Kotuku Surf Life Saving Club

Kotuku Surf Life Saving Club is situated in Greymouth, NZ and has been running since 1963 to help provide their community with safer beaches. The club uses TracPlus to track their innovative Drifter devices with live GPS tracking - to identify the probable location of a person missing in the water.

Their Drifter system works by recording real-time drift patterns and the speed of currents in the water, predicting where a person could end up if swept out to sea. The Drifters can be set either at the water surface for a missing person with a lifejacket or below the surface for a missing person without a lifejacket.

We had a chat with their Club Chairman, Mark Bolland, about how the club uses TracPlus to help their operations.

emily b drifter

The Emily B Drifter Devices

How does TracPlus help your operations on a daily basis?

“TracPlus helps track our ‘Emily B Drifters’ with live GPS tracking. The Drifters are used to help us track the speed and direction of water currents for any search and rescue operation for a missing person. The development of the Drifters began after 9 year old Emily Branje was tragically swept out to sea by a rogue wave while she sat up on the beach. The drifters are named after Emily (Emily B Drifters)."

What TracPlus features and functionalities are the most important for you, and why?

“The Emily B Drifters have recently won the prestigious DHL Innovation of the Year Award for Surf Life Saving New Zealand. The features of TracPlus which are really helpful is the ability to share the Drifters tracking data to multiple agencies on computer or cell phone, allowing them to view and track the data at the same time as well. The data output can be as simple or complex as you require, and the tracking also works outside of cell phone coverage. Also, the TracPlus help and support team is fantastic and so supportive."

How did you find out about TracPlus, and when did you begin using us?

"We were advised that the TracPlus system was easy to use and could track our assets anywhere. Our overseas contact introduced us to TracPlus, and we’ve now been using TracPlus for three years. TracPlus generously donated four GPS units, five years of satellite time, and four waterproof cases and four external power supplies. With these TracPlus units, our Drifter operation time was able to increase from 24 hours to over four/five days."

Has there been any specific occasion you can think of where TracPlus has potentially saved time, or a life?

"TracPlus constantly helps us to put search and rescue assets in the right place and increase the probability of finding someone alive. At the scene of an incident, the Emily B drifters will be deployed as soon as possible at the splash point so we can track the missing person or persons and recover them as soon as possible."

Did you have any questions or concerns about using TracPlus before trying it? If so, what were they?

"None at all. TracPlus has delivered on many levels. The Kotuku Surf Life Saving Club are very impressed with how TracPlus works."

What would you say to someone thinking about implementing a tracking system?

"TracPlus is a must-have tracking option, being easy to use and reliable. We use the system along the most rugged coastline in New Zealand that experiences the heaviest seas. It hasn't let us down."

Interested in learning more about how TracPlus can help your organisation?

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