The app includes a “Social SOS” feature which allows boaters in distress to connect with nearby boaters notifying them of their location in real time.
“This powerful safety tool is now available for every boater and recreationalist on the water,” RaftUp founder and CEO Corey Boelkens said in a press release. “This is a game changer for boaters as well as marinas and public safety officials. RaftUp enables immediate access to help and peace of mind as boaters can spend more time building lifelong memories with friends and family on the water this summer.”
Other features of the app include an interactive map which allows users to find areas of interest such as fishing locations, boat ramps, dive sites, restaurants, marinas as well as the opportunity to connect with others in the boating community.
The app’s availability comes just a week before Memorial Day weekend, one of the biggest boating holidays in Arkansas. In addition, this week is National Boaters Safety Week.
Those in charge of boater safety see the app’s value.
“The moment I learned about RaftUp, I knew it would benefit our response time and the way that our department could help to keep boaters safe on the water,” said Jeff Dorhauer, fire chief of Osage Beach Fire Department on Lake of the Ozarks. “Everyone takes their phones with them everywhere now. There is no reason for a boater to be stranded for hours on the water waiting for help. And in the case of an emergency, it’s a life-saver. Plain and simple!”
Boelkins explained the genesis of his idea and the app in an article with Talk Business & Politics last year.
“I decided to pursue a business idea in early 2015 when I received a scholarship from the City of Little Rock to attend a Kauffman Foundation New Venture program taught by the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC). Through the program and a last-second decision to attend a Startup Weekend sponsored by the Startup Junkies in Northwest Arkansas (at which our venture won second place), my wife and I developed the idea of a web and mobile platform aimed at the recreational boating community.”
Raftup is also currently working on an Android app.