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

UPDATED: Saanich Police arrest driver after serious hit and run

Motorists advised to avoid area of McKenzie Avenue and Shelbourne Street

City-wide murder mystery game coming to Victoria

CluedUpp is bringing a virtual detective competition to the downtown area in October

RCMP bike unit patrols led to 65 arrest warrants, 77 criminal charges in one year

There are currently four members on the year-round West Shore bike patrol unit

Coast Salish artist creates huge drums to soothe the earth

Earth drums will be on display at Cedar Hill Recreation Centre in August

Silly Boat Regatta fills Nanaimo harbour with silly sailing

Island Red Cedar Construction wins this year’s race

Health Canada revokes licences of B.C.-based pot producer Agrima Botanicals

The agency said it notified the company of a suspension in November due to non-compliance with regulations

Deals, protests during Amazon Prime Day

The Seattle-based e-commerce behemoth says it is offering more than a million deals

Canadian national softball team wins second straight Canada Cup

Team Canada defeats Texas-based Scrapyard International in gold-medal game Sunday in Surrey

June sees drop in home sales, prices for real estate across B.C.: report

Sales dropped by 11.8%, while prices fell by 4%

Nanaimo students pushing for youth-led climate advisory group

Group would be responsible for organizing community cleanups, meetings and other events

Video captures driver narrowly avoiding hitting Granfondo cyclists in Okanagan

“I’m just glad that everything aligned enough and no one got hurt,” said Shaun Siebert

Most Read