The RNLI has begun testing a maritime safety system for automatic vessel monitoring using the Iridium satellite network.

The RNLI has begun testing a maritime safety system for automatic vessel monitoring using the Iridium satellite network.

If successful, the RNLI plans to fit the system to its fleet of 128 all-weather lifeboats and 208 inshore lifeboats.

RNLI radiocommunications project officer Mark Morgan said: “The Iridium-based vessel tracking system will permit the lifeboat crew to concentrate on the task at hand, safely operating the boat under difficult weather and sea conditions, without making continual position reports by voice calls over radio channels.

“With this system, we will be able to monitor the lifeboats at all times from the shoreside headquarters.”