Every boat owner wants peace of mind when leaving their vessel. Graham Snook tests the Yacht Sentinel YS6L remote boat monitoring system
Yacht Sentinel YS6L remote boat monitoring system: tried and tested
A yacht is never far from her owner’s mind: will she still be there, are the batteries flat, have the bilges filled with water, has anything been stolen?
The list is endless. So, the YS6 remote monitoring system from Yacht Sentinel sounded like the perfect solution.
The YS6 uses a number of 868/915 MHz band wireless sensors that feed back to a central unit.
This in turn is connected to the 3G/4G network (first two years are free, around £50 thereafter) and offers the option of satellite monitoring too.
A handy, and intuitive, phone app enables owners or their friends and family to monitor the boat’s position, course and speed, battery voltage, boat movement, bilge level, shore power, temperature, equipment, hatches and more.
YS6 is also available with a 107db siren as an intruder alarm.
When I first went to install the Yacht Sentinel system, my boat wasn’t in her berth — she’d been taken round to Gosport Boatyard a day early.
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Once located, I got on board and her batteries were flat.
If Yacht Sentinel had been fitted I’d have had prior warnings of both these events.
Installing the whole system (five sensors and wiring in the central unit) took less than an hour, most of which was unscrewing and screwing up the sensors to add the two AAA batteries in each one.
The central unit takes power straight from the yacht’s batteries (which enable it to monitor their voltage), and the sensors come with self-adhesive Velcro-like patches.
These were stuck around the boat — a few button presses later and I could see the sensor data on my phone.
It really was extremely simple.
The app can set parameters to alert you when something is up, and the overzealous motion detector would send me alerts at odd times of the day and night (the sensitivity of these units has since been downgraded).
Then there was the high water alarm that went off, prompting a call to the marina staff who happily went and checked on her (the patch had come unstuck and the unit had fallen into 1cm of water under my engine).
I would opt for two water sensors. one higher than the other; if there really was a problem I would know how bad it was.
It’s reassuring to know the shore power was on, batteries were topped up and I wouldn’t find the sole boards floating, which is where the value of a monitoring system lies – peace of mind.
The system did, however, result in quandaries, such as when a motion sensor goes off at 0146, after the gracious hospitality of my local pub, what am I really going to do about it?
I ruled if it’s just one alert I can go to sleep, if it’s multiple alerts I know someone is onboard.
Yacht Sentinel YS6L specifications:
Price as tested £1,138 (Gold package inc VAT)
Central unit: £598: Position, speed, course, battery voltage, shock, tilt and temperature
Further sensors: Motion £75 Temperature £70 Shore power £80 High water £65 Door/hatch £70 Item security £70 Siren £249
Other remote boat monitoring systems on the market
Yacht Sentinel Sentinel Point
The Sentinel Point 2 is the ‘lite’ version of the Yacht Sentinel YS6.
Using cellular data and the Yacht Sentinel app you can see the vessel’s position, speed and course, plus battery voltage and temperature.
It does not, however, accept additional sensors. www.yacht-sentinel.com
The Maxmon is a wired security system that uses an Android phone at its heart (which would need to be kept charged).
Reports are sent via email or text and a subscription for the mobile phone is required.
It can also be configured to take and send photographs to give a visual reassurance onboard.
Dokensip is a similar security system that uses Bluetooth sensors.
The standard package has four sensors: bilge water, battery, shore power and a passive infrared sensor that detects motion onboard.
It doesn’t, however, have a siren option.
Annual subscription isn from £82.80.