Lake Macquarie Marine Rescue volunteers have developed a new app they say will become a "game-changer" for boating safety, capable of locating a vessel in distress on the water within four-to-five metres' accuracy.
The Distressed Vessel Locator, otherwise known as the DV, was engineered by Lake Macquarie software developer and Marine Rescue volunteer Matt Dorhauer, the organisation says, and allows the rescuers immediate access to a vessel's location with a simple reply to a text message.
"Marine Rescue Lake Macquarie radio operators who intercept a call for help will be able to send a text message to a distressed vessel, and if they have a smart phone all they have to do is click on the link in the text message and allow the GPS system to broadcast its location," Marine Rescue said in a statement.
"This is immediately relayed on technology throughout our network on iPads that are onboard our response vessels, and we know with a great degree of accuracy the location of that distressed vessel.
"This enables our volunteers to get there faster, saving fuel and time, and help save lives."
In an emergency situation, locating a vessel in distress is often the most challenging aspect of any operation, the organisation has said, as rescuers often battle rough seas and accounting for a vessel's drift on the open water.
"Using this new technology, if a vessel drifts, the map shows the drift and we are able to follow its movements within metres," a spokesperson for Marine Rescue said of the technology, currently exclusively employed by the Lake Macquarie branch.
"Whether you're out for a morning's fishing, a day trip around your local area or cruising along the coastline. And it doesn't matter if you're on a tinnie, a cruiser, a yacht, a kayak, a canoe or a jet ski, Our volunteers have your back and this new technology will save lives."