Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on Cruisers Forums. Advertise Here
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 13-09-2019, 23:50   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: San Francisco Bay
Posts: 207
WhatsApp for Boats?

I have this app idea that I have had for quite a while and I can't get it out of my mind, so I want to test the waters for potential interest.

Basically, it's a messaging app for boats, using MMSI or call sign or IMO, whichever is available. So you register by using your MMSI/callsign/IMO, and others can reach you with that from anywhere in the world, or vice versa.

Why I like this is because I need it myself. I am a weekend cruiser, we have full time day jobs and we visit the boat on the weekends. Boat is always in a marina further and further south. So when I sit at home after work, I can't stop watching sailboats cruising around the world on Marine Traffic. And more often than not, I want to reach them, hear their stories, exchange messages, etc. And there is no way to do so (maybe SSB but...).

Anyhow, I can build the app. The question is, would it be serving any meaningful purpose? Is there a need or am I just day dreaming?
__________________

Tenedos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-09-2019, 00:13   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Marina del Rey
Boat: Hunter 31
Posts: 987
Re: WhatsApp for Boats?

It exists, it is called Earthmate from Garmin now.
__________________

Pizzazz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-09-2019, 00:41   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: New Zealand
Boat: 50 Bavaria
Posts: 1,412
Re: WhatsApp for Boats?

I don't understand why you can't simply message them? The boats I want to chat to I do on iMessage.
Tillsbury is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-09-2019, 01:54   #4
Registered User
 
Franziska's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Panschwitz, Germany
Boat: Woods Mira 35 Catamaran
Posts: 1,493
Re: WhatsApp for Boats?

Because he wants a way to message boats of whom he has no other contact info than the IMO or MMSI.

If one subscribes to the app and keys in one of these, you could contact the other part if they are a subscriber too.

Interesting idea.
Franziska is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-09-2019, 04:03   #5
Registered User
 
gabilo's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Mediterranean
Boat: CT-47
Posts: 161
Re: WhatsApp for Boats?

Would I really want to receive messages from strangers just because they are bored and watch MarineTraffic ?
gabilo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-09-2019, 04:56   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 7,121
Re: WhatsApp for Boats?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gabilo View Post
Would I really want to receive messages from strangers just because they are bored and watch MarineTraffic ?
X2

Really need a more useful purpose before I would consider signing up.
valhalla360 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-09-2019, 05:18   #7
Registered User
 
Franziska's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Panschwitz, Germany
Boat: Woods Mira 35 Catamaran
Posts: 1,493
Re: WhatsApp for Boats?

Guess it's a choice. If you don't want to answer or participate just ignore the messages or don't even bother to sign up..

Would very much offer itself to become a Marinetraffic feature...
Franziska is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-09-2019, 06:36   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 360
Re: WhatsApp for Boats?

How are you planning to interface with the MMSI on the hardware side?
kevinof is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-09-2019, 07:20   #9
Registered User
 
CatNewBee's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2017
Boat: Lagoon 400S2
Posts: 2,732
Images: 3
Re: WhatsApp for Boats?

Look at Noforeignland.Com, http://www.noforeignland.com it has a chat function, a rudimentary forum, but lots of information on anchorages, facilities and yachts cruising around. You can follow them and contact them when anchoring nearby for a chat or a sundowner. Nice socializing plattform with some value-add.

It uses findvessel, marinetraffic and also manual position updates and satellite position updates for tracking and sharing with friends, you can follow your buddies online and more.
__________________
Lagoon 400S2 refit for cruising: LiFeYPO4, solar and electric galley...
CatNewBee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-09-2019, 08:30   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: San Francisco Bay
Posts: 207
Re: WhatsApp for Boats?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pizzazz View Post
It exists, it is called Earthmate from Garmin now.
It looks like this is linked to InReach?
Tenedos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-09-2019, 08:37   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: San Francisco Bay
Posts: 207
Re: WhatsApp for Boats?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gabilo View Post
Would I really want to receive messages from strangers just because they are bored and watch MarineTraffic ?
It's a fair point but you don't need to. At a high level, it is not much different than VHF (and phone) in some ways.

When you are in VHF range, people can hail you or call you direct if you have DSC. Granted, this is likely something "serious" but it is not always.

Now imagine you can be hailed when you are outside of VHF range or you can hail someone outside of the VHF range. If you don't want it, you disable it or don't answer it or limit to X miles around you.

Let's say you are at an anchorage and would like to get info for another anchorage/marina that is a day sail away and want to ping fellow cruisers before you go there. What is your option today?
Tenedos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-09-2019, 08:43   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: San Francisco Bay
Posts: 207
Re: WhatsApp for Boats?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinof View Post
How are you planning to interface with the MMSI on the hardware side?
This is a good question. If the boat in question has AIS transmitter it can be used.

During the registration process with MMSI, app gives a unique key for some value transmitted over AIS (could be length, could be beam, name (say you change it to "Tenedos (XYZ)" for 10 min), vessel type, etc.) that can be temporarily changed on AIS settings at anchor (need to make sure it won't cause a navigation hazard and it is not illegal, this is just a thought for now).

Once that value is changed for 5-10 minutes, app detects it via land based AIS receivers and confirms the association and the temporary change can be reverted.
Tenedos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-09-2019, 12:32   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Marina del Rey
Boat: Hunter 31
Posts: 987
Re: WhatsApp for Boats?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tenedos View Post
I have this app idea that I have had for quite a while and I can't get it out of my mind, so I want to test the waters for potential interest.

Basically, it's a messaging app for boats, using MMSI or call sign or IMO, whichever is available. So you register by using your MMSI/callsign/IMO, and others can reach you with that from anywhere in the world, or vice versa.

Why I like this is because I need it myself. I am a weekend cruiser, we have full time day jobs and we visit the boat on the weekends. Boat is always in a marina further and further south. So when I sit at home after work, I can't stop watching sailboats cruising around the world on Marine Traffic. And more often than not, I want to reach them, hear their stories, exchange messages, etc. And there is no way to do so (maybe SSB but...).

Anyhow, I can build the app. The question is, would it be serving any meaningful purpose? Is there a need or am I just day dreaming?
Yes, I had the Inreach in mind for sms like communication. But, if you can build an app, one thing that I find very useful is to use DSC messaging as you describe. This can be done over VHF (difficult) or SSB (limited market).

Today you can DSC from radio to radio over either VHF or SSB. Both are incredibly difficult to use, you have to enter the MMSI, scroll through many menus than enter text character by character - forget about it. The way it works is that the text is encoded in a specific way then I think it uses a scheme close to SITOR B and transmitted over VHF channel 70 or selected SSB channels.

The codec's are widely available, there is one written in C on github, I can find it if you want, it works on both SSB and VHF. It would be ideal to write an app for the phone where you can enter text as you will, select certain options from pull down menus then have the app encode and send the audio to the radio. With a little bit of tweaking you can add the PTT signal as well, so that the phone can key in the radio to transmit, as well as selecting the frequency in case of SSB. I think it pretty much adding a user interface around the codecs and some serial/bluetooth interfacing. A PC app already exists, it is called PersonalDSC.

That being said, I would estimate the market size at 500 users who may or may not pay $39-$49 for the app. I would consider it more of a project than anything... or if you develop it well for Android, you could sell the code to Raymarine.

Good luck, happy to discuss from an investment point of view.

SV Pizzazz
Pizzazz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-09-2019, 12:35   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: San Francisco Bay
Posts: 207
Re: WhatsApp for Boats?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pizzazz View Post
That being said, I would estimate the market size at 500 users who may or may not pay $39-$49 for the app. I would consider it more of a project than anything... or if you develop it well for Android, you could sell the code to Raymarine.
Thank you, this is really is a free app concept for communication among fellow boaters. As you also suggest, I don't see a reasonably sized market for this to be commercial.
Tenedos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-09-2019, 13:05   #15
Registered User
 
CatNewBee's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2017
Boat: Lagoon 400S2
Posts: 2,732
Images: 3
Re: WhatsApp for Boats?

If it is an app, I think, communication will go over the internet instead DSC VHF or SSB. So the other party needs Internet too to receive the call. There are a lot of messengers around doing it. What you nred is an address book entry with vessel name. MMSI, call sign, IMO. Callsign, IMO are technically useless and vessel name is for the human brain only.

You cannot call using VHF out of range any way. So your only option is to use a common communication layer, likely the Internet or direct calling the phone number in your address book.
__________________

__________________
Lagoon 400S2 refit for cruising: LiFeYPO4, solar and electric galley...
CatNewBee is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
boat

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Skype and Whatsapp in Europe wmcruiser Liveaboard's Forum 6 16-08-2014 07:15

Advertise Here


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 20:32.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.