You may remember a few years ago the Dutch Police trained eagles to take down drones. Nice idea but carrying an eagle on board your superyacht can be tricky, especially when they swoop on your steak.
Commercially, drones are used for aerial photography, research and surveillance. They’re also one of the hottest toys in the world, getting ever smaller, ever cheaper, ever faster.
A superyacht moored out in the bay makes a worthy target for a drone pilot, whether a curious leisure user, or paparazzo looking for that million-dollar scoop of a princess sunbathing topless. Privacy protection is paramount.
There’s a rapid arms race going on between yacht owners and the media – the most widely mentioned being Roman Abramovich’s attempts to outwit the lenses on his yacht Eclipse. His anti-pap system detects the electronic light sensors in digital cameras, firing a beam of light to disrupt the image. Allegedly it can be thwarted by a good-old-fashioned film camera though, so what’s a billionaire to do next? Own multiple yachts to act as decoys?
If a decoy superyacht seems excessive, the M.A.D.S.TM Maritime Anti-Drone System may be more practical. It detects and identifies commercial drones from 5km. You’re pinged with an alarm that identifies the exact location of drone and operator. Then comes the exciting-sounding option to ‘defeat the drone’ which doesn’t involve missiles or eagles: it jams the radio signal and sends the drone back to its owner, or commands it to land.
Perhaps one of their more sinister uses, in breach of security and human rights is understanding and monitoring a client’s movements. So exactly what time does he have breakfast? Where will the owner be at a certain time of day? What is his routine?
UK company, Drone Defence helps protect superyachts with their AeroSentry marine system. It can detect a drone’s radio signals at up to 5km away. The ping alerts security crew, or automatically activates a jamming system.
Invasion of privacy is one thing, but what about invasion of your actual yacht? Monaco-based MARSS will help you detect threats. NiDAR, their 360-surveillance system, analyses and ranks unknown objects, both above, on, and below the water. For further peace of mind, guests, crew, tenders, toys and helicopters can be monitored with NiDAR. MARSS provides you with one of the most advanced security technologies for any superyacht in the world.
Edging into a darker world, a device called SeaLase from Finnish firm Lasersec should perhaps be on your radar. Not only can it fend off photographers with a multicoloured laser that messes with their vision and equilibrium, it can also help ward off pirates.
Johnny Depp may have glamorised pirates (there’s always one at every fancy dress) but pirate attacks are increasing in certain parts of the world such as Venezuela and Trinidad.
Yacht owners are spending millions on kitting their craft with technology the military would be envious of and training their crews in avoiding conflict.
Unwanted guests onboard? The GOST Cloak fogs out a room in seconds, reducing visibility to zero, confusing the thief, and buying time before help arrives. Harmless and non-staining, it’s made from glycol, which can be found in deodorants and food stuff. GOST Cloak can be plugged into your current alarm system.
As high net-worth individuals start to take their security even more seriously, some may request a citadel room, deep within the boat. The nautical equivalent of a panic room, they are fitted with comms, reinforced doors, ballistic protection and stashed with food and drink.
Your yacht is where you relax and entertain, so discrete security that blends into the background is paramount. Many employ a “security concierge” who understands on board etiquette and the importance of a refined atmosphere. And you can always upgrade your resident James Bond to an armed security team for certain notorious routes.
In development are Life-Pod emergency rooms – an escape pod with temperature control and air purification. The bright orange cocoons can be deployed directly from the side of a yacht in seconds. Keep reading SYT for more news in the future on this.
But hopefully the distant buzz of an annoying drone will be all you ever have to worry about, and if your security is up to scratch, deactivation should be swift. Defence and security can account for about a quarter of construction cost, and you should budget 30% of your daily running costs to those systems.
Superyacht protection is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and it’s fascinating to see where the race will take us next, in the bid to protect you, your guests, and your beautiful, incredible yacht.
For more information on some of the products discussed follow
Read this article and many more in the Superyacht Technology Blueprint.