À la uneJeune Marine N°257

SafePilot® Apple Watch


Digitalisation and technological advance in the maritime sector have allowed high precision navigation systems to become more commonplace and – over the past few years reducing in size and cost.

As navigational officers we have moved from purely chart based – to a blend of digital and paper – and now on some vessels – almost exclusively digital. The days of hundreds of chart corrections on some faraway archipelago barely touched by mankind never mind a vessel – all whilst maintaining a navigational watch are a thing of the past for some.

Digital navigation systems have shrunk from cabinet sized, overheating, dust grabbing bridge systems – to small portable – even handheld systems.

Trelleborg Marine Systems started life as Marimatech Denmark – and have focused their products on the needs of marine pilots for the past 2 decades. Realising that with the reduction in size and weight of navigation systems – Trelleborg now design and build pocket size navigation systems based around the Apple iPad. One or two small antenna that fit in pilots pockets – are carried by the pilot, even whilst climbing their favourite safely fitted ladder – with or without man ropes dependent upon personal preference of course!


The SafePilot® system antenna talk via wi/fi to the pilots iPad – giving high accuracy (up to 1cm) position, speed, heading and also the jewel in the crown – vessel predictions. The vessel predictions using various algorithms to provide a visual representation of how the vessel will behave based on its current movement. This allows pilots to predict how the vessel will respond during pilotage – pre-empting any issues that may occur.

SafePilot® © Andy NATTRAS

Many modern ports now make the use of Portable Pilot Systems (PPU) mandatory, with an ability to record and maintain records, tracks, routes etc from a shore side setup. Live weather, tides, airgaps etc can be used by the units – providing real time information as and when needed. Pilotage transits such as the Panama Canal ensure that all their pilots use SafePilot® to maintain standards.

SafePilot® © Andy NATTRAS

With the introduction of the Apple Watch in the past few years – Pilot departments became interested in ways of utilising the watch to act as a repeater for the SafePilot®. In conjunction with our pilotage development team – Trelleborg Marine – produced an App – readily available in the Apple App Store – that would sync the SafePilot® PPU information to the watch – allowing Pilots to remain with vital, critical information to hand – even when stepping away from Bridge console or even away from their own iPad screen. Nowadays the Apple Watch app is used by busy pilots across the world – providing further re-assurance of the data to hand – at a quick glance without interruption to their task. The SafePilot® app has 2 modes – a mode for passage navigation and mode for docking – each giving relevant detail such as cross track error, distance from berth, docking speed/angles etc. The app gives pilots the freedom to move around the entire bridge, interacting with crew whilst maintaining critical data literally in his hand.

Moving into 2021 – Trelleborg Marine Systems Denmark continue to design and develop the highest precision, and lightest Navigation systems – with further exciting products to soon enter the market.

If you would like to experience SafePilot® – Trelleborg are happy to send out demo units to French ports – please contact andy.nattrass@trelleborg.com if you would like to test (free of charge) or visit www.safepilot.eu

SafePilot® © Andy NATTRAS




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