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Nautical ID 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Nautical ID international launch

by Nautical ID 18 Sep 2020 10:46 BST
Protect your boat with Nautical ID © Nautical ID

Britain is a nation of boat lovers, with more than half a million vessels, ranging from dinghies to luxury yachts, plying our waters.

There's nothing more relaxing than enjoying the lonely sea and the sky - but taking care of a boat can bring its fair share of concerns. Few boat owners are lucky enough to have a mooring right outside their house; so worrying about how their pride and joy is surviving the elements, and whether it is staying safe from intruders and accidents, is an ongoing worry.

Nautical ID offers a simple, user-friendly and cost-effective solution for alerting boat owners about problems. Invented in Sweden, the scheme is now being launched in the UK and internationally. Sam Reid, managing director of Nautical ID International and a keen sailor himself, explains why he jumped at the chance to invest in the product: "Having collected a new-build boat in Norfolk, some friends and I were sailing to our home port of Lymington. Stopping in Lowestoft for a break, we moored securely and went for breakfast. While in the café, we overheard some locals laughing about a "few idiots who had moored their boat, clearly ignorant of local tidal conditions". As they talked, it soon became clear that we were those idiots!

"Racing back to the boat, we discovered it hanging by its mooring lines, clearly about to snap, with the water having dropped some five feet. Notwithstanding their derision, the locals had sensibly contacted the harbourmaster, but of course he had no idea who the boat belonged to. We were just so lucky to have been in the same café! This is the kind of problem that Nautical ID was made for."

In the UK it is not compulsory to register your boat unless you intend to travel into international waters, so if anything untoward does happen to a vessel, until now there has been no easy way to let the owner know that there's a problem - especially now that GDPR prevents marinas giving out contact details. Nautical ID offers an easy way for the boating community to look out for each other and alert owners to a small problem before it can become a big one. The system comprises robust decals that are fixed to the stern and bow of the boat, featuring QR codes that can be read by any smart phone and link directly to the boat's information page.

The owner can decide whether to put their contact details and more information about the vessel directly on the information page - particularly useful if the boat is for sale - or whether they would prefer to stay completely anonymous but still be instantly contactable through the page's text message function.

While boat owners often worry about having a dramatic accident or sinking at sea, an analysis of insurance claims reveals that the truth is far more banal - 69% of boats that sank actually did so when they were moored up, and most did so slowly from gradual causes like corrosion, hull damage or drainage issues. This means that in the majority of cases there is a window of opportunity for an owner to get back to their boat and take remedial action - but only if they are aware of the issue.

With Nautical ID it only takes a moment for a fellow boat-owner or a passing Good Samaritan to provide that lifeline. The QR code can be snapped by any smartphone, with no need for an app or additional software, for an instant link to contact the boat owner and let them know what's happening. Whether it's a loose mooring, an accidental collision or signs of a break-in, boat owners can get to the scene, or summon professional help, straight away, avoiding the horror scenario of turning up with a suitcase on a Friday night to find an upturned hull.

The cost of the scheme is affordable for leisure boat owners, with a one-off cost of £99 for a starter kit that includes two easy-to-apply epoxy decals and a year's membership of the scheme. After the first year, membership renewal costs £99. Discounts are available for bulk buys to encourage marinas, yacht clubs and insurance companies to offer the scheme to their members.