Modern technology can keep your boat safe, secure, and easy to check on – no matter where you may be. It’s a great era for boat security.
Many people don’t think of the marine industry as a place where tech thrives, but truth be told, when you consider advancements like digital switching systems on boats, the latest in marine electronics, and new outboard technology, it becomes clear that our watery world is evolving technologically at quite a rapid pace. One way tech is playing a bigger and bigger role: boat monitoring and boat security. That’s a good thing, because unfortunately, boat thieves are also evolving to be more and more sophisticated. You want to make sure Mom’s Mink stays safe and sound whether she’s sitting on a trailer, in a slip, or on a mooring? These days, you have a number of options.
A US Coast Guard camera captured this image of a stolen center console during a 20-hour pursuit, which began off Florida and then covered over 325 miles. Eventually, the boat was recovered and three men were apprehended.
Basic Remote Boat Monitoring Systems
Remote boat monitoring systems come in a number of levels, starting with basic, inexpensive tracking systems. These won’t let you know if your boat is being stripped or if it’s sinking, but they certainly will help you keep constant tabs on its position. If your boat gets stolen, obviously, this is the first step in recovering it. In some cases, these systems also meet minimum requirements to get you an insurance break.
Some basic options for tracking include simply-hidden devices which allow you to set up a geo-fence around the boat, then track its position via satellite and send you an email or text message, should the boat break through the geo-fence. The GOST Nav Tracker 1.0 is one such unit; it goes for a bit less than $1,000 and also has a “panic button” feature that allows you to alert designated recipients (again via email or text) of your position, speed, and heading if there’s an emergency onboard.
The Spot Trace works in a similar fashion, but is powered independently of your boat with four AA batteries. They claim a 52-day life with a clear view of the sky and position checks at 60-minute intervals (about half that with a 50-percent obscured view), so that means you need to do some monitoring yourself, to make sure the batteries are live and the system stays active. Cost is just $100 for the unit, with a $15/month or $150/year basic service plan.
Advanced Boat Security Monitoring
More advanced boat security systems not only track the boat’s position, but also include an element of theft deterrence. GOST is again a major player in this realm, with systems like the Watch and the Phantom. As you might guess from its name the Watch is a video recording system, which also allows you to remotely view cameras placed onboard. The Phantom is a more extensive system that can handle up to 64 different wireless sensors – ranging from door contacts to deck pressure sensors – and can be controlled by multiple users with different zones and key FOBs. GOST’s top-of-the-line Apparition combines all of the above functions and can take up to 192 sensors, as well as adding sirens and the ability to incorporate strobes or even glycol-generated “cloaking” fogs that can be triggered to scare off nefarious characters who step aboard without your permission.
What all of these boat security systems share in common is an added layer of remote monitoring and security that wasn’t readily available at reasonable price points just a few years ago. And while there’s no doubt that the thieves who steal boats will work to find ways around these systems, there’s also no doubt that today, modern tech can give you a serious leg up on those criminals.