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The Siren Marine Blog Posts Category. Boat ownership as it should be.

The Insurance Benefits of Siren Marine

The Insurance Benefits of Siren Marine

One of the most frequently asked questions we hear is, “Can I get an insurance discount with your system?” The short answer is that it varies, but in most cases Siren Marine customers are eligible for discounts anywhere from 4% to 10%. We are actively in contact with insurance companies in an effort to expand the number of providers that offer discounts for remote monitoring systems, and help them better understand the risk mitigation a boat monitor provides.

Each year, thousands of insurance claims are made for items stolen from boats and for boats that have sunk or been damaged, that could have been easily avoided with the installation of a boat monitoring system. The Q&A below provides answers to questions that insurance companies most frequently ask about boat monitoring systems.

Why should boats have a monitor or security device?

  1. Monitor critical systems: A basic boat monitor will keep watch on a boat’s critical 
systems, 24/7: Bilge, Battery, Position and Security.
  2. Low or dead battery alert: A dead battery is at the heart of a significant number of major insurance claims. A dead battery will not allow a boat to be started, or the bilge pump and other vital systems to be operated in the event of an emergency.
  3. Prevent boats from damage and sinking: A bilge alarm alerts the owner that a boat is leaking. A flooding bilge causes major structural damage, frequently resulting in a total loss.
  4. Position Alert: Knowledge of a boat’s position alerts an owner to a dragging anchor – potential for all manner of damage or total loss. Knowledge of a stolen boat allows for rapid intervention and recovery. Knowledge of a charter boat in a “no-go zone” allows the charter company to mitigate claims due to charter agreement breach.
  5. Security: With expensive electronics now common on the average 25’ boat, and with boat-related theft on the rise, security is becoming a primary concern. A quality boat monitoring system will alert the owner and the authorities to a potential theft, or trigger alarm systems to prevent theft in the first place.
  6. It will become the standard: Just as electronic door locks and basic security systems are now standard on new cars, the dawn of boat monitoring is here, and it is here to stay. A boat monitoring system provides boat owners with peace of mind, maximizing the value of time on the water.

What size boat should have a monitor?

  1. With reliable monitors now available for around $500, any boat with an outboard motor and permanent battery will benefit from a monitor, at an affordable price tag. Small boats are as susceptible to theft, sinking and dead batteries as larger boats, if not more so. No one wants to arrive at their boat for a fun day on the water with friends to find a dead battery or flooded boat. Or worse, no boat at all…
  2. Many mid-sized boats are left unattended on moorings or docks for weeks at a time. According to the USCG, 80% of all sinkings happen where the boat is permanently moored or docked. Any boat of any size left untended should have a monitor.
  3. As boats increase in size and complexity, the value of having a monitor goes up exponentially. Larger boats are plugged into shore power and are frequently left for days or weeks at a time with systems running. A boat monitor will alert the owner and marina operator about a loss of power, avoiding a refrigerator full of spoiled food or a bait locker with 100 pounds of rotten fish.

What type of carrier: Satellite, Wi-Fi or Cellular?

Understanding the mission of a monitoring device is critical to determining the best method of communication to use. To provide maximum benefit to the consumer and the insurance underwriter alike, the system needs to be reliable, affordable, operate around the clock, and work internationally. Options include Satellite, Wi-Fi and Cellular.

  1. Satellite – Commonly misunderstood as the communication standard of choice, the benefit of satellite is that it works in remote regions and far offshore where other systems do not reach. Unfortunately, that is the sole benefit. Satellite uses significantly higher battery consumption, has much higher communications costs, lacks basic monitoring functionality, and is only optimal for far-reach applications.
  2. Wi-Fi – The connectivity of Wi-Fi is simply not stable enough for a security device. Also, if a boat is stolen, as soon as it leaves the Wi-Fi range, all monitoring and tracking ceases. Logging into a router presents hardware challenges, with router lockup being a constant issue. If the router goes down, is unplugged by mistake, or if a shore power breaker trips, all goes dark. Wi-Fi is simply not an option.
  3. Cellular – The only true option:
    1. GSM cellular connectivity is a true global standard.
    2. GSM cellular devices roam seamlessly, with excellent coastal coverage in nearly every populated port and coastline on the planet.
    3. Cellular technology is extremely stable.
    4. Cellular modules are affordable and draw very little power. If a boat with a GSM based system is stolen, the theft event will be captured and communicated, tracking the vessel up to 30 miles offshore. International jurisdiction limits offshore recovery. When the boat resurfaces in a foreign port, GSM cellular connectivity resumes and the vessel can be located and recovered. GSM is the ultimate solution.

How can boat monitoring systems mitigate insurance payouts?

  1. A small hidden or integrated monitor system will alert owners to theft, potentially damaging or catastrophic events, and aid in the rapid recovery of stolen property.
  2. Modern marine monitors draw very little amperage, allowing them to be installed on smaller vessels (25-40’). These small open boats are generally the most at risk and represent the largest category of boats by a significant factor. They generally receive the most use, are large investments relative to the net worth of their owners, and are a source of continual claims for insurance underwriters. A decrease in small boat incidents, sinkings and theft is a direct increase in profitability for insurance underwriters.
  3. Small cellular-based monitor devices can be installed in difficult-to-access “secure” sections of the boat, making them difficult to locate and destroy or take offline.

Conclusions

  1. Remote monitoring systems are here to stay.
  2. Any marine asset with a battery and motor left unattended merits a monitor.
  3. The cost of a boat monitor is now within reach of the average boater.
  4. GSM cellular connectivity is the only valid communication technology.
  5. As boat monitors proliferate, insurance underwriters will enjoy fewer claims and increased profits.

It is our mission to create a world in which all boats are equipped with a remote monitoring device. We envision a marine environment in which costs are mitigated for both customers and insurance providers alike. For more information on how Siren Marine systems can help reduce insurance claims and damage to property, please contact info@sirenmarine.com or visit our website at www.sirenmarine.com.

An Epiphany

On a recent trip to New York I had an epiphany. As I walked down the aisle of the Amtrak Regional 163, I noticed that every single person on the train – young or old, professional or student, seemingly rich or poor – was watching, working on, listening to, or otherwise engaged with a smartphone, computer, or tablet. The vast majority of them had at least two devices visible.

Pictured: literally every single person in the world.

We have reached a point where the connected device has become ubiquitous in the developed world. There are now more mobile phones in existence than there are people on planet Earth. Quite literally, every person in the first world has a mobile phone, tablet, or computer, if not all three. The developing world is not far behind, and a global network that is universally accessible is no longer out of reach.

With the growing adoption of connected technology in all aspects of our lives, it is not unreasonable to think that in the near future, every boat with a battery and an engine will be connected to the internet via a telematics device. Every single one of them. Given the nature of boats, and the harsh environment in which they live, at a minimum, every boat owner will want to know that the boat is where it should be, the battery is okay, and that it is not taking on water.

Looking ahead, boat monitoring will no longer be reserved for luxury boats. With affordable and easy-to-install products from Siren Marine, any size boat will benefit from a boat monitoring and tracking system. Even a typical “working man’s” boat is not an inexpensive asset, and in many cases represents a larger percentage of the owner’s net worth than high-end boats.

As connecting devices to the global network becomes status quo, Siren will constantly strive to provide intuitive, affordable Connected Boat solutions; with options becoming ever more reliable, inexpensive, and easy to install. Connected technology has become accessible to everyone, and quality monitoring products will be available to all boaters.

The dream of building a company that develops and sells an “insanely great” Connected Boat product has morphed into becoming an insanely great company with the vision to see a world in which all boats with a battery and an engine are connected.

I call it “The Connected Boat Revolution”.

See you on the water!

Dan

Siren Marine Unveils New Products and Announces $3MM Series A Funding Round at NYYC Event

On March 22, 2017, Siren Marine officially unveiled its next-generation boat monitoring and tracking system – the MTC – at a special “Launch Party” at the New York Yacht Club in Newport.

At the same event, Siren Marine announced a $3 million Series A Funding Round, which will raise money to support the company’s long-term growth plans.

Along with the senior development team and global telecommunications partner, Vodafone, Siren Marine’s Executive Team unveiled and demonstrated its new MTC boat monitoring device to a group of long-time customers, suppliers and investors.

“The ‘Launch Party’ allowed us to showcase and celebrate the tremendous effort the entire Siren Marine Team has made to bring the latest ‘Connected Boat’ technology to market,” commented Dan Harper, Siren Marine CEO and Founder. “We were excited to share this momentous occasion with our loyal supporters and investors. Bringing a new technology and product to market is a herculean effort, and I would like to thank the entire Siren Marine team for its hard work, commitment and support.”

“The future looks bright for Siren Marine. We have the right people, technology, and distribution partners in place to take the company to the next level. With over 36 million boats worldwide, the potential market opportunity is enormous. Now that we’re on track to launch our new products, the Series A Round will give us the necessary funding to fuel our growth and further strengthen our leadership position. All of our existing investors are Siren Marine customers, which is the best testimonial you can ask for,” said Harper.

If you’re interested in learning more about Siren Marine’s MTC and would like to become part of the “Connected Boat” revolution, please contact Dan Harper at daniel@sirenmarine.com or Jonathan Banks at jbanks@sirenmarine.com.

Sitting Down With Siren’s #1 Fan

Sitting Down With Siren’s #1 Fan

To hear Ethan Dow’s description of his fascination with the inner workings of boats is an experience in and of itself. Ethan is, in his own words, completely addicted to marine electronics.

“I always was an early adopter of anything that had wires or plugs in it. I don’t care what it is – that became my passion.”

With an impressive sailing career already under his belt, Ethan set his sights on a new challenge. Ethan had employed early generation plotting software while sailing, but it was his introduction to power boating, and subsequently fishing, that opened Ethan’s eyes to a whole new world of electronics. He has never looked back.

Ethan takes his electronics seriously.

“The first thing I got was a Tuna – and that was it for me, the bug was planted. So along with the transition from sailing to
fishing comes a whole new aspect of marine electronics. Now I want to know what’s under me, what’s going on around me. So now I need the best sounder on earth. And then I needed more, more MFD’s [Multi-Function Displays]. And then NMEA 2000 came along and suddenly all the electronics were speaking the same language.”

You can hear the wonderment in his voice, and see it in his eyes. This is a man who lives and breathes electronics, who understands how they work at their very core – and Siren is at the top of his list.

“I searched and searched, and I think it was Ben [Ellison] who introduced me, through Panbo, to Siren Marine. The minute that came out I had to have it. I had to protect my investment. Once I got that…it gave me the same serenity that I received when I first got GPS – the same serenity that I need knowing that my boat is protected. I know where it is, what it’s doing, how it’s feeling, if anybody is stepping aboard.”

There is no doubt in Ethan’s mind of the quality of Siren’s product, and he makes it known to everyone that will listen.

“When somebody makes a nice product, I tell them about that on the web. Everybody is always asking, so I’m always going to pump up a good product. It really is something.”

“What sets Siren apart? As we know, other systems are exorbitantly expensive. Less value, fewer inputs, they’re just…antiquated. Siren nailed it the first time, and I knew you had something good. So I told my friends and they told their friends, and onward it goes. I’m just absolutely thrilled about your new module. The other companies don’t deserve to be there. They didn’t stick their necks out, put their back into it, their investment into it…their hearts into it. No one had the thought, the technology, the foresight that Siren has. There is nothing better out there. There really isn’t. And it will be really hard to beat.”

High praise from a true connoisseur, and Ethan claims to have good reason for his commitment to Siren.

“It saved my life.”

Ethan’s boat, “Fissues”

“I was out at 3 am, headed towards the fishing grounds, and it was blowing hard. Had to have been 10 foot seas, and my boat handles it fine, does wonderfully. I heard this…this racket on the radio, and realized ‘Jesus, it’s a mayday.’ So I get his position, and the Coast Guard was closer, but I think, ‘Wow, this guy is in trouble!’ I can hear him on the radio, and I’m thinking, ‘Geez, what’s all the racket about? And then I hear his alarm going off!'”

“But then I realized that he had keyed off his radio already. I looked down, and it was my phone. My phone telling me the bilge was going off. It wasn’t his alarm, it was mine. So I go down below, and the seawater hose– it’s a two-and-a-half inch hose– was firehosing and filling the boat. And the only reason I was saved was because of Siren Marine. It saved my life, right then and there.”

“So then I put in a high water alarm,” Ethan says with a smile.

Ethan has retired from competitive sailing, and from electronics installation. He works as a residential contractor on the North Shore of Boston, working his magic on old colonial homes up and down the coast. But he lives to be on the water, and Siren Marine keeps him afloat.

If you’re ever lucky enough to run into him at Finz in Salem, maybe you can hear one of his stories for yourself.

The Power of Knowing – Part I

Is your boat secure? Is your anchor dragging? Is there water in the bilge? Has someone boarded your boat without your knowledge? These are just some questions at the back of every boater’s mind. But perhaps the most important question– the one that brings all others under its umbrella– is: are you sure your boat is okay? With a Siren Marine Connected Boat™ device, you can be. This series will explore the Power of Knowing, and the confidence, peace of mind, and overall better boating experience that Siren Marine provides. First up, one of the most common problems all boaters face: anchor drag.

A dragging anchor is something that most boaters have experienced at some point in time. The results can range from mild inconvenience to multi-boat damage, expense, and insurance claims. A dragging anchor is sometimes unavoidable and evidence of the event is often impossible to provide. The power of knowing changes that, allowing users to avoid damage and plot a picture of how events unfold. Last summer, I experienced this first hand.

During a rare break from manning my desk at Siren, I was able to sneak away to Nantucket on my Swan 42, CORBAN for a few days. Anyone who is familiar with the island knows that the harbor is jam packed throughout the summer, and dockage is near impossible to come by. This left me in the unenviable position of leaving CORBAN anchored in the channel, where the current is known to rip at 3-4 knots at max ebb and flood. My Siren Marine Sprite was reporting my position every hour, and I was confident that my anchor was holding firm.

After a couple days at anchor, I received a call from the Harbormaster that CORBAN had become entangled with another vessel. In a classic case seen in many anchorages, the circumstances of how the two boats came together were murky. Both the Harbormaster and the other boat were under the impression that my anchor might have dragged, but I was able to
provide concret evidence that my boat had, in fact, not moved and had been in the same place for a number of days. Fortunately there was no damage, but had any occurred, I could have easily cleared myself of any fault and avoided a potential costly insurance claim.

The moral of the story is that Siren Marine provides you with real security. Anyone who cruises knows the endless uncertainty of leaving your boat on an anchor. Siren erases speculation and replaces it with certainty. There are countless other examples– I spent a night aboard CORBAN during Tropical Storm Hermine, and settled in with gale-force winds battering the hull. I slept soundly through the night – knowing that my phone would alert me to any changes in my position – and awoke to find CORBAN lying exactly where she should be. Now that is what I call peace of mind.

2017 – The Year of the Connected Boat

Looking back, I can’t believe that it was more than 5 years ago that we received the first commercial-ready shipment of 500 Pixies and Sprites. That was a very special day. We stacked the boxes to the ceiling in our small office and opened a bottle of champagne to celebrate. After years of planning and testing, it was finally happening, and we were going for it. Siren Marine quickly became the de facto standard for boat monitors and the Pixie and Sprite picked up numerous industry accolades.

Fast forward five years, and we are on the cusp of the next major breakthrough in boat monitoring, tracking and security systems. As we near the completion of our brand new next-generation device and platform, which will support wireless sensors and NMEA 2000 connectivity, plus many new enhancements; there is the anticipation and excitement of something completely new, the result of a massive amount of time, effort, engineering, investment, design and planning.

In addition to our new products and technology, the company has been preparing for a season of aggressive growth. We have added additional members to our team, our wonderful Third Street office space in Newport, RI continues to expand. We have just come off of one of our most successful boat show seasons to date, including our premier appearance at the Marine Equipment Trade Show (METS) in Amsterdam, the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show, and the recently completed Miami International Boat Show.

Siren Marine has signed a direct agreement with one of the world’s largest cellular providers – Vodafone. This privilege is generally reserved exclusively for companies much larger than Siren. Our connectivity and services will be better and stronger than ever. We were recently awarded an Innovation Grant from the State of Rhode Island for continued development in collaboration with the New England Institute of Technology (NEIT), and we closed a $1.5M Seed-Round capital raise that helped to fund recent product development and expansion. You may have noticed our new look and branding, which we feel better reflects our innovative technology. Although we are a little nostalgic to bid farewell to our beloved mermaid, we are thrilled to usher in our exciting brand update.

It has been an incredible journey, and our very best days are just ahead, as is our very best technology and products. The dedication, support and confidence of our fantastic customer base, investors and incredible Siren Marine Team have made it all possible. Our achievements wouldn’t have happened without you all, and I’d like to express my deepest gratitude. 2017 will be the Year of the Connected Boat, the Year of Siren. Thank you.

Dan Harper

Founder & CEO

The 2G Shutoff and What it Means to You

2G cellular service is on its way out the door. Effective December 31st, AT&T shut down its 2G network, rendering all devices using its 2G SIM essentially useless. T-Mobile has committed to supporting its 2G network through 2020, but the landscape of cellular connectivity is changing rapidly. What does this mean for Siren Marine and its users?

In the short term, the good news is that the Siren Marine Pixie and Sprite both use T-Mobile’s 2G network and can expect continued cellular connection for the foreseeable future. Customers should be aware that occasional service disruptions and blackouts may occur, and there may be coverage issues in certain areas. For some of our earlier customers that purchased their own SIM card, we recommend contacting Siren Marine customer service at (401) 619-4774 or at support@sirenmarine.com to discuss options available to you.

Siren Marine has been anticipating the impending 2G shutdown and has been hard at work developing our next-generation Connected-Boat products, which will be launched in April. The new MTC Series runs on existing 3G cellular networks, and will be upgraded to 4G once the hardware and technology is available. For the best coverage and uninterrupted service, Siren recommends that existing customers upgrade to our new 3G hardware as soon as it’s available. To make the transition as smooth and painless as possible, we will be offering attractive incentives to upgrade (more details to follow shortly).

The Connected Boat: What It Is and Why It’s Changing the Game

the Connected Boat

the Connected Boat

It’s early Saturday morning, and you and your spouse have just arrived at the slip of your 36’ Sea Ray. You’ve had a rather hectic week at the office and have been looking forward to a relaxing day on the water. After loading your bags and cooler on board, you check the bilge, flip on the battery, and prepare to cast-off the lines.

You do one final check and all systems are a-go. You turn the key in the ignition, but nothing happens. The battery is dead. Again.

After you and your spouse exchange a few words, you now scramble to find a quick fix. No one is around for a jump start or to install a new battery. Your go-to-guy can’t get there for at least four hours. Your mood and day changes from sunny to salty in a matter of moments.

What if you were connected to your boat and were alerted when the battery voltage was getting low, the shore power was disconnected, or there was water in the bilge? Even better, how would you like to turn on the air conditioning before you arrived at the boat, or get an alert if the boat moved or someone boarded? What if you could literally communicate with your boat?

This is where connected boat technology comes in.

We live in an increasingly connected world where the Internet of Things is now subtly improving our lives in many ways. Simply put, the Internet of Things (IoT) is the networking of sensors and devices that monitor, collect, and exchange data via cloud-based applications using cellular, satellite, and WiFi communications. These data are then leveraged to help people improve situational awareness, access information remotely, make better decisions, and prevent damage or loss.

We experience IoT in our everyday lives whether we realize it or not. We use it in our homes through systems such as Nest that allow us to program and manage room temperature through a mobile app. We wear Fitbit activity trackers on our wrists that provide real-time information on our activity and exercise (and prompt us to get up and walk around a bit more).

It’s deployed in our cars to continually monitor the engine and predictively prompt us to schedule maintenance service. Mechanics at the repair shop tap into our car’s hub to access historical performance data to isolate problems and better determine required repairs. On the road, intelligent traffic systems continually monitor and analyze traffic data, adapting signals and lane use to the traffic flow by time of day, improving our transit time and overall driving experience.

Yet, with our boats, we react to critical events in a prescriptive manner — after the battery dies, after a boat has been breached and/or stolen, after the boat has sunk — often when it’s too late.

Unlike most homes and vehicles, boats live in a far more challenging environment and are, more often than not, left alone. Water intrusion is a constant concern, and many boats have been damaged or lost due to a slow leak that could have been easily fixed if only the boat owner knew about it. A dragging anchor is every boater’s nightmare, especially when no one is on board. The loss of shore power can quickly drain batteries or cause other onboard systems to fail.

Enter the Internet of Things and the Connected Boat revolution.

By connecting these onboard systems to one central hub, boaters can monitor, track, and control their boat’s operating systems while at home, on the road, or on the water with a simple tap on a mobile app. Connected boat technologies continually monitor a boat’s systems and send instant alerts as they happen via mobile and web apps. Boaters can predict and prevent disaster — before the battery dies, as a boat has been breached, or before it sinks.

More so, connected boat technology harnesses historical data from these systems, and helps pinpoint trends and predicts when maintenance is required on equipment and boats alike. The connected boat provides boaters with the peace of mind that all systems are in good working order in real time, and that their boat is safe and secure.

And that’s where Siren Marine comes in.

Designed by boaters, for boaters, Siren Marine’s pioneering connected boat technology was developed by experienced sailors, tested in rigorous environments, and deployed in recreational and commercial boats worldwide. At home or at sea, our connected boat technology provides boaters, marina managers, service providers, and fleet operators with the confidence that a boat’s systems are operational and accessible through real-time monitoring and controls.

Join Siren Marine at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in November, and learn how our next generation of connected boat technology can improve your boating experience and provide you peace of mind.

January Newsletter – the BIG Android Issue

android_robot_vector_SireniaRead the January Newsletter and find out about the release of the ANDROID app, your units Internal Battery, Siren in the Coast Guard Rescue Boat 36500, a great Siren Story and much more!

A Penny For Your Thoughts – Shore Power Monitoring

Or: How to Avoid Food Poisoning Afloat!

Penny 1

Penny on Top

Ok, one of the concerns that most of us share, is the state of the food that we leave in our refrigerator when we leave the boat for a few days. One of the great joys of owning a boat that you can “live-aboard” during summer months or on weekends ‘out of the city’ is that you can pack up and head out to your pied-à-mer with minimal planning or packing. It’s your waterfront second home afloat. 

penny 1

Penny on bottom

But as a boat owner, you also know the issues of life on the mooring or at the dock. And power consumption or continuity is always a concern. Even the best marinas suffer power outages from time to time, or maybe a transient unplugged your power without thinking that your boat was plugged in for a reason, your refrigerator… If the power is out or your refer has stopped when you arrive back at your boat, well, there will likely be no doubt that the food in your fridge is spoiled. Its just a matter of clean up & restocking : (

But…  What if the power was only off for an intermittent period, and you are a weekender or were only gone a few days? Some of your food could have warmed up just enough to spoil, without really going over the edge. An old salt taught me this handy trick many years ago as a way to know if your reefer had gone out intermittently while away from the boat. Cruising in remote destinations with sketchy power made this a very clever trick to know.  Here’s the drill:

Freeze a small container of water just large enough to support a penny when the water has turned to ice. Then, place a penny on top of the ice and return it to the freezer. If your power goes out long enough for the temperature to rise above freezing, then the penny will drop below the surface as the ice melts. If upon returning to your boat and you find the penny below the surface in the container of ice that has turned into water, there isn’t much to discover; the power has gone out, your freezer/refrigerator has warmed up, and your food must be thrown out. However, if the penny is at the bottom of a container of ice, then you know that the temperature warmed up enough for the ice to melt, allowing the penny to drop to the bottom of the jar, and then refreeze once power was restored. Your food may not all have symptoms of spoiling, but, its probably not a good idea to consume it. At least not without a good inspection. If its shellfish, I wouldn’t even consider it.

The essence of the issue is that power outages and low power problems are common in boating life. Most appliances that run off of 12v or 24v DC will not operate if the voltage drops much below the level of a good solid charge.  The systems just ‘kick-out’ if the voltage drops below a certain point at which many other low-draw systems may continue to work normally. The penny in-a-jar trick is a great example of cruising ingenuity and a good test to know if your reefer has stopped working while away. So if you are concerned about power outages while your boat is untended, for the above refrigeration example or any of the other myriad reasons like bilge activity or battery charging, head out and pick up a small spice jar and a penny. Or…  Simply install a Siren Marine Pixie or Sprite and a shore power sensor ; ) You’ll know instantly if there is a power interruption regardless of where you might be or how long you’ll be away, even if power is lost for just a few moments. You can call the dockmaster or a dock buddy and save that ribeye you’ve been thinking about all week for the dock BBQ coming up!

Bon Appétit!

Capt. Dan

you deserve peace of mind