A new service called Nautic-On provides connectivity that keeps a boat owner apprised of his vessel’s location and systems remotely and adds a level of coverage by also keeping the service provider connected to the boat as well.
“We’re using technology to increase accessibility to boating,” said Lou Sandoval, director of business development for Nautic-On, which is owned by Brunswick Corporation. “Our product is connecting the boaters to the service environment so we’re allowing people who help manage their boat also have a view. It all leads back to how we improve the customer experience for boaters.”
Like smart homes that let you check on the thermostat and kitchen appliances, Nautic-On creates a smart boat with a centrally installed hub and remote sensors for the engine, batteries and bilge pump. It’s intended for boats 20 to 40 feet long that are kept in marinas.
The system was first introduced at the Sea Ray Yachts event last December, and then at the Chicago Boat Show in January. The full product launch is taking place today at the Progressive Miami International Boat Show.
“Our customers told us they want to maximize their time on the water and that’s what we’re solving for,” said Adam Schanfield, general manager of Nautic-On. “Boaters are worried about their boat when they’re not there. We know that it takes too long to get boats back on the water.”
He explained that one of the biggest advantages of Nautic-On is that it streamlines the diagnostic process. Instead of a boat owner getting an alert about a problem that’s already happened and then calling his dealer to have a technician go check out the issue, Nautic-On is optimized for diagnostics to spot potential problems before they cause a breakdown, which results in time lost on the water.
“The industry is facing a shortage of skilled labor and a rapid introduction of new technology on boats,” said Sandoval, a former marine dealer who explained that diagnosing problems is one of the most labor-intensive parts of servicing a boat.
Explaining how Nautic-On is optimized for diagnostics, Schanfield said that while many systems monitor battery voltage, Nautic-On’s battery sensor keeps an eye on a battery’s or batteries’ voltage, electrical current and temperatures. “We can tell you when your battery is getting low and should think about replacing it,” he said.
It’s the same for bilge pumps. The system monitors the water level, but it also looks at the voltage levels of the pumps and can detect when a bilge pump is nearing the end of its life.
The engine sensor connects via a Mercury SmartCraft CAN Bus system or any NMEA 2000 compliant equivalent. It communicates wirelessly with the hub that can be mounted in a console, cabin or even the engine compartment. The data is sent up to the cloud where the boat owner can get alerts on a smart phone and the service provider has access through a dedicated portal. The NMEA 2000 compliance is critical because it means Nautic-On can be used to monitor virtually any engine, not just Mercury or MerCruiser products.
Additionally, through GPS tracking, an owner will receive an alert if the boat unexpectedly changes position, as in either it breaks off a mooring or someone attempts to steal it.
When asked if there was a chance of providing a boater with too much information by overloading him or her with alerts, Schanfield said, “We’re very concerned about over-alerting people so we’re trying to set the alerts appropriately.”
Three boats at the Miami show will be equipped with Nautic-On, a Boston Whaler 270 Dauntless, a Nor-Tech 390 and a Yellowfin 39 Offshore.
The starting price for Nautic-On is $600 for the basic hardware and from there sensors can be added. The subscription is $149 for boaters who are on the water year-round and $99 for a seasonal pass.