The Connected Boat
The dashboard of the Siren Marine app shows key boat system status at a glance, from anywhere you can get online with your smartphone, tablet or desktop computer.
Using your smartphone, the Internet of Things (IoT) and new technology to make boating safer and more fun
By Tom Burden and Tom Farmer, Last updated: 4/16/2018
Here's a tale that is all too common: You left the boat all buttoned up on Sunday afternoon, and you're pretty sure everything is OK, but some nagging doubts are starting to trouble your mind. Did you remember to turn the battery charger on? Has the battery bank gone dead again? Is the water level in the bilge rising? Is the engine due for an oil change? And what about those burglaries you read about on the marina bulletin board?
Is your pride and joy—your baby—going to be OK until the next time you return?
Boat owners, do you worry about your boat when it is all alone in its slip or on its trailer? We sure do, and that's why we're excited about a bunch of new electronic gadgets that give us some help with our peace of mind. It's the Connected Boat. Using your smartphone, the Internet of Things and new technology, you'll have the power to know—wherever you are—that your boat is safe, secure and ready to enjoy.
Where's my boat?
For many boaters, security is a big concern (unless you're one of the lucky folks whose vessel is tied to a dock right outside your back door). Fortunately, there are some new solutions.
Monitor your boat, track its location and status, control onboard systems such as cabin and cockpit lights, air conditioning, battery switches or bilge pumps and keep your vessel secure, almost anywhere in the world. This Monitoring, Tracking and Control (MTC) system utilizes the global 3G cell phone network, the Internet of Things and an app you can view on your smartphone, tablet or desktop computer.
Siren Marine users receive instant alerts if someone tries to break in, there's water leaking into the bilge, shore power is disconnected, the refrigerator stops working, or the boat moves from its historical GPS position. Monitoring your boat via the Internet is not new, but what is unique is that Siren Marine's device also lets you control your boat's systems using remote switching. You can switch on a battery bank, control a bilge pump, or even turn the air conditioner on so the boat will be cool when your guests arrive.
The heart of Siren's system is the MTC Device, an onboard black box that aggregates data from sensors on your boat and communicates with you using the GSM 3G cellular network. It monitors your boat's location and battery voltage, right out of the box.
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Add sensors to monitor other systems
Add wired or wireless motion detectors, entry sensors, reed switches and canvas snap sensors, and you'll know if someone breaks in. You can then remotely sound a loud alarm, disconnect the boat's main battery or switch on some bright lights to scare the intruder off. Siren Marine's MTC allows you to switch up to four light-duty circuits (less than one amp each) or control high-amperage circuits with a Blue Sea Systems Remote Battery Switch (sold separately).
Additional sensors are sold separately, and currently let you monitor and control shore power, DC accessories or the temperature of a cabin, engine room, fridge or bait locker. Connect any (normally open) float switch or high-water sensor, and get notice of high water in the bilge. Monitor your engine's hours and receive service reminders, plus get alerts remotely if your battery voltage exceeds or drops below a preset level so you'll never have to worry about a dead battery again.
There is a subscription required for Siren's system. Their Service plan requires activation directly on www.SirenMarine.com after your MTC Device is installed. Annual Service Plan: $180.00; Monthly Service Plan: $17.97; Seasonal Service Plan: $125.00.