Feasibility: Multi Sensor Alarm System for Yacht: Remote Notification

Good day ladies and gents,

My Experience: 0, niks, nada, nothing

My Project

The Problem

1: Most yachts that sink, sink at their mooring or at anchor. Reason most commonly a malfunction with one of the through hull fittings coupled with a power failure resulting in the automatic "bilge pump" ceasing to work. (water gets in and doesn't get pumped out)

**2:**Liquid Petroleum Gas is denser than air therefore any leaks in the system result in the Gas settling in the bottom of the boat.
Problem a) Inhaling LPG gas and sustaining life are mutually exclusive.
Problem b) A bilge filled with Gas makes a very big boom...

3: Theft is a very particular problem for sailors as we are targeted because of our perceived wealth.
Problem a) losing your navigational equipment such as GPS, Laptop, Sextant etc can be disastrous whilst in remote areas

Proposed Solution

Create a device that:

1: Can notify me via some form of Radio Frequency possibly DSC (digital selective calling) over VHF network.
2: Sound a siren that is seriously detrimental to one's auditory health inside the vessel, or some other deterrent device.
3: Make use a variety of sensors that will set in motion #1 and #2.
For example

  • Water level sensor
  • Gas sensor
  • Carbon dioxide sensor
  • forced entry sensor of some sort (motion/magnet on hatch?)

Thank you in advance.

I have been thinking about a similar system for my boat and was planning on using my home port's WiFi, that would send me SMS's when issues arise, I have not thought about interfacing to marine band VHF. Since you mention remote ports that sounds like something you would need. I just finished up a water sensor that will alert me if I have excess water in the bilge. I have an LP sensor on board but have not thought about interfacing it to my message system because I only worry about that when I am onboard. The LP warning tone is loud enough that I would hear it before going on board alerting me to close the valve on the tank and ventilate system before any electrical or engine operation.

I do not have any theft detection system on board, I hope anyone would take the easy pickings and grab my older VHF on the outside helm and be happy without entering the cabin, but you never know. I do not boat in remote areas, I hope to some day, so I could replace any hardware before setting out so it is not a safety issue for me. Interfacing intrusion alarms to my alert system would just be another feature that could be added.

There is a product called RockBLOCK that would provide inmarsat connectivity to the Arduino and send out SMS messages when an alarm was needed and this would send alarms pretty much from anywhere on earth. The sat link would require a cellphone with service in that area to work to receive the SMS and that would be a problem in many remote areas.

Long story short: The link between the VHF and the Arduino is the problem for me, so if someone can help and point us in the right direction we can probably get it going.

I have a couple of older VHF units I keep onboard as spares that I could sacrifice to the project, if I let the magic smoke out of one I would not be too concerned, but I do not even know where I would start to let the smoke out.