Digital technology has entered every part of our lives and its growing acceptance in the marine safety field means that increasingly these devices and their improving ease of use can literally save lives.
At the forefront of this field is Exposure Marine’s Overboard Location Alert System (OLAS), which allows its users to know instantly when and where someone has gone overboard or out of range and directs the user to initiate retrieval procedures. Without the need for any network signal, this system converts a mobile phone or tablet into an integral part of a boat’s lifesaving equipment.
The way the system operates is simple: OLAS uses a low-energy Bluetooth network which is embedded into Exposure’s proprietary Alert and Find technology. The phone’s app can be paired with a discreet OLAS tag which can be worn like a watch or attached to a lifejacket or throwing object such as a Dan Buoy. The Bluetooth pairing creates a virtual tether to the tag, which is broken when it goes in the water or beyond its working range of 30m.
In normal mode the app screen provides navigation data including course, speed over ground, course over ground, bearing to waypoint and course to steer, as well as a compass. If a tag (wearer) goes overboard, OLAS immediately sounds an alert on the mobile device. The GPS in the device records the exact latitude and longitude where the incident occurred. The crew left onboard then mutes the alarm, and the app screen switches to a large visual arrow, highlighting the course to steer back to the point the incident occurred. It alerts again when the phone is within a 20m radius of the incident enabling the search and recovery to begin.