Mercury Marine launches 1st Mate at Boot Düsseldorf

Published on: 21/01/2020

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1st Mate is the world's first engine-integrated man overboard and proximity-based theft deterrent system. Utilising a highly styled wearable device that integrates with Mercury SmartCraft systems, 1st Mate adds another layer of boating safety.

The 1st Mate system includes a wearable wristband, fob or carabiner for the captain and up to seven passengers that sync with the 1st Mate app. This notifies a boat’s captain or its passengers if someone has fallen overboard and optionally sends notifications to emergency contacts. If the proximity of the fob is not in range, the system disables or puts the engine into guardian mode.

1st Mate also serves as an effective deterrent to boat-and-engine theft. The Theft Deterrent System can lock your engine(s) to prevent unauthorised use. With 1st Mate, you can unlock the vessel via proximity of the captain’s wearable and/or the unlock function of the app. Mercury SmartCraft engines can also allow high-idle operation for service access to the vessel without unlocking it.

The three main features operate in the following ways:

Man-overboard monitoring and warning system

If the system detects that the captain has fallen overboard, the device sends alerts to the system's hub, its app and all the passengers' wearable devices. The system cuts the engines and sends specific instructions to the passengers' smartphones via the app. The instructions guide the passengers through restarting the engines and safely steering the boat back to the location of the man-overboard event.

If a passenger falls overboard, in the same way, the system sends alerts to the captain and other passengers. The captain receives heading instructions to return the boat to the location of the man-overboard event.

Distress messaging

If a boat's captain is alone and the system detects that the captain has fallen overboard, it sends a distress message to a list of emergency contacts that the captain had entered into the app. The distress message includes the GPS location and the time and date of the man-overboard event. This function is also useful in instances where the captain is not alone and falls overboard, but the passengers for whatever reason are unable to return the boat to the location of the man-overboard event or are unable to pull the captain aboard.

Theft deterrence

Some of the system's theft-deterrence capabilities vary according to the boat's engine technologies. In all cases, the system provides engine-locking functions. For boats powered by Mercury outboards with Mercury SmartCraft technology, the system not only requires an ‘unlock’ command from the captain's app or wearable device to operate the engines, but also requires engines that have been removed from the boat to detect a ‘handshake’ from the system before they can be restarted.

“Mercury are really leading the way with not only engine technologies, but also supporting systems,” commented Ben Allen, General Manager for the Marine Leisure Division, E.P. Barrus Ltd.

“1st Mate is a welcome addition to the range of performance enhancing technologies which ensures boaters can get the most out of their engines whilst feeling safe and protected. We’re looking forward to introducing the system to our existing network of authorised Mercury dealers from March 2020,” Ben concluded.

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