The current practice of fitting tracker devices to towed tenders has come under pressure due to the increasing size and value of tenders, the increased levels of claims, and the increased restrictions in insurance cover.
Advances in technology now raise the level of tow protection available and establish a new standard industry practice – helping captains prevent losses in the first place and reduce claims.
Basic tow protection
Basic tow protection helps with recovery of a tender
AFTER failure of the tow:
- AIS unit, typically required by insurers to be fitted and operational while under tow:
– broadcasts position reports via VHF so tender is seen locally by the returning yacht and any other nearby boats.
- Satellite tracker (e.g Iridium), sometimes required by insurers:
– sends position reports to a tracking website so that tender can be found if it has been abandoned AFTER a loss.
Both of these are important… but prevention is better than cure…
Captains complain that they are ‘towing blind’. Once they start a tow, they can’t see what’s going on in the tender until they get to the other end – or an incident occurs. Advanced tow protection with TowPro is the solution.
Advanced tow protection
Advanced tow protection with TowPro gives captains:
- ‘Eyes in the boat’: continuous live information about the level of water in the bilges, how often the bilge pump is running, how much battery is left, and more.
- ‘Bridge alerts’: TowPro can be set to issue alerts when safety levels go outside the captain’s comfort zone, so that the bridge crew needs to investigate and take care of problems.
Easy to install and simple to use, TowPro is available with an international approved installer network, and establishes the new industry standard for reducing tender towing risk.
It is clearly important for insurers to ensure that their policies do not contravene IMO regulations. The use of AIS on tenders while under tow, as commonly required for basic tow protection, is specifically prohibited, and insurers that specify basic tow protection using AIS are requiring their captains to operate illegally. In order to comply with IMO regulations and also to broadcast AIS for safety once adrift, TowPro automatically starts broadcasting emergency AIS positions when the tow fails.
Speak to us now
“The towing of tenders and chase boats has become a major area of concern for marine underwriters in recent years, and we, along with our Risk Management experts, have worked closely with TSM Systems in creating TowPro, a system we believe will significantly reduce the concerns of Owners, Captains and Insurers alike”.
Director of Underwriting, Millstream
‘Eyes in the boat’
TowPro gives captains peace of mind at a glance
Key safety data are displayed live:
- Bilge water levels
- Bilge pump run times
- Battery health
- Tow stability: surging and yawing
- Tender stability: pitching and rolling
TowPro helps bridge crew spot problems fast
Captains can set TowPro to give instant alerts when safety data exceeds acceptable levels.
The alerts prompt bridge crew to investigate the problem, and take precautionary action if required to prevent incidents occurring.
In this example, the captain accepts that an automatic bilge pump might run for 3 minutes per hour to remove spray, etc, but wants an alert if it runs for longer.
Automatic ‘adrift’ protection
TowPro provides comprehensive protection – automatically
TowPro continuously monitors the tow length. If the
tow fails, TowPro automatically activates:
- Emergency AIS broadcast to nearby shipping
- Hourly iridium reports to tracking website
- COLREG required ‘Not under command’ lights
A screen from a tracking website
Eyes in the boat whenever you are towing
TowPro tells you exactly what is happening in your tow, and warns you immediately if something happens that might be a risk, for example: rising bilge water level, bilge pump activity, over-running the towline causing snatch loads, rolling heavily and vulnerable to shipping water.
Why do I need TowPro when I already have a tender tracker?
Tracking your tender once it’s adrift is too late. You really don’t want to lose it in the first place; that’s what TowPro helps you to avoid. Because it constantly monitors a number of key indicators about your tow on the bridge of the yacht, it is the only product able to flag up danger signals to you instantly. TowPro is a key part of the Advanced Tow Protection initiative, which is the result of a year-long cross-industry collaboration between captains, insurers, risk assessors, naval architects, hydrodynamic stability experts and installers, with patents filed internationally.
TowPro protects you throughout the tow, as well as tracking
If despite best efforts you do lose your tow, TowPro makes you aware immediately, and incorporates world-leading tracking, which maximises the opportunity to recover the tender. The tracking not only makes the tender visible on AIS to vessels nearby, but also reports to a global tracking website to help later recovery.
And what’s more, it’s simple to install, low cost to run, and easy to use
TowPro is designed for simple plug and play installation, and avoids the complexity of any connection to the yacht’s networks. Most importantly TowPro shares an existing antenna on the superyacht, so there’s no need to run cables and install a new one.
TowPro uses free-of-charge VHF to send safety data to the yacht, so there are no monthly satellite bills to pay. And it’s intuitive to use: a colour touchscreen on the bridge provides you with the information, and alerts you when action is needed.
Once TowPro is onboard, it will monitor the full duration of the tow, day and night.
So, install a TowPro as soon as you can. With the device onboard, you won’t have to worry about disruption to owners or guests, or suffer the additional pressure caused by a lost or damaged tender, and potentially expensive damage to the yacht.
Compliant with IMO regulation
AIS is regulated as a SOLAS system for collision avoidance, and therefore IMO regulations expressly prohibit the common practice of using an AIS tracker on a towed vessel. TowPro makes the captain compliant by using the new VHF Data Exchange System throughout the tow, to send safety data and to display the tow position on the electronic chart display.
Low running costs
The DataTraq radio uses the free-of-charge VDES system in normal operation, removing the cost of monthly satellite data charges. If the tender goes adrift, DataTraq uses an emergency tracking website via Iridium, to enable authorised users to keep a close watch. This emergency service is provided as a single flat-rate annual charge.