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Author Topic:   Tracking Remote Vessel Position
jay18 posted 01-17-2009 02:12 PM ET (US)   Profile for jay18   Send Email to jay18  
Hi All. Is it possible to track a boat via GPS from a central location? A boat rental facility wants to keep track of where their rental boats are throughout the day and would like to look at screen and view map of different boat's location. Possible?



jeffs22outrage posted 01-17-2009 02:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for jeffs22outrage  Send Email to jeffs22outrage     

Dewalt offers a system to follow shipping containers, hand tools, and heavy machinery via GPS and google maps. I do not see why it would not work with a boat.

Chuck Tribolet posted 01-17-2009 03:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Three options:

AIS. This regularly transmits the boat's position via VHF
radio. Not cheap.

DSC. This will, if the right radio is setup correctly,
reply with the boat's position automotically. Zero cost on
the boat if it has the right VHF radio and most any GPS,
correctly wired together.

SPOT Satellite Messenger. Google it.

What sort of range, reporting interval, and security is
required? What's the intent?


BlueMax posted 01-17-2009 03:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for BlueMax  Send Email to BlueMax     
Absolutely possible.

Here is just one option from Fastwave:

Also, what about a Lo-Jack type system for tracking?


Chuck Tribolet posted 01-17-2009 03:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
And over what sort of terrain?

The solutions in say, the California Delta, Lake Lanier,
Lake Powell, and Bahamas bareboats would be different.


jay18 posted 01-17-2009 04:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for jay18  Send Email to jay18     
good suggestions. the boats will stay within a 20 sg. mile area. What is the preffered VHF-GPS combo? Anyone?
Chuck Tribolet posted 01-17-2009 06:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
You need a VHF that will respond to a DSC Position Request
without operator intervention. If a Standard-Horizon VHF
will respond to a Position Request (most will, not sure about
the very low end) it can generally be configured to respond
without operator intervention. The ICOMs (at least as of
a couple of years ago), required operator intervention.

Most current GPSs will output the NMEA stream that's required
to tell the VHF where the boat is.

Of course, they'll have to tell the renter to leave the radio
and GPS on.

Assuming the rental operator is land-based, they will need
a shore station license.

You didn't get into what sort of reporting interval is required.
If the real question is "Gee, #9 is supposed to be back by
now, let's see where he is?" then just a VHF and Chartplotter
at the store is all that's required there. If the real
question is "We need to continually track the location of
the boats,", then some sort of software would be required
to send periodic Position Requests and display them.


jay18 posted 01-17-2009 09:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for jay18  Send Email to jay18     
Thanks all. I liked the SPOT satellite manager system. It was able to interface with google maps on a continual basis. Thanks for all of the input. Send sunshine, this snow is getting outta hand!
20dauntless posted 01-18-2009 12:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for 20dauntless    
I have a SPOT and used it last year on a month long trip to Desolation Sound. The thing worked great and gave reliable position updates every 10 minutes to family at home, even when I didn't have a signal on my phone to call or email.

The problem you may run into in tracking rental boats is where to mount it and how to make sure it stays on. It would be easy to fall overboard if it is not secured somehow. I just had mine on a shelf in the pilothouse and in rough water it would fall to the floor. Luckily it was inside, if it had been outside it could have fallen out of the boat completely.

jimh posted 01-18-2009 01:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Moved this discussion of vessel electronic tracking to the SMALL BOAT ELECTRICAL discussion.]
jimh posted 01-18-2009 01:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
In a Class-D rated VHF Marine Band radio, digital selective calling remote position polling will allow the position of a remote vessel to be sent to a station requesting the position. Most electronic chart plotters will plot the position of a remote vessel if attached to a DSC radio which has received a remote vessel position reply.

The range would be limited to the effective radio range of the vessel to the other station. In the case of a shore installation, the shore station would have to obtain a license from the FCC to operate a shore station in the VHF Marine Band.

TransAm posted 01-18-2009 08:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for TransAm    
This company, Navtrak, has a GPS fleet management system that is pretty slick. A company I use to work for provided seed money for this venture. I don't see why this would be limited to land.
crabby posted 01-22-2009 07:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for crabby  Send Email to crabby     
As seen in my latest Cabelas catalog:

Usual disclaimers apply.

HAPPYJIM posted 01-22-2009 08:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for HAPPYJIM  Send Email to HAPPYJIM     
I saw one at Sam's club for less than $100. I read a little on the package and if I remember correctly, it tracks on google maps. I tried to pull it up on but no luck
TransAm posted 01-23-2009 01:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for TransAm    
What usually makes the types of gadgets too costly is the monthly service necessary to track locations. Usually about $15/month. I was going to get one of those neat GPS units for golf courses that give exact yardages for everything on the course, including the beer shack. $300 for the unit itself and $14.99/month for service. I guess for some, it's worth it.
newt posted 01-23-2009 03:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for newt  Send Email to newt     
Here is a neat site for tracking anyone's gps enabled cell phone. Try it on your own to see how it works.

Chuck Tribolet posted 01-23-2009 04:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
That site only works with GSM phones.


TransAm posted 01-23-2009 05:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for TransAm    
Wow, that system is pretty slick. Looks like it works on ALL phones. Gave me an accurate fix on my phone; glad the resolution is a little grainy.
Newtauk1 posted 01-23-2009 10:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for Newtauk1  Send Email to Newtauk1     
be careful putting your own number out there.

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