As assets go, a superyacht is one of the most valuable, ensure that your vessel is up to date, safe and running smoothly. Awareness of one’s own surroundings is arguably the most important part of any security system on land or afloat. Yacht security systems were traditionally focused onboard in the form of CCTV, pressure pads, access control and maintaining a good lookout. As a result, the first line of defence was essentially the hull, with potential threats only being detected once they were already on board.
Advances in sensors, tracking devices and navigation equipment resulted in them being used for security purposes. Lack of integration between these standalone technologies, however, meant these systems were limited in evaluating real threats and were prone to false alarms. Furthermore, the crew were required to analyse data from multiple sources which was both time consuming and risked delays in making critical decisions.
Thankfully technology is catching up, with modern security systems providing more intuitive and intelligent solutions to help busy crew and security, conscious owners.
Take a security audit of your yacht
As refit season approaches you may be reviewing your yacht’s existing security hardware and systems. Security products have developed significantly in recent years, with threats posed to superyachts and their owners evolving also.
Fortunately, advances in technology now provide longer-range, automated and better-integrated systems, reducing false alarms, aiding decision making and ultimately cutting down on the extra security-related workload for the crew.
If you are considering upgrading your security capability around the yacht, our guide on how technology has developed and what to consider will support your decision process.
How has technology changed?
Hardware has improved significantly in terms of performance, installation, operation and integration potential. For example, camera systems have switched from analogue to IP with the benefit of ever-higher resolution, smaller form factor, plus ease of installation and reduced maintenance.
Dedicated radars for the detection of small surface craft, plus monitoring and detection of drones for privacy protection, are increasingly being requested for superyachts.
Man-overboard and climber detection is achieved using sensor pods for improved perimeter security in the immediate vicinity of a vessel.
Underwater collision avoidance sonars finally reached a mature and reliable technology level and provide a dual purpose as navigation aid underway and as a diver intrusion detection system while stationary.
Advanced software integrates traditionally standalone sensors into a complete 360-degree air, surface and underwater security system. Software can now intelligently rank objects and approaches around a yacht by pre-defined threat levels to minimise false alarms and smartly alert crew to avoid false alarms.
Most obviously, systems have become much more user-friendly. Intuitive touch screen command and control interfaces vastly improve usability for crew and security teams. Mobile tablets, smartphones, and smart glasses also present secure and up to date information to users on the move.
Do I need to upgrade?
Considering the average specification, design and build time of a large yacht, technology can be nearly ten years old at the time of a first major refit.
Upgrading or integration of sensors, tracking capabilities and non-harming deterrents such as sonars, searchlights, and loudhailers can be retrofitted, increasing the overall security capability above and below the water and automatically warning incoming objects to respect the yacht’s privacy.
Updating vessel security systems is not an all or nothing situation; there are options for every budget and timeframe. Systems are flexible and customisable to specific client requirements and individual yachts.
Can I integrate existing networks, infrastructure and hardware?
Yes: network, cabling, and power can be re-used, as can legacy hardware such as cameras searchlights and tender trackers, subject to the product specification and meeting the overall project brief.
Consider your retrofit, update, and installations to fit flexibly with the yacht’s schedule and ensure that you book ahead, as good refit yards tend to get booked up in advance for key seasonal times (e.g. October onwards for Med only yachts).
Key requirements to consider:
Air: drone detection, helicopter tracking
Surface: tender & toy monitoring plus detection and tracking of unknown objects
Underwater: own diver and submarine tracking, as well as unknown diver, submersible and ROV awareness
Deterrent measures: non harming warning devices such as using existing searchlights, directional loudhailers, and laser dazzlers to communicate with the intruder to respect the yacht’s privacy
New security technology and systems can increase situational awareness around a yacht, improving information and reaction time for decision support, as well as reducing workload allowing the busy crew to focus on their primary roles.
To read this article in our Superyacht Technology News Winter Blueprint see here.