PALM BEACH 2014 VIDEO: Canadian company unveils boat-monitoring system

Posted on Written by Chris Landry
Dave Laska (left), of BoatLink+, explains the boat-monitoring system, which has smartphone alarm capability, to Power & Motoryacht editor-in-chief Jason Wood.

Dave Laska (left), of BoatLink+, explains the boat-monitoring system, which has smartphone alarm capability, to Power & Motoryacht editor-in-chief Jason Wood.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Canadian company that monitors ATM machines and heavy machinery launched a boat-monitoring system with smartphone alarm capabilities.

The product launch of BoatLink+, which is owned by the DPL Group in New Brunswick, was made at the Palm Beach International Boat Show.

“The system will tell boat owners if something goes wrong in four key areas,” BoatLink+ CEO Jayne DeMerchant said. “We wanted to give boaters some peace of mind while their boats are in the water.”

Owners will receive alerts if the high-water alarm in the bilge is activated, if DC battery voltage is low, if an armed cabin door has been opened and if AC power is failing to function.

“It’s a smartphone-, tablet-based software and the application is free,” said Dave Laska, a 35-year marine electronics veteran BoatLink+ hired to prepare the product for the marine market.

The product is $749, with a $10-a-month (or $120 prepaid per year) subscription fee. “We wanted to cover the basic four parameters to be monitored on a boat — the bread-and-butter items that boaters worry about the most — instead of trying to do everything for everybody,” said Laska, who also will function as the North American online distributor for the product.

Laska is co-owner of L&L Electronics in Branford, Conn., and is an occasional contributor to Soundings.

The company held a press event at the Pistache French Bistro in West Palm Beach on Thursday. About 14 journalists attended. “You can monitor five boats with one application,” Laska said. “The alarms are delivered by email or text and can be delivered to up to 10 users.”

The company offers a 2-year parts-and-labor warranty and round-the-clock live tech support.

The company, based in New Brunswick and founded in 1974, has 25 employees and operates from a 45,000-square-foot facility, DeMerchant said.

“We’ve been in the wireless and cellular communications monitoring business for the past 10 years,” she said. “Anything that is an asset we are there to monitor — that’s what we do.”

The company provides monitoring for 22,000 ATM machines in the United States and Canada and 10,000 heavy machinery vehicles or products, she said.

One of the company’s four owners experienced a sinking about three years ago that prompted the creation of BoatLink+, DeMerchant said. Owner Brian Steeves’ 32-foot powerboat sank, DeMerchant said. “The bilge pump went out, the boat sank and it was a total loss. The owner said to himself, ‘This could have been avoided with the right monitoring and alarm system.’ ”

The company hired a marketing company to conduct research to help it develop a product and brought in Laska for technical assistance and industry knowledge. (Marine industry public relations consultant Jock West brought Laska and the Canadian company together.)

The company completed its research at last year’s International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference.

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