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Following the success of our Boating Companion Innovation Challenge, two apps were chosen to be officially endorsed by Transport for NSW.

Congratulations to the developers of Deckee and Boatable!

Can you create an app to help recreational boaters navigate the waterways?

Calling all innovators and app developers!

About The Challenge

Transport for NSW (TfNSW) and Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) want you to pitch us on the development of a boating companion app to provide recreational boat users with information and tools for a safe and enjoyable journey!

There are Maritime datasets which can be incorporated to assist in your development of the app.

There are top 10 priority safety issues from the Maritime Safety Plan which are ideally addressed by a consumer based app.

  • Poor judgement - Poor judgement or lack of judgement are usually amongst other top causes for incidents.
  • Lifejacket wear - Lifejackets are the most important piece of safety equipment on any recreational vessel. An approved lifejacket must be carried for each person on board most vessels.
  • Personal watercraft (PWC) risk management - Personal watercraft (PWC) is defined as vessels with a fully enclosed hull that may be driven standing up, lying down, sitting astride or kneeling, a definition which includes jet powered surfboards and jetskis.
  • Towing activities - this includes on water “towing” such as water-skiing, wakeboarding, kneeboarding, tubing and similar sports such as wake surfing. 
  • Cold water - risks due to cold water shock and hypothermia.
  • Paddle/oared craft risk management - Canoes and kayaks are classified as paddle-craft. These vessels are small and sit low in the water, making them difficult to see for boaters in other vessels under certain conditions (e.g. rough weather, or low visibility).
  • Speed - All vessels must travel at a safe speed at all times. A safe speed cannot be expressed as a maximum or minimum number of knots because it varies with circumstances and conditions.
  • Excess alcohol - When afloat, coordination, judgement, vision, balance and reaction time can decline up to three times faster after consuming alcohol. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is an offence. Permissible concentration of alcohol limits are as follows:
    • 0.00 for recreational vessel operators under 18 years of age
    • Less than 0.05 for recreational vessel operators over 18 years of age.
  • Weather conditions - Weather conditions and lack of preparation and planning pose a significant threat to the boating public. 
  • Proper lookout - The skipper is responsible at all times for keeping a lookout for dangers.

The focus of the app should consider the above concerns and at a minimum be able to provide safety information and information on marinas and facilities.

Features to be included in the app:

  1. Weather alerts and conditions, showing swell, tides and wind etc.
  2. Safety Alerts
  3. Maps showing facilities for boat-ramps, restricted speed zones, navigational aids, fishing zones, marinas etc.
  4. Safety Checklists including information such as lifejacket requirements, for your vessel and planned trip
  5. Geographical coverage of NSW and its borders at a minimum; and other jurisdictions from around Australia as a desirable
  6. Safety alerts and other notifications to be provided by Transport for NSW and RMS as a feed to be communicated via in app notifications. Note the feed is in development and will be published and available via the Open Data hub.

Any app pitched would be expected to be available on both Apple iOS and Android platforms.

The applicant(s) will also be given early access to Maritime datasets and have access to boating experts. There is also source code for a previously published app which can be provided to interested app developers. To access the source code please complete this form.

Transport for NSW and RMS will assist with the incubation process in building an app that can be endorsed by government agencies and meets customers’ expectations.

Transport for NSW and RMS will provide marketing of the endorsed app via existing communications and marketing channels.

How the challenge works

Applications opened on Monday 27th of November 2017. Any interested applicants will have the opportunity to ask subject matter experts at the information session to help their submissions. The Information session will be held on Tuesday 5th December 2017 and will be recorded and made available to interested parties.

The information session will provide an opportunity for developers and interested parties to ask questions and get information before applications are submitted by Friday 19th of January 2018.

Once submissions are closed, the applications are assessed and ranked by a judging panel. Up to 10 teams will be invited to progress to the pitch stage of the challenge by Friday 2nd February 2018.

Finalists will pitch their ideas on Tuesday 13th February 2018 to the judging panel with the winning team/developer announced following the pitches.

The developers/teams will then have June 2018 to create and finalise their app through an incubation phase for release into the market.

Information regarding endorsement

If you’re a talented creative, entrepreneur or design business that can turn an innovation into a successful enterprise, we want your ideas.

The applicant/s who wins through to incubation in the challenge will have the opportunity to be endorsed by TfNSW. TfNSW endorses products that are of high quality, innovative and solve customer problems. Funding is tied to progress.

For your concept to be chosen, it must fit Government legislative and policy requirements and deliver a seamless customer-centric experience.

Transport for NSW and Roads and Maritime Services will promote the endorsed app via our regular channels.

Key Challenge Dates

The key dates for the challenge are:

Applications Open - Monday 27th November 2017
Information Night - Tuesday 5th December 2017 at 6pm
Applications Close - Friday 19th of January 2018

During the application process, you’ll have the opportunity to work alongside key subject matter experts and customers, and ask them any questions you may have.

If your application is successful, you’ll have the opportunity to pitch your ideas to a panel of judges at Pitch Day.

Pitch Day will be held on Tuesday 13th February 2018 starting from 9:00am. Each pitcher is allocated 10 minutes:

  • Up to 5 minutes for an oral presentation
  • 5 minutes for judges’ Q&A session
  • Judges will provide constructive feedback


Teams who are eligible for incubation and seed funding will be announced by Friday 9th of March 2018.

Regular meetings and access to subject matter experts within Transport for NSW and RMS will be made available through the ‘incubation’ period.

A launch date for the app with Transport for NSW (TfNSW) and RMS is targeted for mid 2018.

Information Session

Download the information session slide pack - click here

Full recording of the information session

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