So who is watching your boat and its valuables when you are not aboard? And who is going to shout for help should a break-in, fire, rise in bilge water, loss of dock power or other emergency take place?
One practical answer is the electronic equivalent to a combination onboard pit bull and boat baby sitter. A boat-monitoring and alarm system performs just that task.
All About Security
Security systems may be comprised of a simple door-hatch sensor or an audible siren alarm, or more sophisticated systems can call you on a cell phone or send you a text message when an onboard issue arises. Still others provide you with complete remote monitoring status of your boat.
The online quotient can’t be overlooked. With your computer, iPad or tablet, it’s possible to respond to an alarm notification by checking, verifying status and even acting upon any sensor on board. You can even turn selected sensors on and off. for example, if you receive an activation alarm detecting movements inside your boat — or an advisement that water is being taken on or smoke or fire is sensed — you can notify the harbor patrol, fire department, dockmaster, a commercial boat service or a designated friend or family member to take appropriate action within minutes.
On the other hand, if the alarm reports a loss of shore power, you know to call the marina or to stop by the boat after work to see what’s up.
Power of the Web
Want to take a look in and around your boat at any time of the day to see if all is normal or to check up on junior to be sure he’s not throwing an impromptu party when he’s supposed to be at the library? This can be done with cameras and internet access.
In the event that someone steals your boat, being advised of the theft may not be all that helpful. A fast-moving thief could be halfway to the next county by the time you alert authorities. Not to worry. Many boat-alarm system manufacturers offer a covert GPS-tracking option that will have you viewing a bread-crumb route to exactly where the boat is at all times. This can direct the police to meet the hijackers when they arrive at their destination. This stealthlike GPS-tracking feature also provides a good means for keeping an eye on the whereabouts of your boat when a delivery captain is relocating it to another area.
Keep in mind that boat security systems can be customized and configured in almost any manner to meet your specific needs.
Players in the Game
The following manufacturers all offer boaters excellent choices for boat-monitoring and security systems.
The Scoop: The company offers a broad menu of systems and components for a variety of boat sizes and security situations.
Contact: aqualarm.net; 888-298-6206
Columbia Boat Alarms Inc.
The Scoop: Smaller craft require special consideration, and the Triton Alarm ($399) offers protection that triggers when one of its canvas-snap sensors is tampered with.
Contact: columbiaboatalarms.com; 866-504-4686
The Scoop: It specializes in 24/7 video surveillance both inside and outside your boat. A live demonstration is available on its website, and a starter system goes for $2,220.
Contact: eyeonboard.com; 916-933-3602
Flagship Marine Security Inc.
The Scoop: Product includes a gold support plan, providing a custom wiring schematic and a 24/7 hotline for after-hours and weekend technical support.
Contact: boatalarm.com; 516-487-9650
Global Ocean Security Technologies (GOST)
The Scoop: Its Magellan basic-value pack ($2,300) uses all-wireless sensors to simplify installation. The GOST Immobilizer ($385) renders an engine dead until reactivated.
Contact: gostglobal.com; 954-565-9898
The Scoop: Along with a wide array of components, sensors and tracking equipment, MarineGuard offers boaters four complete packaged alarm systems.
Contact: marineguard.net; 800-648-4301
The Scoop: The new Hug ($449) system is both comprehensive and affordable.
Contact: findmespot.com; 866-651-7768
The Scoop: Its Stryker has a clever sonic-security alarm system that looks like a lunchbox cooler. Hidden inside, however, is a piercing siren that discourages intruders.
Contact: stealarmor.com; 866-424-0575