+ Sunday August 25th, 2019


It seems that there’s been some wild weather in Melbourne over the weekend, and out of tales of wild winds and powerlines down comes a surprising good news story which involves Samsung. This story begins with Nick, a 29-year old mechanic from Melbourne who decided to head out for a bit of fishing with his three mates. Unaware of the weather warning, the group set off from Lang Lang, on the shores of Western Port Bay in Victoria. The group set out for a bit of fishing, but were not prepared for the wild weather that was to meet them.

Taking respite from the weather, Nick and his mates got some fishing done near French Island, before deciding that the weather they’d observed had mostly passed, and it was time to head back to port. Unfortunately, it seems, luck was not on their side. While the weather seemed calm near the island, after about twenty minutes it became clear the weather was anything but calm. Very quickly their small boat started taking on water, and before they knew it, the boat was almost inundated. The decision was made to jump while they could, and it was into the frigid waters of Western Port Bay.

Speaking to Ausdroid, Nick fully accepts that he and his friends were poorly prepared; they didn’t have a radio or an EPIRB, and while they had life jackets … they hadn’t been wearing them. This isn’t something we can condone as remotely smart, and it’s something Nick is only too well aware of. Had they that time again, they would have had life jackets on … but let’s be honest, wearing life jackets would have kept them afloat, but wouldn’t have got them rescued any more quickly, nor prevented hypothermia. There’s no requirement to carry an EPIRB in bays like Western Port either, though it certainly would’ve been a good idea in hindsight.

Anyhow, when the boat went under, Nick says, everything happened too quickly for anyone to get life jackets on, and before they knew it, they were in the water. With no life jackets, and no rescue coming — nor anyone to know they were missing — the prospects looked pretty grim.

It was after some time that Nick remembered he had a water resistant phone; a Samsung Galaxy S7 he’d bought only a few months earlier. He pulled it out, only to find that while it was still working, he couldn’t get it unlocked. After some time, it became apparent there was a thin film of water between the case and the screen preventing it unlocking.

After ripping off the case, Nick was able to get a call through to 000, and both the Victoria Police air wing and Volunteer Marine Rescue were on the way. With his Galaxy S7, Nick was able to stay in contact with emergency services while the search was underway, and after about an hour or so in the water, the group were found. Suffering hypothermia, none were in a good way, especially the skipper of the small craft who was almost unconscious.

Thanks to the swift response of emergency services, Nick and his friends are alive to tell the tale, and in no small part it’s due to having had the right phone for the job.

This is a fascinating story of how Samsung’s Galaxy S7 — which probably wasn’t designed with this scenario in mind — was able to survive an extend period in salty, ocean water, and then be used to call emergency services for help. Without that phone, and without it having lasted as long as it did, this story would have a very different ending. It also bears remembering that the Samsung Galaxy S7 is only water resistant; with an IP68 rating, it isn’t designed to be immersed in water like this — at all — and that it’s survived and allowed these guys to be rescued is an amazing feat. We at Ausdroid are as glad as Nick that this turned out to have a happy ending.

We understand that all four are now safe and well, and although the Galaxy S7 survived long enough to call for help, it didn’t survive the ordeal, succumbing to a salty failure. Fortunately, being still under warranty — and being the subject of a great story — Samsung were only too willing to replace Nick’s phone under warranty.

His suggestion? Next year’s phone should be waterproof — and it likely will be — but it should come with either a float built in, or as a case that can be fitted, just in case it’s dropped into deep water. For ours, this isn’t a bad idea; not much point a phone being waterproof if it’s in 10 metres of water and can’t be reached to call for help.

If you would like to make a donation to Volunteer Marine Rescue – Mornington and Hastings, you can do so via their website. Thanks to Nick for sharing his story with us.

Chris Rowland   Managing Editor

Chris Rowland

Chris has been at the forefront of smartphone reporting in Australia since smartphones were a thing, and has used mobile phones since they came with giant lead-acid batteries that were "transportable" and were carried in a shoulder bag.

Today, Chris publishes one of Australia's most popular technology websites, Ausdroid. His interests include mobile (of course), as well as connected technology and how it can make all our lives easier.

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Amazing story. Can’t believe they survived an hour in those waters


How much did Samsung pay to write this article?


Nothing .. all paid posts are marked as such, refer to our ethics statement: http://ausdroid.net/ethics-statement/

Aleks Ivanovic
Aleks Ivanovic

Thank God they all survived. Innovation saved them.


I wonder why the warm battery wasn’t enough to fend off hypothermia. Oh yes, not a Note 7. Good story though.

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