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Free new smartphone app the best ‘first mate’ for boaties

27 December 2013

A free new smartphone app has been launched giving water users across New Zealand easy access to all the information they'll need when heading out onto the water.

The MarineMate application for iPhone and Android devices has up-to-date tide information adjusted for daylight savings, boat ramp locations, safe boating checklists, and regulatory information on 5 knot zones, towing lanes and swimming areas.

“Downloading this free app onto your phone means water users no longer need to carry cumbersome tide guides, or copies of multiple bylaws,” said Waikato Regional Council's navigation safety programme manager, Nicole Botherway.

"In the Waikato we have easy access to a large number of beautiful inland and coastal waterways which are popular with locals and visitors alike, and we work hard to keep them safe.

“But boaties will often visit different locations across a number of regions, and some don’t realise the rules change. MarineMate provides a one-stop-shop to updated information via their smartphone, no matter where they are heading to.

“It’s quick, it’s easy, and it will help to make our waterways safer,” said Mrs Botherway, who led a national project team to develop the application.

The app was developed with funding from Maritime NZ, the ACC, Land Information NZ and regional council harbourmasters, with support from Water Safety New Zealand.

People logging into the application for the first time are asked to complete five quick questions.

“This gives us good information on the types of activities people using the app are undertaking on the water, such as jet skiing, fishing and paddling. Completing the questions is not mandatory, but that information will help us to tailor MarineMate for the people using it,” Mrs Botherway said.

Updates to MarineMate will be released if rules change or additional information becomes available, such as the location of Telecom cables.

“There’s nothing else of its kind available on the market for New Zealand’s recreational water users and it’s an effective way for us to help keep people safer,” Mrs Botherway said.