26 April 2023
Commercial pilot Stephen Ferris, Founder and Director of Tracket, discovered what he described as a gaping hole in the market for effective management systems for recreational vessel owners to stay on top of regulatory requirements and improve safety standards on Australian waterways.
According to the Boating Industry Association’s (BIA) 2022 State of the Industry Data Report, there are over 1,000,000 recreational vessels registered in Australia, comprising power boats, personal watercrafts (PWC) and sailing crafts, with over 18,000 new registrations each year.
The majority of these vessel owners, like Ferris and his family, enjoy boating for the opportunity it offers to spend quality time on the water with friends and family.
In addition to the enjoyment, however, there are rules and regulations. For each of those 1,000,000 registered vessel owners, there is a raft of safety, compliance and maintenance regulations and requirements that need to be strictly adhered to. Failure to do so not only puts the safety of all on board at risk, it also leaves owners open to a variety of costly fines and infringement notices.
While looking to purchase his own boat, Ferris says he was shocked at the lack of effective systems to manage these requirements and the resulting poor documentation processes he discovered.
“The number of vessels on the water and for sale in Australia with poor documentation is really frightening. If you had that standard of documentation in the aviation industry, your fleet would most likely be grounded.”
Ferris believes higher standards and expectations similar to those of the aviation industry should be applied to power boat, PWC and sailing craft ownership.
“Working in the aviation industry, I understand the importance of process, procedure and accurate record keeping,” Ferris says. “It takes a huge team and a wealth of technology to oversee the process of maintaining an aircraft.
“Boat owners are left to manage that themselves, sometimes with minimal and cumbersome systems in place. It can be a very involved process for owners. It can be time-consuming, and mistakes are made when your system is ineffective.
“Tracket is like having an additional crew member on call 24/7, helping owners to manage the safe, responsible and cost-effective maintenance of their vessel,” Ferris says.
Tracket allows users to keep all relevant information related to their vessel in one easy-to-use app. Registration, licencing, documentation, expenses and travel logs are all recorded, maintained and updated within the app.
The app is compatible with all smartphones, available for download at the Apple Store and on Google Play for less than $10 a month.
In creating Tracket, Ferris and his team consulted with governing bodies such as essential marine services, water police, state-based emergency services and the Boating Industry Association, all of whom have given their support for its creation.
Ferris says the enthusiasm Tracket has received from these organisations, including a federal grant for research and development, has validated the work they are doing, and helped them fine-tune the app to ensure it delivers on its promise of improving maintenance and safety standards on Australian waterways.
Steve Walker, CEO of the Boating Industry Association Victoria says he has been impressed by the level of consultation from the Tracket team, and the results speak for themselves.
“Tracket should be a very handy and helpful platform for boaters, that enhances their planning, maintenance, record keeping, as well as their safety,” Walker says.
“It’s great to have seen the extensive research and development work, as well as the consultation process the team have undertaken, right here in the Victorian boating industry by our BIAV member Tracket. We forward to seeing the platform resonate with boaters from Victoria and beyond.”
With Tracket, maintenance records, engine and generator hours, photographs and expenses are all recorded digitally, allowing greater transparency and accuracy for owners, sellers, buyers, brokers and insurance agencies.
Owners can categorise expenses and view average monthly spending. Well-documented service history also improves resale value – any boat owner or broker will tell you, service history sells boats.
Tracket features dedicated folders, making it easy to locate exactly what you need at the touch of a button. Records are saved chronologically and are classified into segments that can be filtered and searched.
Notifications and reminders for everything from safety equipment checks and expiration dates, to registration and insurance dues, to maintenance and service dates, are inbuilt, ensuring nothing is missed or overlooked.
There are even sections to help you ensure the fun never stops, with the capacity to create checklists before you entertain or head out for a day of fishing: drinks, check; food, check; ice, check; bait, check.
With Tracket, all the information required for a safe, well maintained and properly documented vessel is in one simple ecosystem, that can be personalised and shared with third parties at the owner’s discretion.
Organised, transparent, efficient, and easy to use, Tracket is like having a professional crew keeping watch over your vessel.
“We’re incredibly proud of the app, and the potential it has to increase safety, and save vessel owners an enormous amount of time and expense,” Ferris says.
“We’re thrilled to have created something that allows my family, and countless others, to spend more time enjoying the water – which for us, is the essence of what boating is all about.”
The question is not whether you can afford Tracket, but can you afford not to Tracket. Download the app for a free 90-day trial.