Your Unattended Boat – A Check and a Text Message

Leakage, electrical, temperature, location, or equipment problems may occur when you are away from your boat, or you might like to just have a periodic report that things are OK aboard. If you have internet access at the boat and a cell phone, a reliable, flexible, relatively inexpensive, but not plug-and-play, way to do this is described in these posts. This is how I did it. Below is a photo of the on-board unit, Serial number 1.

This 10″ W x 6″ H polycarbonate enclosure houses a good bit of hardware by Opto-22, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and Adafruit, and was programmed in C under Debian Linux and in C++ under the Arduino IDE. Both are open source. I wrote the programs and integrated the hardware and software.

This “Ships Monitor” works so well because sophisticated, reliable, computer and controller systems and peripherals are available in small, robust, inexpensive, and low power consumption packages. Wireless internet and cellular service providers link the Ships Monitor’s messaging to the boat owner’s phone.

Future posts will describe the hardware requirements, configuration and integration, the C and the C++ application programs, and the performance to date. The fact that the Ships Monitor could monitor much more that unattended vessels should be remembered.

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