by Dom Wiseman

Docking a boat is often one of the most stressful experiences for any boat owner. The latest DockSense technology from Raymarine was designed to make the docking experience more fluid for any captain. Prestige Yachts, part of the Groupe Beneteau, has been announced as the first to demonstrate the new technology.

DockSense system uses FLIR machine vision camera technology and video analytics to integrate intelligence gathered from surrounding imagery with the vessel’s propulsion and steering system, to assist boat owners in tight quarter docking manoeuvring.

The DockSense system is designed to boost boat handling skills, using the system’s Virtual Bumper zone technology around the vessel. Docking mistakes can be not only stressful, but dangerous and costly. The DockSense system is designed to kick in, in the case that an object, like another vessel, enters the space of the Virtual Bumper. If this occurs, DockSense automatically introduces corrective steering and throttle commands to avoid the object and assist the captain in guiding the vessel to the dock.

“Our goal is to be the global benchmark for all boating experiences,” said Hervé Gastinel, CEO of Groupe Beneteau. “The Raymarine DockSense solution will give future Prestige owners the confidence to dock safely and aligns with our vision to simplify the boating experience and make boating accessible to a much larger audience”, confirms Erik Stromberg, Prestige product marketing director.

The Raymarine DockSense system includes multiple FLIR machine vision cameras, a central processing module, and the DockSense App running on Raymarine’s Axiom navigation display. DockSense technology uses global positioning system (GPS) and attitude heading reference system (AHRS) position sensing technology to respond to the complications presented by changes of wind and currents. The technology will ensure that the vessel docks expertly and safely every time. The DockSense system integrates with modern joystick propulsion systems, providing assisted steering and throttle commands to help captains arrive back to dock safely every time they hit the water.