In a recent article for Forbes Magazine, CEO and Founder of MARSS Johannes Pinl discusses the increased desire from superyacht clients for protection.
Tell me about what superyacht owners are requesting for security on their boats.
Johannes Pinl: "Owners want to know what is going on onboard and around their yacht. As such, clients are requesting security systems that can automatically monitor, detect, track, classify and alert operators to approaching objects in the vicinity of a yacht. This can refer to drones, small fast moving boats and even underwater for divers and mini-submarines. However, vessel security is not just concerned with detecting unknown objects, but also keeping track of a yacht's own assets and personnel, for example, tenders, jet-skis, and guests such as family members ashore or doing watersports.
Generally, the capability of a security system will depend on the profile of the client, the asset in question and the locations where it is likely to be operating. The key is building awareness around a vessel to increase reaction time and for crew or security teams to make better-informed decisions based on a clear appraisal of a situation.
Advances in technology have meant that a more complete situational awareness picture can be created that provides a 360 perimeter security bubble around a vessel. This is achieved by linking hardware and sensors such as radars, sonars, cameras, searchlights, monitoring and tracking devices with software that is able to intelligently asses approaches as potential threats and filter out false alarms."
Are there any new revolutionary projects being introduced to protect yacht owners?
"Drone detection is becoming more of an issue, mainly from a protection of privacy point of view for yachts but also where there are helicopter operations around a vessel. The technology related to drones themselves and also detecting them is changing fast, and much faster than the regulatory environment. While it may be technically possible to interfere or jam drones, legally this remains a grey area in many jurisdictions. As such, the best form of defense against drones from a yachting perspective is early detection and early warning. The conditions and environment associated with vessels make this particularly challenging as it is tough to detect a small, fast-moving object against a moving background using sensors mounted on a moving platform.
Man-overboard and climber detection sensors that utilise micro-radars and cameras within a self-contained ‘pod' have been developed to monitor areas around a vessel and detect humans falling over the side or threats trying to board by climbing up the sides. Security relevant information can now be presented via head-mounted glasses, essentially an augmented reality lawyer overlaid on an operators field of view."
What security devices are the most popular in the market right now being used by superyachts?
"Onboard CCTV, access control (door locking systems) and deck mounted pressure sensors will likely form the basis of most standard superyacht security packages. These will be connected over an onboard network and managed from the bridge or a central control security room.
Long-range daylight and thermal imaging cameras can have a dual function for both navigation and security use cases. Such cameras can be equivalent to military specification and are mounted on the mast to provide a long distance visual capability around a vessel.
Non-harming 'countermeasures' such as searchlights, loudhailers, and laser-pointers can be used to de-escalate threatening situations by communicating to approaching objects thus removing the element of surprise. Tracking devices that provide a regular update of a particular asset location such as tenders and jet-skis or guests and crew are popular requests, especially for expedition style vessels that travel to more remote locations."