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App give sailors access to live information

MARYKE PENMAN
Last updated 05:00 04/02/2014

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Boaties can now access live marine forcecasts on their smartphones with the announcement of a free app.

The MetService and Maritime NZ have produced the app, which is designed for Android and iPhones.

MetService Marine was launched this month and is available free from iTunes and Google Play.

It features recreational and coastal marine forecasts, tides, severe weather warnings, rain radar and isobar maps and links to boat safety information.

A Maritime NZ spokesperson says weather conditions can make the difference between an enjoyable day out and an uncomfortable, or even tragic trip.

A large proportion of accidents involving small vessels are weather related and can be avoided if the marine forecast is considered before heading out.

According to Water Safety NZ there were 122 drownings in Auckland in the four years to 2012 and 77 per cent of victims were male.

Around 18 per cent of drownings occurred during boating, with most incidents taking place offshore in vessels at least 4m long.

Maritime NZ advises boaties to keep an eye on the weather and stay tuned to marine VHF radio channels to hear the NowCasts from the Coastguard.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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