Marine Telematics

Marine telematics systems are revolutionizing the boating, shipping, recreational fishing and commercial fishing industries. Marine telematics involves the use of wireless voice and data communication systems which provide vessel tracking, emergency aid, system monitoring, internet access, and other features.

Systems normally consist of a user interface, satellite antenna, and a communication link with the vessel’s electronic systems. This technology can be vital to the user since it provides a satellite link to the outside world when other communications may unavailable.

Several companies have entered the marine telematics market, including, Sea Key, SeaCom, Boatracs and others.

The Sea Key press release describes their system -

"SeaKey telematics integrate Global Positioning System technologies with electronic mapping and mobile communications to monitor and provide important boat data from port, land or sea. The first satellite communications system designed specifically for the marine industry, SeaKey provides a safer and more enjoyable boating experience for all, with 24-hour service and customer support.

Installed in boats across North America, SeaKey has received wide acclaim from prominent boat builders and boat owners alike. SeaKey offers an array of services that cater to boat security, boater safety, and boating enjoyment, including an advanced emergency messaging system that can pinpoint a distressed boat’s location offshore. SeaKey can also alert boat owners to potential problems when they are not using their boats, such as low battery voltage or water intrusion in the bilge. In addition, SeaKey has a proven record of assisting law enforcement agencies in tracking and recovering stolen boats, offering boat owners a new level of security and safety.

SeaKey concierge services are available to all SeaKey customers. Knowledgeable operators are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to help with any reasonable request including dock reservations, weather information, fueling, car rental, and repair information and assistance. All SeaKey services are provided on an unlimited basis to its customers for a low fixed monthly fee."

Delphi is manufacturing components for the startup company SeaCom. - Delphi described the project as: “These devices are being designed to provide emergency communications between boaters and Seacom's rescue center using the ORBCOMM satellite network”...the system will provide "detailed messages, including information on GPS position and other critical parameters, between watercraft and the dedicated maritime rescue coordination center. This data is intended to help rescue agencies locate a vessel and respond appropriately during an emergency.”

SeaCom will initially market the service recreational boat owners and insurers as a safety and communication device for watercraft. Users on land will be able to track the location and status of the equipped boat.

Boatracs, another wireless maritime information system company, markets products approved by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to provide Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) services to commercial fishing vessels in the Northeast region. The system includes GPS, two-way communications and e-mail. A network operations center provides continuous support.

The term Vessel Monitoring System, or VMS, refers to a wireless information system that automatically reports fishing vessel position and activity to NMFS.