The Government of Canada is making an investment of $595,000 in LRC Consulting Solutions, a technology company from Kelowna, BC, to develop a sailing plan mobile app. The company aims to provide boaters with a dedicated mobile app to support boating safety.

LRC Consulting Solutions will use the funding to develop an app and dashboard application looking to speed up and simplify the process of creating and submitting a sailing plan. The company said sailing plan data will be more accessible and actionable by marine search and rescue operators, which would increase the efficiency of first responders.

“This app will immediately increase the likelihood of saving lives on Canadian waters by improving the efficiency, accuracy, and ease of completing sail plans for Canadian boaters.”

“We have been working closely with Canadian boaters and marine safety professionals to develop a new Sailing Plan mobile app, providing an intuitive, usable and robust sailing plan reporting solution,” said Nelson Jatel, CEO of LRC Consulting Solutions. “Sailing plans are an important part of the marine safety toolkit, and this innovative project supported by Public Safety Canada SAR NIF funding will make the completion and submission of sailing plans easier and faster for boat captains and in turn make the large quantity of data more accessible and actionable by search and rescue staff.”

The mobile app will be ready for beta testing in April, with developers anticipating the app’s rollout in 2020. It will be designed to operate for both inland and coastal waters. Boaters will create a profile on the app, which will include data about the vessel and how many people and animals are on board. The boat’s departure, destination locations, and the route will be then be sent to three people of the boater’s choice.

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Jatel said although the app does not track boats, if a boater does not arrive at his or her destination at the planned time, the app will notify the three contacts and coastguard. First responders will wait one hour before initiating a search, but in the meantime, they will make calls to track down the boater.

In recent years, Kelowna’s tech industry has experienced significant growth, earning $1.3 billion in 2016 alone, according to a 2017 economic impact report by Accelerate Okanagan. The report found that in the technology software and services sector, software and app development is the highest reported business activity, sitting at 27 percent as of 2016; more than double the activity reported for the data processing management and IT consulting sector.

The funding for LRC Consulting Solutions’ mobile app was made available through the Search and Rescue New Initiatives Fund (SAR NIF). The SAR NIF aims to fund projects that deliver on the objectives of the National Search and Rescue Program. The federal government contributes $7.6 million annually to support both new and ongoing projects under SAR NIF.

“This app will immediately increase the likelihood of saving lives on Canadian waters by improving the efficiency, accuracy, and ease of completing sail plans for Canadian boaters,” said Stephen Fuhr, member of parliament for Kelowna–Lake Country. “The Government of Canada is proud to support innovative initiatives like this one that makes boating safer and results in more effective and coordinated marine search and rescue capacity.”

Image courtesy Pixabay.

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