Had a bit to do with the local CG's advertising of their "emergency alerting" mobile phone app. Used Aus wide was the claim.

I wouldn't endorse the idea here because the claims made in the promotion were dangerous.

Its an app to use on your mobile phone for logging on and off, position reports and notifications of what the user is up to. Change of position or intention etc. Fair enough.

Also claimed to be for instantaneous distress alerting situations when instant notification would appear on the local CG base computer system that something was wrong (so the claim was). It also contained the lat/long of the distressed vessel.

I never take any claims like that on face value so I had a lengthy discussion with the local CG promoter of the system.

During the discussion, he made a remark that the app was so good that it even extended the range of the mobile phone system because CG was getting position reports from places where mobile phones never worked before.

My ears pricked up at that claim so I chased up the designers of the system. It turned out that the system worked on a "store-and-forward" principle when beyond normal mobile phone range.

The mob phone app would store the the position and distress notification and then forward it when the mob phone base and the mobile phone were within range and could "handshake" and then the message would be sent.

It did the same thing with less important situations. It appeared that the delayed report contained lat/long of where the report was entered and NOT where the vessel actually was when the report finally got through. Hence the claims of extra range.

So it was claimed that the live distress alerting function covered the whole area when it actually didn't.

If the vessel never got back into mobile phone range then no message would be sent. But the vessel operator didn't know that and was believing that the VMR base had been alerted to his situation when it hadn't.

Recipe for tragedy by lulling the boatie into a false sense of security.

So the lesson is don't simply rely on what you're told about these sorts of things. Each system will have a different name but be extremely wary of anything relying on a "store -and-forward" mobile phone application.

CG no longer promotes the systyem as a distress alerting system mechanism (here anyway). It works OK on other less important functions. Don't know about other areas so be careful including mobile phone apps under different names.

You guys probably already know about this stuff so apologies if you do.

I've come across other mobile phone apps that may or may nor use "store-and-forward" technology.