Virtual Coast Guard Reduces Fatalities by 60%

When warm weather hits many people take to the water, often grabbing their sunscreen, but ignoring perhaps the most important item on the boat – their life jackets. 84% of all water-related fatalities over the last 10 years involved people not wearing life jackets. It’s no secret that a life jacket only works if you wear it and despite years of campaigning to promote boating safety this message is still ignored.

To help enforce safety, Maritime New Zealand and FCB New Zealand developed the world’s first “Virtual Coast Guard”, an always-on system that patrols more than 9,000 miles of New Zealand’s coastline powered by using geo-fence technology. Knowing that boaters are on their phones capturing photos and checking weather conditions, the virtual system is able to target them through ads on mobile apps and websites to serve them a reminder to wear their life jacket, a warning if danger is imminent based on their location and other important safety messages.

Here’s a video that helps explain the powerful technology in more detail: It’s already a huge success in New Zealand, helping to reduce boating fatalities by 60%.