The Brief

Design, build and support a vessel tracking system to improve the safety of recreational boaters on NSW waters.


Visibility and integration across multiple platforms.  Desktop administration tools, supported by mobile check-in and tracking technology.


Extending the functionality by integrating with the Radio over Internet Protocol (ROIP), and shared with Marine Area Command has meant continuous innovation from MRNSW.


The nature of the Emergency Services sector demands reliable and consistent support outside of normal hours.  Shared expertise is essential to meeting these demands.

Understanding the business challenge

Detailed understanding of MRNSW’s services to the public, compliance to emergency services Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), challenges with the existing system and processes, future requirements and habits of the boating community to create a solution that will help save lives.

Using principles of design to explore solutions

Applied a human-centered research approach to all areas of the organisation (Headquarters, units, volunteers) and the boating community; analysis of their current process; technical requirements and feasibility; and market and competitor analysis.

Testing insights to innovate

Tested and validated key insights such as: boaters not Logging On/Off over radio as concerned with motor thefts; smartphone widely used by older boating demographic; existing MRNSW system not future proof; manual data entry of vessels was a risk and inefficient.

Integrating services for results

Three integrated secure digital services were designed and developed to support MRNSW volunteers and improve boating safety. 1)Marine Rescue NSW Seahawk; 2)Marine Rescue smartphone app; and 3) Radio Club Member Management System. Boaters Log On directly with MRNSW on the smartphone app providing key information in a search and rescue operation—resulting in increased accuracy and efficiency of volunteers.

Seeing results from the ecosystem

The Seahawk system and smartphone app were deployed in 2014 and 2015 respectively. There was a smooth transition and high user adoption amongst the MRNSW volunteers. The app recorded strong uptake among boaters when launched, with more than 5,000 downloads recorded in the first month. The system also allows MRNSW volunteers to redirect local vessels in the event of an incident, and quickly coordinate search and rescue activities. The Seahawk system is now also used by the NSW Water Police.


Our relationship with Marine Rescue NSW (MRNSW) began in 2013. We continue to support and enhance the service in partnership.

Business Design 0
Experience Design 0
Product Design 0
Agile Build 0
Partner Support 0

The Process

Working closely together through the design, implementation and support phases has resulted in a long term partnership with MRNSW.

Train and Release
Partner Support

“Alive came to our State conference to build buy-in at our leadership level. They used this knowledge to challenge our thinking and come up with ideas we wouldn’t have. It’s a collaborative process that produces a far better end result. These days, you don’t usually expect—let alone receive—that level of enthusiasm, interest or service.”

Commissioner, Marine Rescue NSW