The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Is It Time To Consider a Robot For Watchkeeping?

OK, that was a clickbait title, if ever there was one.

Anyway, I have been vaguely interested in the AI lookout and collision avoidance technology that has been used in the singlehanded racing game for some years, called OSCAR.

Now I see that the company has rebranded as SEA.AI and their entry level product is down to a still eye-watering €9,999.

But, then again, if this entry level unit really works, I can see that kind of investment (no more than a good integrated plotter and radar system) being worth it for singlehanders, or even double-handed crews.

And if we were still heading for the high latitudes regularly, Phyllis and I would be all over this technology, assuming it works for detecting small growlers.

Worth thinking about, although I’m guessing that waiting a bit longer before spending on this technology probably makes sense for most of us.

The other thing that could be a problem is how much power this thing uses. I note that it needs 24 volts—to avoid voltage drops on the mast cable since this model has all its brains at the top of the mast, I’m guessing—which is a bit of a smoking gun on what a hog it is.

Do any of you members have any first-hand experience with these things?

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Arne Mogstad

This is kind of a useless comment by me, but a guy I met this summer had been sailing with it for about a year, and he was very happy with it. He found it more useful than radar, and to his experience, it worked very well.

Also as a little side, I have often found myself wanting a masthead camera. Just a live feed with no “intelligence” built in. No idea how useful it actually would be, but it feels like it would aid in certain situations, both tight shallow areas, and also as a digital “crow’s nest” on watch.