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Why do Irish Sailors Ignore a Free Irish-Developed Safety Rescue System?

17th May 2018
SafeTrx is a tracking device app which has been developed and produced by a Cork technology company SafeTrx is a tracking device app which has been developed and produced by a Cork technology company

Why would anyone ignore an offer of a free system that can make sailing, boating, kayaking, canoeing and other water-based activities safer?

I don’t know the answer to that, but maybe there is some reader of who will tell me why.

I was quite surprised when the man who has led the development of a system which, it is claimed, “fills a critical gap in maritime situational awareness,” is less used in Ireland than anywhere else in the world!

There are more than 170,000 users around the world of a maritime safety and rescue tracking device which has been developed and produced by a Cork technology company. It is in use in Finland, Germany, Holland, Spain, South Africa, Australia, Norway, Cyprus, the United Kingdom and Denmark. Sweden is the latest country that has decided to introduce the Cork-developed system.

JOHN MURPHY SAFE TRXJohn Murphy of SafeTrx

SafeTrx is a vessel tracking Smartphone application, Irish-developed and, while it is used in Ireland, John Murphy, CEO of 8 West Consulting, developers of the award-winning SafeTrx Mariner Smartphone-based tracking and alerting system, says he “would consider use low in Ireland in comparison to other countries.”

Overseas countries have run public information/education campaigns about water safety, built around SafeTrx. “They have taken to heart what we have developed,”
he said.

"In an emergency situation it gives rescue authorities quick access to information about the location"

Though the Irish Sailing Association has urged its use here, it is not used as much as overseas. That surprised me when I interviewed John Murphy for my radio programme, This Island Nation. The system has recorded 750,000 hours of use and is sold to national search-and-rescue authorities, so the leisure boat user has no cost to use it.

In an emergency situation it gives rescue authorities quick access to information about the location.

So why is usage low in Ireland?

“Perhaps it is an issue about privacy or confidentiality or not wanting to bother the authorities. That is not prevalent in other countries. In Holland the take-up went from zero to 10,000 registered users in one week. There’s a different psychology, a different acceptance of risk and what people need to do to support themselves in those countries than there is in Ireland,” John Murphy said.

• Listen to the Podcast below of my interview here with John Murphy, a diver and a mountaineer who began developing SafeTrx after discussing with the Irish Coast Guard the need for a safety system for leisure sailors, inshore fishermen, kayakers, canoeists and other leisure water users, to create an ability for the rescue services to track their trips.

Published in Tom MacSweeney
Tom MacSweeney

About The Author

Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney writes a weekly column for He also presents the maritime radio programme This Island Nation on community radio stations around Ireland.

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