Maximising occupancy – the smart way
Marinas are gateways for boosting tourism revenue and, by functioning properly and offering a warm welcome, they have direct and positive impact on the local economy. It is, therefore, essential for harbour managers to have streamlined management systems in place that meet the needs of today’s boaters.Created in 2017, Nauticspot is a young French company based in Montpellier and Antibes in the South of France that helps marinas to optimise their management on several levels: berth supervision; safety; and economic and tourism development. Nauticspot founder, Jeremy Ladoux, realised there was a shortfall in marinas due to a lack of technology and he set sail as a pioneer in smart berth management. The company is now working with more than 60 marina partners.
From pen and paper...
to smart marinas
Ladoux first became aware that marinas were in need of a management update when he was sailing around the island of Corsica. He was looking forward to mooring up in marinas when he realised that the managers didn’t have current occupancy information so didn’t know what berths were available. This meant he either received negative replies or had to wait hours for a response to his stopover request.
He asked himself why the marina managers didn’t have berth occupancy data in real-time and set about to put this right with a system that innovates and improves the sailing experience for boaters and harbour managers. Here’s the outdated traditional system – often a five-step (minimum) process:
1 Manual inventory
A member of staff walks around the docks with pen and paper to note which berths are available or occupied. This is a time consuming task, especially at large marinas.
The same process is applied in the swing mooring area, but the staff member goes out in a boat to make the inventory and check on all the buoys. This can involve the use of fuel causing release of hydrocarbons.
2 Updating marina software
Once the inventory is finished, another manual update is needed to refresh the marina software. This will be out of date as soon as the first boat leaves the marina.
3 Calling ‘missing’ boaters
Marina staff need to contact boaters who didn’t inform them that they were leaving their berths. The management needs this information, along with the return date, so as to be able to reassign the berth when they receive stopover requests. Unfortunately, once at sea, boaters are often tough to reach.
4 More software updating
Another update is required when the departure and return dates for the ‘missing’ boaters is ascertained.
5 Check on available berths to answer stopover requests
When a berth is requested by a visiting boater, a physical check might be needed to ensure the berth is available as the morning inventory will be out of date.
This method is a recommended solution to ensure the visitor will be well-positioned. During high season, this management process is repeated a few times every day so as to reach maximum berth occupancy.
Achieving maximum berth occupancy
Nauticspot helps marinas to achieve maximum occupancy by offering a smart management system. Smart sensors to detect the presence or absence of a boat at each berth are wireless, fixed to the docks, and linked either to Nauticspot software or pre-existing software e.g. Harbour Assist, Pandora, SmartWater, Seaport and others.
The software displays an interactive map, creating new opportunities to boost income from transient boaters, and collects different types of data. Boaters are guaranteed to find their berth available when they return to port and, to take things even further by providing a high level of security, a signal is sent to the boater when the boat leaves its berth.
Nauticspot has continued to innovate in real-time berth supervision with a brand new solution called Marina View. This computer vision solution comprises synchronised cameras working with AI to supervise the water area, detecting identified events like boat departures or arrivals. This solution can be extended to other applications e.g. intrusion detection or speed control in order to reduce incidents in the marina basin.
Marina View is tailor made for the marine environment and offers the following:
• Certified quality IP68
• 1 berth = 1 sensor
• Wireless ioT system
• Quick to install features
• Encrypted Lo-Ra network
• Long-range and low consumption signal
• Ultra-resistant materials (anti-vandalism and impact protection)
• 5-year warranty
• A mobile app
The mobile app
The Nauticspot app enables all administrative tasks to be accomplished remotely. From the dashboard, staff can manage all the information released to users as in a digital marina. A safety module helps to ensure boater safety. The marina manager can also promote the destination by highlighting events, activities etc. The app is branded with the name of the marina or harbour entity - “Port de Saint-Tropez”, “Marina de Valencia”, “SPL Ports de Menton”.
The mobile app is also supported by presence sensors – when a boater leaves a berth, he receives a mobile alert no later than 20 minutes after departure. He is invited to respond, giving his return date before he is out of contact when at sea. The harbour office is thus automatically informed about berth availability and can increase visitor berth capacity.
The marina manager receives statistics relating to navigation flows that can be used to change perspective and better improve management. For example, some marinas establish incentive schemes to reward the most active sailors.
Optimising management benefits
Marinas are now taking full advantage of technology that was previously reserved for very specific industries. IoT (Internet of Things) brings a better quality service offering to yachtsmen while also reducing marina management costs. Optimising marina management is the best way to boost marina activity and enhance the attractiveness of coastal cities.
Here’s how smart marinas benefit by installing Nauticspot equipment:
• Reduced costs
Berth and mooring field real-time supervision saves times and can reduce fuel costs.
Real-time supervision increases marina berth capacity and efficiency, and available berths can be quickly assigned to visitors. Thanks to the mobile app, boaters can tell the office when they are leaving and returning with just two clicks. The marina office knows the precise availability period for each berth.
• Economic solution
The cost of purchasing a presence sensor is covered by revenue from the very first visitor to each berth; an immediate return on investment.
• Circular and blue economy upgrading
By increasing berth capacity, Nauticspot boosts local tourism and enhances nearby economic development.