Safety at Sea with GPS

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Fishermen are no strangers to the dangers of the sea. For those that rely on long fishing trips to make a living, the dangers of getting lost at sea, or falling overboard are a part of life. Seasoned fishermen got to be that way by respecting the dangers inherent in their journeys, and doing everything they can to be prepared for the worst case scenario.

Before technology advanced to where it is, there wasn’t much fishermen could do to prepare for disasters at sea. This is one of the reasons that superstition is so prevalent on fishing boats. Before people had the means to call the coast guard for help, they sought to avoid catastrophes by banning women, bananas, and other things from boats. These superstitions have mostly disappeared, with the help of technology and science, we understand that a banana isn’t going to sink a ship, or anger the sea gods.

There have been many developments over the years that are gradually decreasing the risks of long sea voyages. One of the most critical of these advances has been the ability to contact a rescue team via radio transmission. Many lives have been saved over the years, when vessels run into trouble and call the coast guard for help. The biggest problem with the coast guard responding to distress calls is locating the people in distress.

Being stranded at sea is never a good thing. With the advancement of GPS tracking technology, however, being stranded anywhere doesn’t quite mean what it used to. Even when you are the only soul within a hundred miles, if you have a GPS tracking device, you can be traced within one hundred yards. Newer and smaller devices are on the market, that not only send a distress call to the coast guard, but also provide the exact longitude and latitude information of the vessel or person.

Many of these devices automatically send the distress signal and GPS tracking data, under certain conditions. If the devices become wet or sense too much movement, a notification is sent to the coast guard. A majority of these cases are false alarms, so the coast guard will verify there is an emergency before launching a rescue mission. These devices can greatly improve rescue times, by giving an exact location of the vessel in distress.

Article Written by Marisa O’Connor

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