Boat Fix is a relatively new company that offers round-the-clock vessel monitoring. It will be marketing its products as a business-to-business service. The company says its telematics package, which can be sold as an option to boaters by marinas, boatbuilders and dealers, is designed to monitor fleets of boats.
Using telematics, Boat Fix narrows its focus to accessories that are most likely to have a problem.
“Some alarms are more urgent than others,” Alastair Crawford, Boat Fix CEO, told Trade Only Today. “If your battery is going flat, it’s not an urgent problem, but if your bilge pump is running constantly, that’s a problem.”
Crawford said Boat Fix looks at monitoring from a “practical” basis. “Why would you monitor the hinge on a door? We focus on the three or four things the customer needs,” he says.
Using a telematics transmitter installed on the boat, Boat Fix provides real-time data on the top three components that the company found trigger the most alerts: batteries, bilge pumps and shore power. Other on-board systems are part of the program, including GPS tracking in real time with two years of location data stored.
When an alert goes off, Boat Fix personnel first reach out to the boat owner, who has been alerted to the situation by a smartphone app, followed by a list of provided contacts. Boat Fix also provides weather and tide information and acts as a reference guide for marinas, fuel docks and restaurants, according to a statement.
“We want to take that stress and responsibility from you,” Crawford said. “We’re monitoring it on your behalf.”
Crawford also is CEO of Sea Start, a monitoring and concierge service in the United Kingdom that not only provides monitoring, but also sends a technician to the boat when there’s a problem.
“In the U.K., we send guys out on boats with mechanics up to 10 miles offshore,” Crawford said.
He said that 90 percent of the calls come on weekends, when service facilities are often closed. “We really see that a s problem in the industry,” he said. “It’s a matter of customer service.”
When he brought Boat Fix to the United States about three years ago, Crawford looked at offering service support in addition to monitoring, but that wasn’t viable, given the number of boats here. “We looked at a spot between Palm Beach and Jupiter in Florida, and there’s 40,000 boats there alone,” Crawford said.
Boat Fix is offering monitoring with a third-party service that keeps an eye on a client’s boat.
Initially, the company is focusing on manufacturers, dealerships and repair facilities to offer third-party services. Base price for installing the transmitter is about $139. Three years of monitoring is about $200 with a standard plan for manufacturers that have a certain volume of business.
The telematics box is about half the size of a pack of cigarettes, requires a 12-volt power source and takes about an hour to install. It has a built-in cell phone, GPS antenna and backup battery. It will work through any cell provider worldwide.
In addition to the batteries, bilge pump and shore power, Boat Fix monitors engine hours, how long a boat is stationary and the length of time between cruises. It can monitor the removal of an outboard and, with the GPS tracking, monitor a geofence that with a programmed perimeter.
Crawford said that many clients have asked that the system be installed on tenders and other small boats. “We’re aiming at the volume market,” he said. “We don’t care if it’s a 15-foot Whaler or a jet ski.”