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New App designed to collect boating data

The Center for Recreational Boating Research has released the SOBOS app that is available for iOS and Android users. It will collect information about normal, non-accident-based recreational boaters. The goal of the app is to test the effectiveness of crowdsourcing recreational boating data as an evidence-based public health approach to reducing boating accidents.

The SOBOS app asks boaters to fill out a survey that lets the app track a span of their next on-water outing. The anonymous survey and on-water data points are then linked to each on-water waypoint.

Participation will help support a public health and service project designed to reduce recreational boating accidents and fatalities by examining non-accident-based boater characteristics. It will locate anonymous SOBOS survey data at on-water boating locations so non-accident data can be compared to and analyzed with accident data. The app will also build a “situational awareness” boater network that enables reports about floating debris, harbor congestion, a broken-down boat and more.

The SOBOS app includes the day, time, latitude/longitude and speed of the boat. Future updates will share the information with other participants to alert them of things like hazards along the boat’s route.

The app will also provide commercial, governmental and university partners access to anonymous, non-accident-based on-water recreational boater data to study normal geospatial-temporal boating patterns, actuarial research or boating accident research when compared to local recreational boating accidents.

Current recreational boating network members include the National Safe Boating Council, American Canoe Association, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Marine Manufacturers Association, US Sailing, National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, U.S. Power Squadrons, Boy Scouts of America, BoatUS, GEICO, Brunswick Corporation, Grady-White Boats, SeaTow Foundation, National Boating Federation and others.

SOBOS was produced under a grant from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, which is administered by the U.S. Coast Guard.

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