safetrx - New CG and RYA vessel registration and tracking system

Post by Northern Blue » Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:56 pm

I've used the new app for several paddles over the last week and I like it. I have used it both on 'track only' and on 'alert' both of which have proved very accurate.
I did have to increase the sensitivity on 'track only' to constant, rather than every 10 minutes and a warning flashed up on my phone that this would increase battery usage. Over a 3 hour paddle, my iPhone X dropped a total of 2% battery power and would possibly have dropped 1% anyway, with other background stuff I had running.
Power use is not going to be an issue for me, until I start multi day expeditions.

One issue that did come to mind, if you start the tracker with alert and you lose your phone, or your phone dies, or you unexpectedly have no signal at your destination, you are not going to be able to end your plan, or alert your emergency contact, who after being automatically texted that you're 30 minutes overdue and failing to get hold of you, will be alerting the CG with the texted reference number.
If that signal loss is for example, 3 miles offshore, your trace will end 3 miles offshore as far CG is concerned and an unnecessary rescue will commence.
If the trace shows you reaching the shore, before the signal loss, CG is unlikely to be able to differentiate between you being safe on the sand, or floundering in heavy surf ??

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Re: Safetrx - New CG and RYA vessel registration and tracking system

Post by robhorton » Tue Jul 31, 2018 12:58 pm

Northern Blue wrote:
Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:56 pm
One issue that did come to mind, if you start the tracker with alert and you lose your phone, or your phone dies, or you unexpectedly have no signal at your destination, you are not going to be able to end your plan, or alert your emergency contact, who after being automatically texted that you're 30 minutes overdue and failing to get hold of you, will be alerting the CG with the texted reference number.
If that signal loss is for example, 3 miles offshore, your trace will end 3 miles offshore as far CG is concerned and an unnecessary rescue will commence.
If the trace shows you reaching the shore, before the signal loss, CG is unlikely to be able to differentiate between you being safe on the sand, or floundering in heavy surf ??
I think the coastguard deal with that sort of thing pretty regularly anyway - their likely response would be:

1. Try to contact you by VHF / phone
2. Make a VHF broadcast to see if anyone has seen you
3. Send either a CG rescue team or the police to the get out point.

but if those draw a blank they'd probably need to think about sending a lifeboat and/or helicopter out.

On the plus side they've hopefully got better information to go on than before but you have to wonder if the automatic texting might not cause a lot more false alerts.

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Re: Safetrx - New CG and RYA vessel registration and tracking system

Post by pathbrae » Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:28 pm

Image

Not a great advert for the safetrx tracking app.

I've had it on my phone for a while now but I've not been particularly impressed with it as an app - it looks like it needs a lot more development before I'd trust it enough to use it's "alert" function fully. Possibly a battery monitor which would throttle back the GPS use (mine is set at ten minutes at the moment) before sending a "flat battery - don't panic!" message to CG and contact before the phone dies. An audible reminder to the user that it will be sending a "late" text to contacts if they forget to cancel / stop the tracker and a clean-up of the interface would all help make it a safer option.
So much sea - so little time to see it.

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Re: Safetrx - New CG and RYA vessel registration and tracking system

Post by jmmoxon » Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:38 am

That's not the app's fault, it's just running on the location info provided by your phone.

Allegedly it does have battery monitoring & to be fair, if your battery is flat, you have exactly the same problem of contacting your reliable person, whether you're using it or not. The big advantage is it reminds your contact that they haven't heard from you.

& how are they going to legislate for all canoes to use it when the majority are sit on tops at the beach?

Some useful (but early days) info on:
http://www.rib.net/forum/f37/rya-safe-t ... 68781.html

Australian version seems to have better info (or more features?, inc a panic button)

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Re: Safetrx - New CG and RYA vessel registration and tracking system

Post by pathbrae » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:29 pm

Running on location data provided by the phone is probably the problem, but that's how they want us to run it - a phone is not a suitable navigation device. If I'm in trouble I'd rather CG had an accurate position or track data to work from rather than something which puts me half way up a hill half a mile from my actual position.
Battery monitoring - It states that it will send a text to your contact when the battery drops to 10% - but I'd rather it asked me first so I could decide how much of an issue that was to me. My emergency contact would be very concerned to get a text from the app stating that I was half way up a hill and my battery was almost flat when she thought I was paddling up Loch Sween!
I always carry a waterproof "dumb-phone" with me. It's battery lasts for weeks and it seems pretty robust. I keep a payg sim in it for emergency use only - but in a real emergency it wouldn't even need a sim to get through on 999.
If there is a mass uptake of this scheme - who is going to monitor it? I suspect there would be a colossal number of "alerts" being generated due to flat batteries, forgotten to check in at the end of a journey, people hitting "send alert" accidentally etc. etc. so how are they going to sort the drowning wheat from the floating chaff through all that noise??
So much sea - so little time to see it.

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Re: Safetrx - New CG and RYA vessel registration and tracking system

Post by jmmoxon » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:24 pm

They can't & won't, they still expect your responsible person to make the call. The rest is just useful info, that is better than what they currently get...

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Re: Safetrx - New CG and RYA vessel registration and tracking system

Post by paddlersteve » Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:29 am

I'd echo that, from the demonstration I saw, the CG will not actively monitor any vessel and not react to an overdue or battery alert. They will ONLY respond to a summons for assistance from a vessel or a concerned point of contact and then use the data they can see to assist in launching assets to provide support. The CG could no only see the phones location at that given point in time, but also roll back in time and see the previous reports. In such an instance, I expect the erroneous report on the image above would be swiftly marked as an anomaly and dismissed.

For a simple, user friendly option that doesn't require specialist equipment of knowledge, this works well. I'd agree, I'd rather be using this than making do without.

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Re: Safetrx - New CG and RYA vessel registration and tracking system

Post by pathbrae » Fri Sep 14, 2018 5:12 pm

I guess I just have an inherent distrust of mobile phone technology - and of paddling in areas with no phone reception.
So much sea - so little time to see it.

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