A Lake Macquarie Council partnership with an innovative smartphone app is aiming to make recreation afloat safer and easier for thousands of local boaties.
Mayor, Kay Fraser said Council had joined forces with locally produced app, DECKEE, to help boaties plan their trips, and to better understand boating use on the lake, as well as the level of demand for infrastructure like boat ramps and lakeside car parks.
“DECKEE is basically a one-stop shop for boating and fishing information, from waterway maps to Bureau of Meteorology weather reports and information about what safety equipment is required in any given spot,” she said.
“It also lets users share their live location with friends, family or safety contacts while on the water for peace of mind.”
The app aggregates and anonymises boat movement data to help organisations like Council understand where and when vessels are on the water.
“Over time, this will help us direct resources to where they are needed most, whether that’s in the form of boat ramp upgrades or extra fish cleaning tables, for example,” Mayor Fraser said.
NSW Government data shows Lake Mac is home to around 42,000 boat licence holders, almost 20,000 registered vessels, and thousands more smaller, unregistered watercraft.
DECKEE founder, Mike McKiernan, who grew up in Port Stephens and is now based in Newcastle, said more than 530,000 boaties had used the app worldwide since its launch in 2019.
“Recreational boating is extremely popular in Lake Macquarie, with the city having one of the highest rates of boating participation in NSW,” he said.
“But being out on the water can be confusing and dangerous without access to the right information and guidance, and that’s really where DECKEE helps.
“For example, DECKEE makes it easy to know exactly what mandatory equipment you need according to official government regulations, personalised to your watercraft and the water body you intend to navigate.”
An information hub within the app links locals and visitors to Lake Mac-specific fishing hot-spots and tips, and other details about Lake Macquarie as a fishing and boating destination.
The app can also notify boat users of any current warnings or upcoming events in the local area, such as this month’s Let’s Fish Lake Mac competition.
The notifications are geofenced to ensure they only reach relevant users.