SOS waterways App launched

Published: Wednesday, 25 October 2017

RIVER CANAL RESCUE has launched a new free SOS Waterways app for its members.

When activated it instantly sends an emergency request, prompting a call to confirm the issue and where required, dispatches an engineer or rescue team to the boater in trouble.

SOS Waterways appJust press a button

Managing director, Stephanie Horton, explains:

“I see this as an essential piece of onboard equipment. Once the app is installed, you simply input your name and phone number into the app’s contact screen and when help is need, press the ‘require assistance’ button.

“Your call for help and location is tracked via GPS, accurate to within 100m, and flagged up on our system. We then get in touch to assess the situation and if necessary allocate the job to the nearest engineer whose own app plans a route to the boat.”

Can choose assistance

Users can choose how their assistance request is sent—either via wif-fi/mobile data or text (or both)—and once received, are messaged to advise RCR will be in touch.

Behind the scenes, screens detailing the UK’s inland waterway network not only flag up the caller’s contact details, the boat’s location, severity of the issue and proximity to an engineer, but they track the engineer’s or team’s progress too.

RCR has demanding service standards and Stephanie believes this latest development will make her teams even more efficient:

“We endeavour to be with every caller within four hours and our average attendance time is two hours 45 minutes. Using this app, engineers will be able to locate boats more easily and so improve their response times.”


Additional features to keep boaters safe and give them access to other essential services are being planned for the app and it will also become part of RCR’s existing WaterNav app which allows users to plan/track routes and pinpoint their locations/distance from over 60,000 points of interest.

The SOS Waterways app can be downloaded via Google Play or directly from RCR’s website via the WaterNav tab. It’s currently awaiting authorisation for download via the App Store.

Not always

Though RCR states: 'We endeavour to be with every caller within four hours and our average attendance time is two hours 45 minutes', this regrettably is not always the case, as friends of Jan (of narrowboatworld) discovered.

Stan & Steph White had just started their cruise up the Trent & Mersey Canal from Sawley when they noticed the stern gland was badly leaking with water pouring into the boat with the bilge pump working hard to clear it.  Being members of RCR (we understand 'Silver') they telephoned RCR on Sunday.  The engineer arrived on Friday morning...