With digital-switching technology for boats, marine accessories connect to a powered control module rather than directly to a conventional switch. The module, in turn, can be networked via NMEA 2000 with multiple user-interface systems.
This lets you use a multifunction display to control systems. Yet another benefit is remote control from a distance. Leading the way in boat telematics is Siren Marine, which has worked to interface its mobile-connectivity module with digital-switching systems from technology partner CZone. After a boat is equipped with the Siren/CZone telematics, a skipper can control a wide range of onboard systems using the Siren Marine mobile app on a smartphone or tablet from his home, office or car.
“Once connected, the app auto-populates with the same CZone digital-switching screen you see on an MFD,” says Daniel Harper, founder and CEO of Siren Marine. “This system, for example, can turn on the fridge, and cabin and spreader lights before you arrive at the dock.”
It connects via cell service and/or satellite, Harper says. Adding a small satellite antenna allows boat owners to connect from virtually anywhere.
Digital switching is offered almost exclusively as a factory installation on new boats. “The amount of work in converting a boat to digital switching doesn’t lend itself to the aftermarket,” says David Marynov, marketing manager for Power Products, parent company of CZone. The Siren Marine system, on the other hand, is well-suited to aftermarket installations. A telematics-capable Siren Marine system starts at $699, plus service fees starting at $180 per year.