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Old 30-09-2011, 10:45   #1
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Tracking Boat While Shipping

My 50 sail is being trucked cross country. Would like to monitor the move. What with all the batteries on board thought I could set up something to provide video security, temperature monitor, position monitor all connecting by wireless data to my home computer.

Less comprehensive would be something like SPOT gps tracking - any others like it?

A - suggestions for equipment purchase or rental.

B - does it pay to make this a permanent remote monitoring system? again equipment suggestions/vendors are appreciated.
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Old 30-09-2011, 10:53   #2
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Re: Tracking boat while shipping

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Originally Posted by alessandra View Post
My 50 sail is being trucked cross country. Would like to monitor the move. What with all the batteries on board thought I could set up something to provide video security, temperature monitor, position monitor all connecting by wireless data to my home computer.

Less comprehensive would be something like SPOT gps tracking - any others like it?

A - suggestions for equipment purchase or rental.

B - does it pay to make this a permanent remote monitoring system? again equipment suggestions/vendors are appreciated.
Spot would be an issue, as you have to reset every 24 hours..

One could put in an iPhone and use the track my iPhone feature to see where it is, (as long as there is cell coverage...)

There are commercial solutions for trucks, but I think they would be expensive for a one shot...

I do know also (but have not used) of tracking systems that work with cellular systems to give you updates. This is an example of one: Vehicle Recovery | Anti Theft Device | Anti Theft System

Best of luck....
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Old 30-09-2011, 10:56   #3
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Re: Tracking boat while shipping

Some trucking companies have this on their trucks, have you inquired if they do?
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Old 30-09-2011, 11:31   #4
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Why ?
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Old 30-09-2011, 14:40   #5
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Re: Tracking Boat While Shipping

By tracking the boat it is possible to see the amount of temperature and weather exposure it is having (not that one can change it) as well as delays en route due to other factors - allows better planning/anticipation for meet up at other end. Would use the system for 'deliveries' on its own bottom as well - good to see if sailing or motoring and at what speed.
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Old 30-09-2011, 15:45   #6
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Re: Tracking Boat While Shipping

Put in a cell phone that reports it's position to Google Latitude (or AT&T's Family Tracker, or any of those apps) every 15 minutes or so. You'll pay for a month of high-use data and that's that.

Forget about video and monitoring anything else, that will mean damned expensive national cellular data and high bandwidth.

You want to monitor weather? Use Google Earth, follow the locaiton of the phone, turn on the "weather" layer and you'll see the waether reported en route. There's no need to monitor that from the boat when there are thousands of land-based weather stations providing that data. And live maps on the NOAA web site as well.

Practical terms? Cell phone, location reports, use AT&T or Verizon unless the route is all interstate, because the others may be cheaper--but their coverage isn't as wide. If a prepaid like Straight Talk will cover you, do it. Virgin Mobile is also cheap but slow data, it would also be good enough. You'll need to shop around, and if you can, get an external antenna for the phone. Big difference in range coverage, if you can still find one. Or a Wilson booster if you can't.

Maybe the shipper tracks their trucks on the web already, and can give you access, or reports when you call in?
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Old 06-10-2012, 12:31   #7
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Re: Tracking Boat While Shipping

I have been researching shipping a 35-foor sailboat from Seattle to Jacksonville, FL and recall that several of the shippers provide a way monitor the shipment as to location. Regarding temperature and weather, wouldn't a national weather map give you that for the days it is on the road?
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Old 09-10-2012, 17:54   #8
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Re: Tracking Boat While Shipping

Many trucking companies use a wireless system for contacting and tracking their trucks (Quaalcomm). Others will have the drivers give check calls in the morning and/or evening. You can always have the company give you check calls. It's just customer service.
Drivers hate check calls. We tend to be a bit independent, and often feel put upon to make check calls. The electronic GPS-based units like Quaalcomm are worse, because it's like having an ankle bracelet for house arrest. Big Brother watching you all the time.

However, the cell phone tracking is a good option for you. And, a good driver will be happy to supply his cell number to you so you can call and be kept in the loop. Be sure to give him/her your number as well, and ask for an update regularly. I always call and give my number to the receiver/customer to insure they can get in touch if circumstances change, such as a crane can't make the appointment, or I am delayed and will need to reschedule.
Daily check calls are annoying for us drivers to make, but we are mostly happy to get a call. Having to make a check call just adds to your workload, getting a nice call from a boat owner would make my day. We are, after all, in a pretty lonely end of the business, and most of us don't mind getting a call to visit. Sometimes you get an old crank, but generally the drivers are decent folks that have a 'story' and are most willing to share. We aren't the Hollywood stereotypes that hang out at cathouses and pop bennies like Tic-Tacs. We put in 16 hour days, in all weather, eat crappy food (because that's what is available), and put up with knothead 4-wheelers that never had a driving lesson except from another knothead that is a 'good driver' (meaning they never got caught, or never crashed and burned). Don't get me started!!

Anyway, exchange phone numbers, ask if you can call, be pleasant, and really, some of the best customers will give the driver a good word to his company for a job well done. I've even had customers buy me supper, drinks at the bar afterwards, even had some cash miraculously appear in the truck kinda like a tip I guess.

We're not the gross, under-educated ogres most folks think. We ARE supposed to be professional. Yeah, we're gypsies at heart, and we don't play well with authority types, but we are still people.
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Old 09-10-2012, 18:11   #9
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Re: Tracking Boat While Shipping

You can buy a cheap real time GPS Tracker off Ebay (I presume Amazon too but have not checked)very cheaply. Just like a phone but waterproof and can either send signals at predetermined intervals or can be dialed to locate. Some only 48 hrs but sure to be bigger batteries.
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Old 09-10-2012, 18:11   #10
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Re: Tracking Boat While Shipping

My previous boat was shipped new by its East-Coast-USA manufacturer. It was supposed to arrive in California in 4 days, but did not. Once it was over 72 hours late, I called the manufacturer, who contacted the Florida Highway Patrol, who found my boat parked under a bridge.

It turns out the driver had been feeling ill but picked up the boat anyway. He parked it under a bridge, disconnected the trailer, and then drove home to spend the next week in bed without telling anyone.

After firing him, the shipping company provided transportation to the West Coast for free.
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Old 10-10-2012, 18:22   #11
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Re: Tracking Boat While Shipping

I can understand wanting to track the location of your valuable boat. But why the consern about weather, a little rain should not hurt it :-) and if its not frost protected before it left theres not much you can do when its on the road. Which should be done anyway if shipping at elevation or across country, where it could freeze even early in the year.
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Old 10-10-2012, 18:38   #12
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Re: Tracking Boat While Shipping

I think the Cell phone tracker would be the easy way to go, just hook it up to a battery charger then monitor it. Maybe a 2nd cheap GPS tracker off ebay incase something goes wrong. If you have not checked out the thread about the guy that has his boat being held for ransome, you should. Make sure you are dealing with a good mover and have a good contract.
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Old 10-10-2012, 19:02   #13
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Re: Tracking Boat While Shipping

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My previous boat was shipped new by its East-Coast-USA manufacturer. It was supposed to arrive in California in 4 days, but did not. Once it was over 72 hours late, I called the manufacturer, who contacted the Florida Highway Patrol, who found my boat parked under a bridge.
I once was waiting for a Main Frame computer to be delivered. The shipping company found it parked behind a motel where the driver was shacked up with a woman he picked up at a nearby bar.
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