SeaKey v2, a field report
Preston Calvert is one of several valuable contributors to the HD radar discussion, which is how I got e-mailing with him last night. Which is how I confirmed that he is indeed the same Preston whose Riviera 45 was tested in PMY recently, except his Neuromancer3 is better looking, and a lot more geeked out, than the boat they used in the main photo shoot. It also turns out that Preston is a new user of SeaKey v2, and he kindly gave me “guest” access to his account there. I’m pretty impressed with the service he’s getting, but will turn it over to Preston:
I like SeaKey a lot. This boat is my first experience with it. I gave the “guest” privileges on the boat’s SeaKey web site to several friends and family members who enjoyed tracking our trip up the coast, day-by-day. The main limitation on updating the web site is being within cell phone coverage range, as that is how it updates the network and boat web site. This means that the boat unit stores the updates if you are out of cell phone range, and then sends a burst of update messages when you get back in range. The final result is nice, however.
I wish SeaKey allowed more onboard system monitoring and web+cell phone reporting, more like a Krill system. Perhaps as it evolves this will be added. It is already a valuable system. I have the “geofence” turned on that will let me know if my boat moves more than 1/4 mile from its slip. That gives me a lot of peace of mind.
Note that SeaKey also has Orbcomm sat communications for emergencies out of cell range. I maintain that off-boat monitoring is going to break out sooner or later. NMEA 2000, boat Ethernets, and various wireless comms are all evolving such that the service will be better, easier, and cheaper. Plus most of us worry about our boats more than we care to admit. The first time it sends you an e-mail or text message assuring you that everything is fine, you’ll likely get a sense of relief you weren’t completely expecting, and won’t go without.
Ben, SeaKey looks impressive indeed, but this is kinda what I was hoping to do with my new SPOT: an inexpensive way to know where my boat is and what it’s doing when I am not there. I know, SPOT is “transmit” only and does seem to lack an essential feature which I am hopeful will be added soon – the ability to set up an event or trigger that could send a “I am here” position without having to be physically co-resident with the device. If I had this, plus a way to connect into ship’s power and maybe an external antenna, I’d be almost there.
Any idea if the SPOT folks are looking at moving this way, or am I going to have to hope that the hacker community will find this an interesting challenge?
Paradox Marine has a marine alarm and monitoring system called Magellan that has many of the same monitoring features as well as a geofence feature. It uses a small inmarsat antenna so the cell problems shouldn’t be an issue. It is an easy to install boat monitoring solution. I have no affiliation but it is definitely a product that deserves a review.
Does anyone know if Seakey is still in business? A Panbo reader sent this in:
“I had to send my unit back for second time. Three weeks later have not heard anything. Last website update 2006. The website still shows my unit boat sensor monitors are active !?! But it is supposedly on a workbench at sea key tech support. Are they still in business? Calling gets you an answering service with promise of a callback. Have not seen any news items since your fine article some years back. Am I the only subscriber left? Thank you.”
Update, I called seakey at least once a week since July. Always get an answering service who states:is this an emergency, I answer no, I am checking on the status of my seakey unit you. Have had for nearly three months. Their answer; you are on our operators list to call back, result is that i never get a call back.