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1st Mate Is Ready To Assist For Boater Overboard Scenarios


This connected safety and security system also provides theft deterrence functionality.

Mercury Marine’s new 1st Mate Safety and Security System is an app-based multifunction system that combines boater-overboard alerts, distress messaging, and theft deterrence.

The system is currently compatible with all Mercury SmartCraft capable engines (with compatibility with all leading engine brands coming soon) and incorporates a wearable fob that can be worn as a bracelet or attached to a key ring. It turns the engine off or sounds an alarm during a man overboard event (MOB). A “smart hub” can track up to eight fobs.

The three main features of this product work in the following ways:

1. MOB Monitoring And Warning

This system uses wearable fobs to protect a boat’s skipper (the driver wearing the captain’s fob) and up to seven passengers.

The wearables connect to a mobile device and ensure that, if the skipper falls overboard, the engine(s) will stop, an alarm will sound, and alerts providing instructions to the passengers will be sent via the 1st Mate mobile app, thanks to direct integration with the vessel’s propulsion system. The instructions will guide passengers through restarting the engines and safely steering the boat back to the location where the skipper went overboard. Similarly, if a passenger falls overboard, the app will sound an alarm (but not kill the engine), send alerts, and provide the skipper with the overboard passenger’s GPS location.

2. Distress Messaging

If the boat skipper falls overboard and can’t get back aboard, or passengers can’t return the boat to the skipper, 1st Mate can send a distress message to emergency contacts designated on the skipper’s mobile app. The distress message is sent after a countdown timer expires or a request for help is made. The message includes the location, heading, date, and time of the boater overboard event.

3. Theft Deterrence

This feature locks a boat’s engine(s) to prevent unauthorized use. Once the skipper is ready to get back behind the wheel, the engine(s) can easily be unlocked via the proximity of the captain’s wearable or by use of the 1st Mate mobile app. In the event the engines are removed from the boat, 1st Mate requires those engines to detect a “handshake” from the system before they can be restarted.

The 1st Mate mobile app is available now in the App Store for iOS devices, with a version for Android devices coming soon.

“The development of the 1st Mate system reflects a genuine concern for the safety and well being of the people who enjoy recreation on the water,” says Rob Hackbarth, Mercury product category director — Smartcraft marketing. “I’m convinced that this product will save lives and thwart boat thefts.”

Rich Armstrong

Senior Editor, BoatUS Magazine