As yachts get smarter, human and asset tracking is becoming more feasible with a number of yachts already operating such systems. Often, with the concept of tracking comes the argument of privacy, but there are certainly positives to be found. Innes Miller, head of research and development at MarineGuard Systems looks at the benefits of tracking technology for superyacht crew.

With the size of superyachts only getting bigger, the requirements for knowing the location of their crew, guests or assets has never been so pressing. Harnessing the capabilities of Wi-Fi location and tracking systems to assist with superyacht operations has been an area of significant interest recently.

Feedback from crew indicates a real and growing need to effectively track assets and personnel on larger vessels, allowing for a more effective and streamlined operation of the vessel and to reduce risk and loss. Also proving a popular aspect is the ability of the system for child monitoring; protecting perhaps the highest value assets of all.

It is clear that though these technologies exist in the commercial market place, meeting the demands of the unique superyacht environment has been the greatest challenge, as it is with many new technologies in our industry. After significant development work and ‘blue water’ experience this technology is now available to be integrated into a variety of vessels, which gives rise to an exciting range of possibilities.

Feedback from crew indicates a real and growing need to effectively track assets and personnel on larger vessels.

Combining tag inventories with data from access control systems (which record crew and guests boarding or alighting the vessel) provides reliable data from which to obtain, muster or roll-call data, with the added benefit of providing locations in the event of an incident.

This can be achieved through a Wi-Fi based system, which in some cases can leverage a vessel’s existing Wireless LAN system. Active Radio Frequency ID tags can be supplied in several different styles, including anti-tamper tags, temperature sensing tags and wristbands, which allow a wide range of tracking possibilities utilising just one system. Devices that already contain a Wi-Fi adapter, such as iPads, smartphones and laptops can be tracked without the need of an additional tag.

Regular wireless transmissions from the tags or devices are received and analysed to produce a location for the person or asset, using complex algorithms. The locations can then be provided on a graphical layout of the vessel and even integrated into the vessel’s security system or other systems. Utilising additional wireless points in required locations can also be given down to the shelf-level for smaller assets if required. Boundaries can also be set for tags and alarms generated if they leave or enter a designated area, perfect for preventing our younger guests from entering restricted areas.

With this sort of system, the following items could be tracked:
  • Fine Artwork
  • Guest and child Monitoring
  • Crew proximity cards
  • Guest proximity cards
  • iPads and tablets
  • High-value tooling and equipment
  • Safety equipment
  • Critical documentation, files and logs
  • Contractors and visitors
The benefits of the system in terms of efficiency, safety and peace of mind, not to mention all the time saved, could soon make those long vessel-wide searches a thing of the past.

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