SAR Alerts

SAR Alerts is a prototype dashboard build for Royal Canadian Marine Search & Rescue (RCM-SAR) Station 37 in Sooke, Britsh Columbia, Canada. It is meant to be on display at the boathouse so that when volunteers muster for a mission they can quickly and easily see the current weather, the present tide status, and any weather warnings from the Government of Canada in selected areas.

It was designed to be a multi-tenant application so many stations could use it and manage their own settings, though the project was scrapped before it got to that stage. It all started when I reached out to a member of the RCM-SAR who posted on Reddit that they needed a hand bringing functionality to their design. Over the next month and a half I worked with him to build a prototype that satisfied the requirements above.

The frontend is built with VueJS, the backend is built with Laravel, and the data scraping service is built with Flask and BeautifulSoup


Weather is pulled from OpenWeatherMap. Due to API limits and the fact that weather doesn't change that fast, responses are cached server side for 30 minutes.


The Government of Canada provides a page with a table tide data for a week. I built a scraper using BeautifulSoup. The scraper is controlled by a microservice built in Flask. Every six days the main application calls the microservice to queue a job to scrape the tide data and then update the main database. In the future this could be re-built in a PHP scraping library and configured as a job in Laravel.

Weather Notices

Notices are again provided by the Government of Canada through an RSS feed. When a user loads the app, the feed is read and cached. This could be improved to automatically update the current state and cache it so that the first request is always fast.

User Interface

The user interface provides the time and date, weather, temperature, wind speed, tide state, and any notices for the area, along with timestamps of when the data was last updated. It has a dark theme to make it easy on the eyes at night. The layout is optimized for a TV mounted vertically. Mobile and desktop responsiveness were on the roadmap.