You are fishing inshore when the boat snaps hard to port. Another wave slams her and she goes all the way over. It happens so fast you never get off a distress call. What to do?

Screenshot of the Pro Chart app's "Buddies" feature courtesy of Jay Stipe.Something like that happened off Florida’s East Coast last month, only it was a recreational boat with five guys in it on a duck-hunting trip. Probably the only reason they all made it back is Jay Stipe, the father of Kevin Stipe, one of the five in the boat, owns the company MiraTrex, which offers the Pro Charts app that works with an iPhone or IPad.

MiraTrex recently added the GPS driven “Buddies” feature to the Pro Charts navigating app after two young boys were lost off the East Coast of Florida in July and never heard from again.

So when Kevin called his father to tell him they were floating in the water, Jay could view his location on the iPad screen and pinpoint the spot with an on-screen icon. He took a screen shot to capture the display in case the signal was lost.

Jay called the St. Pete Coast Guard and gave them the coordinates, much to the surprise of the Coast Guard officer who didn’t expect to get the exact lat-lon numbers. Shortly after that, a helicopter and rescue boat were on the scene.

In addition to displaying an icon of a buddy’s position on screen, the app shows their history for the previous 48 hours.

Kevin’s iPhone and the Pro Charts app with the Buddies feature proved critical in rescuing the five men, but just as important is the fact that Kevin’s iPhone was in a waterproof LifeProof case. Without that case, the iPhone wouldn’t have worked and all five might have perished.

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