Mon, 21 March 2016
With the advent of GPS monitoring, checking the position of a vessel at anchor has become routine and whilst two new devices on the market will constantly monitor the position for anchor dragging they do a great deal more. Both of these new devices are full scale monitoring systems that can be used both at anchor and alongside to improve security.
Both the Slovenian f-Anchor and the Swedish C-Pod are designed for remote monitoring and they do this through a GSM link, which is through a mobile phone connection. They can also connect to an onboard or remote chart plotter which allows you to monitor a variety of parameters when you are on board. For anchoring they start their reference by plotting the precise position in which the anchor has been dropped and the f-Anchor can even count the amount of anchor chain that has been paid out. This allows the system to monitor the position when the vessel swings in relation to the anchor which can give early warning of dragging.
A variety of alarms can be connected into the systems so that most of the vessel can be monitored when it is not manned. Water in the bilges is a primary alarm as is a burglar alarm that connects when alarmed doors and windows are tampered with. Motion sensors can warn of changes in the sea state and wind speed can be monitored with alarms reset to give early warnings. Smoke alarms and dangerous gases allow the situation on board to be monitored closely.
With the GSM connection the units can be programmed to call several specific numbers in the event of an alarm being triggered plus alarms can be programmed to sound on board. In addition to alarms the GSM link can be used to switch on a deck light at night when crew are returning to the vessel and this switching ability can be used to operate any electrical switch on board at user selection such as turning on a heater or fridge.
The C-Pod unit operates through an App on the phone or on a tablet and is offered with free support and software upgrades. For fleet operators it can be used to monitor several vessels at the same time. The f-Anchor can connect through existing data links such as Seatalk and NMEA with the GSM connection being the primary link to the shore.
Both units have been primarily designed to monitor vessels when they are unmanned, either when at anchor or when alongside. They provide an extra level of security with the phone connection not only indicating alarms but allowing initiating action to sort out the problem.
Source: Dag Pike