Docking a boat – especially in wind and current – can be a stressful experience for even the most-experienced captains. The impacts of mishaps range from mildly embarrassing to extremely expensive.
Raymarine understands that boating should be relaxing and fun. That’s why its engineers went to work nearly four years ago, developing and combining the technologies that could help remove the stresses of docking a boat. All the while increasing peace of mind and protecting boaters’ valuable investments.
First demonstrated in prototype form in 2019 at the Dusseldorf and Miami International Boat Shows, Raymarine DockSense Control technology was conceived, designed and proven effective in augmenting a captain's boat-handling skills to avoid docking mishaps. The system uses an array of Teledyne FLIR stereoscopic cameras to establish, monitor, and render a Virtual Fender zone around the vessel. Visually represented on a Raymarine Axiom multifunction display, DockSense Control accurately senses pilings, dock edges and other vessels as they begin to encroach on the perimeter.
DockSense Control prevents the vessel from colliding with a detected object and moves the vessel in the direction commanded by the captain via the joystick, simultaneously compensating for the effects of wind and tide. With no commands the system will hold the vessel’s position taking the stress out of docking; no longer to is it necessary to rush to tie up. The stereo vision system gives a clear map of objects around the vessel allowing to see what is in the blind spots when at the helm.
Now available to boat builders for straight-shaft inboard and bow-thruster propulsion-system applications, Raymarine DockSense Control uses a litany of refined technologies. These include global positioning system (GPS) monitoring, attitude heading reference system (AHRS) position-sensing technology to compensate for the effects of wind and currents, multiple Teledyne FLIR machine vision cameras, and a central processing module. DockSense™ Control interfaces with Raymarine Axiom multifunction displays and the Emerson AVENTICSTM Marex 3D joystick system to help captains make a smooth arrival.
“It’s an exciting step forward for boaters,” says Gregoire Outters, General Manager for the Raymarine brand at Teledyne FLIR. “After years of development, testing and refinement – meeting and overcoming challenges head-on – we couldn’t be more excited to announce the availability of Raymarine DockSense Control to the recreational marine industry. DockSense Control delivers a beautifully engineered solution to one of the most-common problems and sources of frustration in boating and is squarely representative of Raymarine’s mission of improving the overall boating experience.”
“Emerson has long been committed to making ship maneuvering ever safer and easier," explains Steffen Kauth, Business Development Manager at Emerson Automation Solutions. "With the Aventics™ Marex 3D joystick system we have taken a major step forward on this path, providing intuitive, one-handed operation of main and auxiliary drives at great accuracy in maneuvering. Dynamic positioning was another milestone. With Raymarine Docksense™ a new level of comfort in operation is reached, combining easy maneuvering and assisted docking to a unique user experience.”
DockSense Control means that boat builders now have two distinct choices of Raymarine assisted-docking systems to meet the needs of their customers. Released last year, DockSense Alert is compatible with a wide variety of vessels and uses many of the same Raymarine assisted-docking technologies. It includes audible and visual warnings when objects encroach upon the user-defined Virtual Bumper zone around the vessel but does not integrate with the boat’s propulsion system.
Meanwhile, DockSense Control offers full integration with inboard/bow-thruster propulsion systems and will actually override a captain’s throttle and steering inputs to keep the vessel from contacting obstacles.