Newsletter #303

Newsletter #303 - January 27, 2016

Community Anchoring

>>> Community Anchoring >>>

Every evening, all over the world, boaters toss an anchor overboard as they settle in for the night with little communication with boats nearby. In tight anchorages, we've asked boats how much rode they put out. And we've all seen "the stare" a boat receives if anchored a little too close. But that's usually it.

ActiveCaptain changed some of that by allowing boaters to record their experiences to help you evaluate an anchorage. We know the information is valuable but must be interpreted. All crowd-sourced data needs interpretation - it's the nature of the medium.

As the internet grows, live communications becomes possible between the sensors on our boats. Some information hasn't been available before. We want to share our designs about what we're developing for anchoring.

We know that internet is not available everywhere today. There are places, especially underway, where communication is limited or doesn't exist. But it is increasingly available in more places at reasonable costs. We develop new capabilities looking forward and we know that internet access continues to get better. We anticipate the coming of low cost satellite internet or widespread, longer distance cellular internet, and we need to build for that future.

There are also new capabilities coming this year, such as Signal K. Signal K is designed around WiFi networks and even WiFi between boats. Similar to how we use VHF antennas to communicate with each other, Signal K over a WiFi antenna might be used to communicate boat sensor data between nearby boats. The exciting thing is that WiFi range is about the range needed for some of the new anchoring data we think is becoming possible.

Here are our thoughts about community anchoring capabilities:

- Privacy is at the top of the list.
There must be the option to select who can see your information. There are 3 settings - friends, nearby boats, and partner marinas. Any of those categories can be on or off.

- It has to provide an exceptional anchor watch and alarm.
DragQueen has more installs than any other anchor alarm app that exists. We released it over 4 years ago and have received an enormous amount of feedback. We want to use that feedback to extend the capabilities, graphically, along with adding data sharing between boats.

- It should provide better anchor dropping information.
Holding and wind/wake/current protection are important but information about other boats in an anchorage can be more important. We'd like to know where each boat in the anchorage is within their swing circle. If you arrive in low wind or current situations, you can't assume boats are at the end of their rode. Often, they're not. So you make your anchor placement decision based on what you see. The assumptions are often wrong. Instead, imagine making your decision based on knowing where other anchors are located and how much rode has been let out.

- It should provide new alarm mechanisms.
Sharing your location, rode released, and anchor alarm circle with others allows you to have a remote anchor alarm when off the boat. So when you're onshore, you can see your own boat's location and where it is in your alarm circle. Even more interesting, you can set alarms on other boats in the anchorage. If you're concerned about the two boats ahead of you, setting an alarm on them might provide a useful warning for those middle-of-the-night situations. The alarm for their boat would go off on your phone/tablet/laptop based on them crossing their own alarm parameters or on swing circles that you set up for them.

- It should provide better history and record that history.
Alarms should track movement, depth, wind, and date/time. Showing a history of your track around your anchor is valuable in letting you know when you might be dragging. Graphically showing this on a chart is quite useful. It should show your neighbor's tracks and it should record all of the tracks for others to view (based on privacy settings). Imagine picking an anchorage by looking at swing tracks of others with the same boat as you, based on the groups you belong to in your electronic boat card.

- There should be a messaging capability.
We are a community. And too often, we anchor among each other for days at a time without meeting. The exchange of raw data like anchor sets will lead to more communications. And more communication is always better for a community. We want a simple way to exchange messages with the boaters around you, especially in your anchorage.

Those are our design goals. Reply to this newsletter and tell us what you think. Please do not expect a response.

These capabilities are being added to the Locations apps and will be released this year. It'll allow DeLorme and SPOT to maintain your location for the anchor alarm which adds more capabilities and safety.

It'll take time for wide adoption of these capabilities. But we think the added technology will provide you with better decision making, safer nights at anchor, and perhaps a few less stares from others.

>>> Defender 1st >>>

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When you're thinking about purchasing boating supplies, think of Defender first.

Dylan and Dee Dee have finally managed to get in some beach time here in the Exumas. They're enjoying the surf and taking walks ashore. There's always new folks to meet and they manage to attract attention wherever they go. They'll be settling into George Town for a spell. If you're nearby you can greet them most days on the bow of aCappella. If you're not, you can always find them on their blog:

Karen and Jeffrey Siegel
Castine, Maine
sharing the experience
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Newsletter Archive
We are currently merging the different ActiveCaptain websites into a single website.

Because of this, all later newsletters are being only put onto the ActiveCaptain Help Center found here:
ActiveCaptain Help Center : Newsletters

Older newsletters will be duplicated here until these pages are removed.

2016-03-02 #308 - Unexpected Benefits
2016-02-24 #307 - UK's MCA
2016-02-17 #306 - Chartplotter Support Questions
2016-02-10 #305 - One Giant Leap
2016-02-03 #304 - Bahamas Internet
2016-01-27 #303 - Community Anchoring
2016-01-20 #302 - Sharing Your Identity
2016-01-13 #301 - ActiveCaptain is...
2016-01-06 #300 - MMXVI
2015-12-30 #299 - The Power of Sharing
2015-12-23 #298 - Joyful times
2015-12-16 #297 - Thoughts of Cuba
2015-12-09 #296 - The Power of Love
2015-12-02 #295 - Windyty
2015-11-25 #294 - Mary Had a Little Lamb
2015-11-18 #293 - DeLorme inReach
2015-11-11 #292 - Celebrating Furuno
2015-11-04 #291 - Your ActiveCaptain Identity
2015-10-28 #290 - iPad/Android Tablet Owners
2015-10-21 #289 - The Top 5 Things...
2015-10-14 #288 - Skype
2015-10-07 #287 - Locations 1.2
2015-09-30 #286 - Cell Phone Frequency Issues
2015-09-23 #285 - Cell Phone Unlocking
2015-09-16 #284 - Mr SIM Card
2015-09-09 #283 - Route Storage & Sharing Continued
2015-09-02 #282 - Route Storage & Sharing
2015-08-26 #281 - Here's What You Told Us
2015-08-19 #280 - Bahamas 2016
2015-08-12 #279 - What is Services Missing?
2015-08-05 #278 - Aqua Map for Android
2015-07-29 #277 - Obtaining Critical Mass
2015-07-22 #276 - Our Backup Anchor
2015-07-15 #275 - Which Anchor is Best
2015-07-08 #274 - Pocket Mariner's SeaNav
2015-07-01 #273 - Services Galore
2015-06-24 #272 - Canvas and Upholstery Services
2015-06-17 #271 - Locations, Locations, Locations
2015-06-10 #270 - Keeping Track of Everything - 4

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