By Larry Pearson
There are a number of computer programs and hardware that promises to make marine vessels more productive and interactive. For example, Maxsea, Marstons Mill
, Mass. has a module that connects their chart plotter to the sensors of a dredge to record the vessel's track. The track can be displayed on the chart plotter and the data collected can be directly exported in the ASC II format for use by other data processing software. The seabed outline is displayed "live" in 2-D and 3-D and the data is recorded. Need a tough bulkhead-mounted PC? Comark of Medfield, Mass. has a unit with the enclosure made of marine aluminum with an epoxy powder finish and is rated for a Nema 12 environment.
Standard computing elements include a ATX motherboard, A Celeron or P-4 processor, shock isolated 3.5" internal peripheral; and up to 768 MB of DRAM. A front accessible CD ROM is available, windows NT2000/XP operating systems or applications specific expansion cards. Vectrix of Baton Rouge, La. offers software that has the capability to monitor real time engine performance from any Internet connection. The engine information is collected and stored on the company's web server where it can be easily accessed. Alarm conditions can be sent to any email, text pager, cellular telephone or PDA. Major engine parameters such as coolant level, coolant temperature, oil pressure, oil temperature, exhaust temperature as well as gear oil temperature and pressure can be reported. Up to four engines can be monitored simultaneously. The company also manufactures a closed circuit television system for vessels. The TV out put can be monitored at any of several screens on the boat. The signal can also be converted to a digital image and through the Vectrix servers can be broadcast to any Internet connection. Seawave, Middletown, RI has introduced the Integrator 3.0i that features a built-in Iridium voice and data modem that allows any vessel to combine the Integrator' s Least Cost Routing and Seawave's Throughput Technology with the low cost fees of the Iridium constellation. This creates a low cost, highly available communications system that provides global communications services and delivers one easy-to-read, consolidated billing statement.
Computerized maintenance programs are now available for both large ships and smaller boats. Seaworthy Systems of Essex, Conn. develops and installs such systems that track and schedule maintenance events accomplish small parts accounting. The window-based version of the system incorporates condition-based maintenance events as well as planned maintenance actions. Seaworthy developed the Ready Reserve Maintenance and Repair Tracking System to provide efficient tracking of maintenance and repair deficiencies, budgets and regulatory requirements for RRF vessels. Global Synergies LLC, Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. has software that enables a shipboard computer to sue popular programs such as Outlook, Outlook Express, Netscape or Eudora to send and receive email over the Global Synergies Network. The Company's software enable real-time communications with anyone connected to the Internet or the Global Synergies Network.