Siren Marine founder and CEO Dan Harper passes away

Many of us in the marine electronics industry got a gut-punch of an email yesterday afternoon. Dan Harper, the founder and CEO of Siren Marine, just died at age 51, and Siren sent a lovely tribute to his life and legacy. But this isn’t an obituary; I didn’t know Dan the man well enough to write one, though I sure knew Dan the CEO and visionary behind Siren.

I don’t know how Dan died, but I know that I will miss him. I haven’t been in this industry too long, just a bit over three years now, and he was one of the first company leaders I had the opportunity to interview. In that first meeting, on the floor of the Miami Boat Show, I learned that he was an engaging, charismatic, kind, and passionate man. It was also clear that he was the driving force behind Siren and that its boat monitoring technology meant a great deal to him.

I’ve judged a few innovation awards events that Siren entered, and had some slightly tense conversations with Dan afterward about why his product didn’t win. He passionately believed in them. But no matter how frustrated and disappointed he may have been, Dan always wanted to know what he and Siren could do to better communicate what they’d accomplished. And he maintained a sense of humor and kindness throughout.

I recently recorded a Panbo Podcast with Dan, focusing on the new Siren 3 Pro, and it was probably the easiest that I’ve done so far. Dan was so fired up about what his product can do for boaters that I barely had to ask any questions and he was off. I hope everyone else hears what I hear in that podcast, an articulate man proud, passionate, and all-in on the vision of connected boats that make boating better and easier.

Through a coincidence of timing, I’ve talked to Dan a half dozen times in the last month. In fact, I had a meeting scheduled with him at 1 pm today. Seeing that reminder pop-up this morning hurt, as does knowing that I will never talk to him again.

But Siren Marine isn’t going away. Dan built a mature business with a leadership structure in place that will continue. Siren’s investors have said they are committed to carrying on Dan’s vision and Siren will continue to innovate in connected boating and boat monitoring.

Ben Stein

Ben Stein

Publisher of, passionate marine electronics enthusiast, 100-ton USCG master.

14 Responses

  1. Matt Byrne says:

    Wow, how sad. One Sunday, maybe 10 years ago, I called Siren’s support line on a Sunday afternoon to get help setting up my version 1 unit. Dan returned my call in 15 mins and got me up and running. His company has always had awesome customer service, which has always reminded me of that day. RIP Dan. Best wishes to his family and friends.

  2. Milt Baker says:

    Dan was the brains and the energy and the driving force behind Siren Marine.  We exchanged emails earlier this month, and he was very positive about the future of Siren Marine.  He also sent me pictures of his true love, an old but beautifully restored Swan 46. 

    Siren Marine a small company, and his loss casts Siren’s future in question. As a longtime Siren fan and customer, my heart goes out to Dan’s family and to Siren Marine employees on their loss.

  3. John G says:

    That is so sad news. I feel for his friends and family. I hope the company continues on with the same vigor and the new products they have eluded to coming out this spring. Because of the Podcast interview I purchased $2000 worth of Siren System.

    RIP Dan, fair winds and following seas.

    • Suz says:

      Siren, it’s C suite and staff, and the financial underpinnings are fully committed to the future. There’s no turning back and the sky is still the limit!

  4. Milt says:

    The following obituary on Dan Harper appeared in the Newport Daily News. No cause of death was listed.

    Daniel A. Harper

    Daniel Harper, born August 9, 1969 of Lakeland, FL and Newport, RI; youngest brother of Jeff Harper of Lakeland and Suzanne Harper Ebel of St. Louis, dearly beloved son of Aubry and Gloria Harper of Lakeland, wholehearted father of Anson Hayden-Harper of Newport, and fun loving cousin to many Texans, Californians, Floridians, Georgians and North Carolinians. Daniel Harper will be remembered for the joy he spread through his kind nature and outgoing spirit. He had a divine effect on anything which crossed his path, and many regarded him as being bigger than life.

    Growing up in Lakeland, Florida, he was surrounded with the vast nature of his lakeside home, and an ever-loving Southern family. Born with a passion for innovation and ingenuity, he spent his early days constructing and tinkering with anything he could lay his hands on. It is during this time that he would foster the fundamental skills that would last a lifetime; skills that would eventually lead him to build the first prototype of a product that changed the world.

    As a student attending Lake Gibson High School, Daniel took great pride in his academics – well, rather the social stature and glory that pertained to his academic success. Serving as Senior class president alongside his cousin Sean Harper as vice president, he was able to express his vision and bring his peers closer together (I’m sure Principal Booth would agree). His success as class president was enabled by his inspiring charisma and immense leadership ability. Daniel knew how to get things done all while sustaining a warm smile.

    When he wasn’t conducting academic revolutions or deconstructing old toasters, he was absorbed in the music of his drum set. The school band was lucky to call Daniel their most accomplished snare drummer. Aside from the school band, he took part in many musical groups, all of which were wildly popular among the entirety of Lakeland. He departed high school with the most impactful memories a young 18 year old could ask for.

    Later on Daniel would embark on a lifelong journey dedication to the ocean. It was his extraordinary talent for celestial navigation that would allow him to sail seas uncharted without a doubt in his mind, all while teaching others the art of navigating by starlight. This was one of the phenomena about Dan that made him so special. Everyone who knew him knew that he wouldn’t have spent those days any other way, and if he could be anywhere in the world he would be aboard Corban making sail for his next expedition.

    His love for life exceeded that of the average person. Optimism was something that came so naturally to Daniel, and through his encouraging interpretation of life he was able to bring others in under his wing and teach them to sail the seas of the world with conviction and dignity. As a visionary Daniel was an innate leader.

    Not only was Daniel Harper my father, but he acted as a father to many. He was a gift from God. The lessons that he taught me are invaluable, as I would be but a shell of the person that I am without them. The wisdom that he bestowed upon those he loved was of utmost sincerity and love. He was the most compassionate man I have ever known, and if there is one message that he would have wanted to leave us with, it is that if you are not living with passion, you are not living.

    My father used these talents to build Siren Marine, which revolutionized connected marine technology and IoT services. The team he built at Siren is a world class group of professionals who are fueled by the shared vision my Dad put into place, I know his legacy will live on.

    There will be a Celebration of Life to be scheduled for later in the year.

    In honor of Dan’s life, memorial donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN, 38105; IYRS, 449 Thames Street, Newport, 02840; or SailNewport, 72 Ft. Adams Drive, Newport, RI 02840.

  5. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    In the early days of Siren, Dan shared his product development outline with me, and what I remember vividly was a dense couple of pages about all the ways that bilge pumps can fail, plus all the requirements of a monitoring system that can catch those failures while not setting off false alarms. It also considered various pump and bilge layouts, and even the nuances of monitoring leaky boats versus dry ones.

    Wow, I thought to myself, this guy deeply understands the issues he’s trying to help us all with, and he’s super sharp at envisioning solutions.

    I am very sad about Dan’s tragic demise, way too early on his path, and extend heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.

  6. Our sincere condolences to his family and friends from the Sentinel marine solutions team. Dan was a very charismatic and fierceful competitor.

  7. David Zara says:

    You have all said what was obvious about Dan. He was also a gentleman in the true sense of the word and an incredibly loyal and generous friend. He was a prince in a pauper’s world and I will miss him. His generosity and kindness knew no bounds. He was also incredibly funny and I’ll miss that too. A few days before his death I ribbed him about an atrocious mistake he had made. Atrocious as in atrociously funny. We had a good laugh. I’ll miss that too…

  8. Frank says:

    I have known Dan for 25 years. Just devastated at his loss. I sailed on Corban with him when he first bought her and prepared her for the adventures to follow. I cannot believe he is gone. His death makes no sense. I will always cherish and appreciate the time we spent together.
    RIP my brother.

  9. Anonymous says:

    So sorry for your loss of a friend Frank

  10. Anonymous says:

    Cause of death unknown. No trama, drugs, foul play or suicide. He was happy with life and work; on his way out the door to a reservation for dinner. We cannot believe he is gone. The song is over but the melody will linger on.

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *