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New BoatSecure phone app uses satellite system to help owners monitor boat alerts

by BoatSecure 31 Jul 2020 06:06 PDT 1 August 2020
One of the many on board functions of BoatSecure is to monitor and alert you if the power on your boat goes off © BoatSecure

With New Zealand boat owners back on the water after the end of the local Covid19 lockdown, user testing has resumed with boat owners taking the opportunity to test BoatSecure, to see how the satellite based system performs for tracking his boat and reporting back on progress.

The new BoatSecure development sends the boat location and other boat information via a nano-satellite space network so that the messages from the boat can be received anywhere using the BoatSecure smart phone app or a web dashboard.

New Zealand boat owner Mike F. tested a new monitoring system from BoatSecure during a recent trip on his boat from the Bay of Islands back to Auckland.

Mike explains, "I had my boat at the Bay of Islands during the summer, but was unable to get back there for the return trip due to the covid lockdown. Once travel was allowed again I arranged to sail back to Auckland.

"John from BoatSecure asked me to test out the new satellite system and I was more than happy to assist for the return trip from Opua back to Pine Harbour.

The BoatSecure satellite kit is fairly small and was not a problem to have on board during our trip."

"We left Opua Thursday evening, with the first night spent in Whiorau Bay. The next day was a long haul, leaving before 7am, and cruising down the east coast of the North Island. The trip south was a long day but just how I like it - uneventful.

We had hoped to reach Pine Harbour Friday evening, but by 7pm we were ready to drop anchor at Kawau Island. We woke early on Saturday morning to a foggy dawn but a perfect forecast for the four hour trip to Pine Harbour, and we finally arrived in the Pine Harbour Marina in time for lunch."

Alerts/tracking sent from the voyage, mooring or marina

Mike comments on why BoatSecure has been valuable. "Being an absentee owner and the nature of my occupation means I can't always be there to check on my boat. I had already lost a freezer full of food after the shore power connection was lost and I was unaware the batteries had completely discharged”.

“Ask any electrician and they will tell you this is one of the worst events that batteries can experience and with a new bank costing well in excess of $2000.00 this device has the potential to pay for itself in a very short time."

John McDermott from BoatSecure explains the purpose of the trial: "We're using the latest generation of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) nano-satellites to receive data from the boat, similar to the satellites that RocketLab has been launching from New Zealand. We send data messages to the satellite system with the status of several signals from the boat, such as power, battery and bilge pump status as well as the GPS location”.

John says the satellite system has advantages over land-based wireless networks, "Land-based radio systems can suffer from lack of coverage where the boat is being sailed or berthed resulting in lack of confidence and uncertainty about boat location and if there is any issue onboard. Our system is primarily meant to provide peace of mind that a boat does not have issues on board that could affect readiness for sailing.

"Although we do not promote this as an alternative to VHF or other safety systems we do recognise that reporting location via satellite is extremely useful so that family and friends back at home can check trips are going well and that no problems have arisen.”.

John says they expect significant demand for the satellite service that will increase the business for BoatSecure.

"We're terming this a Global-Global-Global system because of the three-fold ability to monitor a boat GPS to locate boats anywhere, the satellite system to remotely collect data reports from any global position, and a smartphone app dashboard allowing users to monitor their boats from wherever they are. We are also seeking interest from boat managers and charter operators as they are able to add to check boat location and status wherever boats are located. We’re not announcing pricing for the system yet but our goal is attractive affordability for the typical boat owner that is using a marina or river mooring and is looking for peace of mind".

BoatSecure has a small number of test units available for loan to New Zealand boat owners, contact the company to enquire.

About BoatSecure

BoatSecure uses the latest generation of satellite technology with a new service development for its boat monitoring service. The service keeps an eye on boats at mooring and informs boat owners or their boat manager of any issues that need attention.

The system reports key information of boat status and location using satellite communication to provide data connections at any location globally instead of land based wireless. The system makes use of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) nano-satellites to track and report the status of boats with updates conveniently displayed on a smart phone app.

The satellite transmitter that BoatSecure provides onboard the boat means the service will operate reliably even when a shore based wireless network is not available or the boat is far from land. With the satellite system orbiting over the whole earth BoatSecure is planning to scale up with a global service for boats anywhere in the world.

Boat owners will be familiar with the GPS system that allows boat location to be tracked. But GPS is fundamentally a one way system that lets the person onboard a boat know where they are. Usually a screen or other device on board is used to view the location position. The new system allows boats to be monitored globally by sending data back up to the LEO nano-satellites and then displayed on a smart phone anywhere in the world.

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