Why should I buy Siren Marine over other boat monitoring systems?
Siren Marine products offer the most functionality at the best price of any boat monitoring system on the market. Our products are designed by boaters specifically for the marine environment, and were born at sea to address the real problems that you face on the water. Not only can you monitor the vital systems on your boat from anywhere at anytime, but with two way switching you can have control beyond the harbor. Unlike most of the competition, you can control accessories on and off on your boat with a simple text message, and manage your vessel from any location.
What is your customer support?
We take pride in our customer service, and are standing by to answer any questions or requests. Our normal office hours our 8AM to 6:30 PM Monday through Friday, where we can be reached by phone or email. Have a question outside of normal hours? Send us an email or phone call and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.
What are your warranty options?
Our Products are backed by a one year warranty if purchased through our website and self-installed, with an extra two year warranty sold separately. Customers who have one of our boat monitoring systems installed through our authorized installer network receive a 2-year warranty.
Why use GSM as the platform and not Satellite
a. The benefits to GSM over Satellite come down to three main advantages, battery draw, weather interference, and cost.
b. Battery Draw: Satellite platforms have a significantly higher battery draw both while the boat monitoring system is in use, and also while it is dormant. Our units draw on average between 10 and 50 mA. As a Boat’s battery is the heart of vessel, the intention of our product is monitor it and keep it running, not drain it down. Our unit draws about 1/10th to 1/15th of the power of other strictly satellite based monitoring systems.
c. Weather interference: Strictly Satellite systems require a clear unobstructed view of the sky to obtain a GPS signal and report accurate information. A cellular platform is less affected by weather or building obstruction. In addition, the Geo-fence on a Cellular platform is more accurate than on Satellite, which is evident in the disparity between the acceptable distance for some of the Satellite monitor’ Geo-Fences (200 – 500 meters) versus our own (25 meters).
d. Cost: Our device was designed to deliver the functionality boaters want, at a cost that they can afford. With cellular as the platform, we can deliver one of if not the most competitive unlimited messaging plans in the industry, not possible with Satellite.
Can I install it myself?
Yes. We describe our unit as a DIY project, and roughly 30% of our current customers are DIY installers. If you are comfortable installing other electronics like a bilge pump system, navigation instruments, or UHF radio, than you can navigate the installation.
Will I qualify for an insurance break if I install a Siren Marine unit?
Yes. We have gotten reports back from almost all of our customers that they have received a break between 3-15% on their insurance after they installed our device. Call your insurance broker to inquire. We are also working with several major insurance brokers and providers to insure better premium discounts in the future. Let us know who your broker is, and we’ll help insure that you get the best insurance break possible.
Can my Siren Marine unit be transferred to another owner if I sell my boat?
Yes. Simply discontinue service and provide the new owner with your Siren Marine unit’s password, SIM number, and Serial number. Once they are ready to activate they can call us or activate online.
What else will it monitor?
Our devices have been designed by boaters, for boaters and we know that every boat is unique. We have built our device to be an ‘open platform’ that can be connected to existing sensors and switches, like your bilge pump float switch or the run light on your circuit breaker to monitor when and for how long your bilge pump or high water sensor is running. Additionally, it can monitor motion detectors, smoke alarms, temperature and just about any other ‘off the shelf’ contact closure sensor available.
Does Siren Marine use my boat’s GPS?
No. Our device has its own high-gain, low power drain GPS. You can shut off all of your onboard equipment and our device keeps on monitoring your location, 24/7.
How do I measure run time alerts?
a. Another great feature of our Siren products is the ability to measure run-time of a switch; like your engine oil pressure sensor or your bilge pump float-switch. Another common problem in boats is a faulty or stuck float switch. With Siren’s electronic bilge level monitoring circuitry, you’ll never have to worry about this. However, you can connect the brown and white wires from the unit’s cable to the panel light or float-switch to your bilge pump using a 12v pigtail and measure the run-time. You can set the device to start timing every time the pump is turned on. If it runs for more than say, 3 minutes, you get a ‘bilge pump over-run alert’.
b. Why is this useful and important? Lets say that you boat is safely tied to the dock or mooring, and a large vessel passes by throwing off a big wake. You boat rocks around and the float switch flips on from residual water in the bilge and gets stuck in the on position. Your bilge pump is running and yet there is no water in the bilge. Two things will certainly result: your batteries are going to run flat, and if they run long enough, your bilge pump is going to burn out. Fortunately, Siren would also let you know when your batteries got low, but with this additional monitoring circuit, you’ll know you have a problem before it gets serious.
c. Another worse case scenario can be equally costly. This time you actually have a leak and are taking on water, but your bilge pump is keeping up. Your bilge pump is going to pump out the water until it wears down the battery and eventually stops. At this point, you have two serious problems, and not a lot of time to respond: a sinking boat (-or- a serious leak) and a dead battery. With Siren onboard, you could avoid catastrophe.
If my boat battery dies, will my Siren Marine unit continue to transmit messages?
Yes. Each Siren Marine unit comes with a lithium ion reserve back-up battery. In the event your main battery dies, your Siren Marine unit will continue to monitor the vital systems on your boat, and send and receive messages for additional time independent of the main battery.
What is a Geo-fencing, and how does it improve my tracking ability?
a. Think of a Geo-fence as an invisible circular perimeter surrounding your boat. In the event that your boat moves outside that perimeter, the Geo-Fence is tripped and your Siren Marine unit begins transmitting course, speed and position to you.
b. Not only will you know within seconds if your boat begins moving outside that fence, but with unlimited messaging, you can track your boat remotely through your phone through a transgression report. Receive a new position as frequently as every minute, without ever needing to worry about overage charges (Unlimited Messaging and Events). Our Geo-Fence is customizable, and can be as close as 25 meters.
Will it monitor my bilge?
a. Protecting against water intrusion into your boat is one of the most common problems and potentially the most catastrophic events that Siren helps you mitigate. You can monitor your bilge and bilge pump through connecting the unit to your existing bilge float switch or bilge pump panel light using one of our 12v pigtails. When the float-switch activates from high water, Siren also receives the signal and sends you the alert. Just be sure that you use a 12v pigtail whenever you are monitoring a 12v circuit.
b. Another way you can monitor bilge activity is through using our devices’ existing sensor. Our two wire electronic water sensor is one of the ways we help you monitor water level. Our unit is one of the only units available to utilize electronic saltwater sensing with no moving parts!
Will my Siren Marine unit monitor shore power connection?
Yes, both our Pixie and Sprite allow you to monitor shore power connection. A shore power sensor is included in the Sprite package, and is sold separately on our shopping cart for use with the Pixie.
If my boat is stolen and goes off-shore, will I be able to track it?
Our high gain GPS will allow you to track your boat up to 10 to 15 miles off-shore. In the event that your boat gets beyond that range, messages will be cached until your boat gets back within cell range. Even a stolen boat needs to come back ashore. Siren Marine will start transmitting messages again when it does.
Service Plan Questions
Will it work with my cell phone?
Yes! Our device will work with any cell phone with text messaging. All of our commands and alerts utilize simple and intuitive SMS messages that are easy to remember and use (E.G. text POS for position, GETSIG for get signal strength). For Smartphone users, we have created mobile applications that make communicating with a unit easier, but no functionality is lost through using a standard phone.
Do I need to switch service providers?
No, our device has its own built in cellular module and US sourced SIM card, and can communicate reports and alerts to your phone regardless of the carrier you use. Think of our device as a Smartphone for your boat. In the same way that a phone from one service provider sends messages to another without requiring both to be on the same provider, our Siren unit will communicate messages to phones on any cellular network.
Does a Siren Marine Unit require a Service Plan?
a. Yes. If you are in the US, then our service plan is required, and our product works optimally with the SIM card already installed in the device. We have gone through multiple rounds of negotiation to get one of, if not the most, competitively priced unlimited service plans on the market. In addition, our carrier is actively building out their 2G GSM network, and already has the best coverage in the country.
b. Plan on going outside of the country? Your Siren Marine unit continues to work in one of two ways. Either keep our existing SIM card in the unit, and it will continue to function (Roaming rates will apply) or swap our SIM for a local pay as you go or prepaid GSM SIM Card. We specifically chose GSM as our platform as it is the most prolific worldwide cellular network available. We have customers using local GSM pay as you go cards in the UK, Sweden, The Caribbean, Turkey, Greece, The Middle East and more.
How much is annual and monthly service?
We have worked hard to keep your cost as low as possible. With our cellular agreements, we are proud to offer UNLIMITED MESSAGING with our service subscription. We have a yearly plan for only $180 per year, and a monthly plan of $17.97 if you want to suspend service during layout periods. We find that many customers continue service year round even after hauling their boat for the winter. Freezing levels and shore power disconnection can cause serious problems during the winter, and should still be monitored.
Are there disconnect or reconnect fees?
Through going month to month, you can suspend service for the season and experience NO disconnect fee. There is a reconnect fee of only $11 when you activate service again at the beginning of the boating season. If you do plan on disconnecting service, contractually we can only disconnect your line once a year each year.
How strong is US Coverage?
We have partnered with T-Mobile to provide the best mobile-to-mobile coverage available in North America! T-Mobile is actively growing their 2G GSM network to cover all of the coastal and inshore lakes seamlessly. We are confident that you cannot get better cellular coverage for any mobile monitor available.
I don’t have cell phone reception at my dock, will my Siren Marine unit work in my area?
SMS messages require a much smaller bit rate than phone calls, so even in areas where you are unable to send or receive a call, text messages will typically get through. Unsure whether your area is covered? We can lookup 2G coverage of a specific location at any time.
Will Siren Marine work anywhere in the world?
Siren Marine units operate on the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) network, the most prolific worldwide cellular platform available. Plan on taking your boat out of the country? Simply remove our SIM card dedicated for use within the United States and insert a local pay as you go or prepaid GSM SIM card. Switching out a SIM card is simple to do, and can be done quite quickly.
Where should I mount the device?
a. When choosing a location to mount your unit, keep a few things in mind. The unit must be mounted in a vertical orientation. A slight tilt, up to about 25 degrees, with the face of the unit towards the sky is acceptable for the GPS antenna to acquire properly.
b. The included mounting bracket can be bent to accommodate mounting. Bend slowly and carefully to avoid cracking the aluminum. Replacement brackets can be purchased from your local dealer at a nominal price if the bracket is broken during installation.
c. Before you attach the unit, make sure the SIM is activated, and the LED lights are on. Temporarily place the unit in the intended mounting area. Send the unit the GETSIG command and check the signal strength. If you have acceptable GPS and GSM signal, your location is suitable for permanent installation. The device is water and vibration resistant, however, the better the environment for an electronic device the better it will work.
Are there external antennas?
No, all of the antennae in our devices are built into the device. Our device uses leading Swiss made high gain antennae and components, and can be mounted in a number of discrete locations yet still get great reception.
Can I use wireless sensors, or are the sensors hardwired?
a.We specifically went with hardwired sensors for two reasons; the cost to the consumer and battery draw. Unlike some competitors who require you to purchase their proprietary devices, our system is designed to work with your existing equipment. If you don’t have any sensors on our boat, accessories are available through our online store (motion detectors, reed switch, etc) that we have tested and sourced ourselves. These accessories are easily configured, and can be found in many electronics stores or online. Using easy to find accessories is both easier for the consumer, and less work if you already have system you would like to incorporate with our device.
b. Secondly hardwired sensors are beneficial because they do not require batteries to be changed, and have a lower battery draw. Wireless sensors running on their own independent batteries will need to have their internal batteries changed at some point after going dead, and also increase total battery draw of the monitoring system.
How tightly can I set the geo-fence?
The geo-fence is customizable, and can be set down to 25 meters. Setting the geo-fence tighter than 25 meters means you may get some false readings due to atmospheric interference, and is not recommended.