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Old 05-11-2022, 01:59 PM   #1
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off course alarm when single handing

While I am single handing the Inside passage this summer, it is not unimaginable that I might doze off at the wheel and the auto pilot might decide to also doze. Is there any navigation iPad app that has a loud off course alarm.

Please don't respond with dumb comments like "don't fall asleep at the helm". That is not useful.

Richard
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Old 05-11-2022, 05:13 PM   #2
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Given the amount of debris that occurs in BC and lower AK, dozing with the vessel on AP set course is pretty risky. Last year there was an extremely high tide in Ketchikan area. This normally debris free stretch was a rigorous eyes wide open few hours. Then the crab pots
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Old 05-11-2022, 06:17 PM   #3
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I don't know of an off course alert as such, but one possibility would be to set a shallow water alarm based on water depth (an option at least on Garmin) and of course obstacles. I don't recall all the details but am guessing there is an audio alert option.

If I planned to go in a channel 500' deep, I might set it for 400', presumably a few minutes before hitting land (assuming it will go that high. Or whatever the max is.) Just a thought!
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Old 05-11-2022, 06:19 PM   #4
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I have wondered the same thing. I have found on my boat with garmin the shadow drive would take over setting the boat on a heading and running off course until i noticed the error. i think the shadow drive should be turned off in my case if following a course but i do like your question of off course alarms.
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Old 05-11-2022, 06:22 PM   #5
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The flip side of this could be a motion sensor to see if you stop moving such as sleeping. However this probably isn't the best because to it needs some form of delay to make it practical. You want to be able to sit in one place without moving for a few minutes or more without an alarm always going off. Being off course for a few minutes in some places would land you on the rocks. It would probably only take 10-20 seconds to get into trouble in Grenville Channel if your auto pilot decided to go hard to port or starboard. While this could work in open water I don't think it would be the best when you're around hazards.
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Old 05-11-2022, 06:34 PM   #6
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I would put the AP on Route sent from the chart plotter. Then insert way points at 5 minute intervals that must be acknowledged. The AP should make enough noise to wake you up. My Raymarine does.

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Old 05-11-2022, 06:40 PM   #7
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I use to have a Furuno GPS that would give you a steer line but may not have been designed to run an autopilot. My recollection is that on the "cross track display" page, there was an adjustable cross track error alarm. It might be worth looking through the MFD alarms and the navigation page to see if there is that alarm. Also, check your autopilot. If I shift into neutral, without disengaging the autopilot, it will eventually alarm as the boat isn't responding to the course correction commands.

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Old 05-11-2022, 06:53 PM   #8
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It’s good to consider the possibilities, but this is one I would absolutely avoid. As a single operator, if I ever felt that sleepy, the best course is to find a place to drop the anchor. Or, alter my cruising plans for shorter days.

Open any doors, hatches, windows, get that fresh air! I have autopilot but wouldn’t ever depend on an alarm to wake me. As mentioned, there is a lot of debris, not to mention other boats!! Look up video of an incident with a boat named Nap Time, which collided with a ferry near Seattle a few years ago in a similar situation.
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Old 05-11-2022, 07:00 PM   #9
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Richard - what you are looking for is a "cross track error" alarm (XTE). I don't remember exactly, but I think it may be a setting in most modern A/Ps in our class of boat. But I just don't remember exactly.

OpenCPN apparently has it as a feature. Unfortunately, I've never really bonded with OpenCPN. But here's a description.

https://opencpn.org/flyspray/index.p...s&task_id=1327

Here's something on setting various alarms.

https://www.rayglass.co.nz/logbook/2...ur-simrad-mfd/

Good luck.

Peter

Edit. Unfortunately, the second article I linked is pretty lame. I'm on my phone and search is difficult. But I'm fairly certain XTE alarm is an option in many MFDs (of you have one)
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Old 05-11-2022, 08:17 PM   #10
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Richard - I looked at my instance of Coastal Explorer (PC). Under "Alerts," CE has an XTE alarm setting. See attached screenshot. Not sure what type of nav software you're using or if you're only looking at external Apps, but the alarm you're looking at is probably out there somewhere.

Peter

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Old 05-11-2022, 08:35 PM   #11
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I just put in a new suite of Raymarine equipment on our boat. One of the things I installed was an alarm unit. It was simple as plugging it into the backbone and screwing it down. There are a bazillion alarm settings but I havenít launched yet so I havenít been able to test it out yet.
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Old 05-11-2022, 08:47 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spinner View Post
Itís good to consider the possibilities, but this is one I would absolutely avoid. As a single operator, if I ever felt that sleepy, the best course is to find a place to drop the anchor. Or, alter my cruising plans for shorter days.

Open any doors, hatches, windows, get that fresh air! I have autopilot but wouldnít ever depend on an alarm to wake me. As mentioned, there is a lot of debris, not to mention other boats!! Look up video of an incident with a boat named Nap Time, which collided with a ferry near Seattle a few years ago in a similar situation.

I dont believe the op is wanting to sleep but just another level of safty. when i am out and needing to watch for debris and pots and traffic i am not staring at my plotter. I glance now and then at depth and radar.
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Old 05-11-2022, 08:48 PM   #13
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Smartphones have a timer feature. Set a countdown time say 5 minutes. If you are awake reset it before the alarm sounds, again and again. Or eta to waypoint.
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Old 05-11-2022, 10:11 PM   #14
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Smartphones have a timer feature. Set a countdown time say 5 minutes. If you are awake reset it before the alarm sounds, again and again. Or eta to waypoint.
The dead man switch of our times. Sort of.
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Old 05-11-2022, 10:24 PM   #15
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The dead man switch of our times. Sort of.
Clearly no one saw Dealiest Catch when Sig gave a greenhorn a 15 minute kitchen/oven timer for a night watch then gave him a royal bollocking when it went off. 😁
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Old 05-12-2022, 03:30 PM   #16
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Im pretty sure my Furuno tz3 can do that but with the autopilot it won’t ever get to that hand. It does sound a course deviation alarm when I temporarily override it.
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Old 05-13-2022, 02:23 PM   #17
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Or, there is this old-fashioned but effective technique-
Back in the day, the old man would not allow a stool in the wheelhouse. When you stood watch, you literally stood watch.
Slightly less of an issue with a full long line or seine crew, at least when travelling.
Just remove that Stidd chair, and try not trip over the base.
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Old 05-13-2022, 05:12 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by rpackard View Post
While I am single handing the Inside passage this summer, it is not unimaginable that I might doze off at the wheel and the auto pilot might decide to also doze. Is there any navigation iPad app that has a loud off course alarm.

Please don't respond with dumb comments like "don't fall asleep at the helm". That is not useful.

Richard
I'm not going to look the other way from your basic "it is not unimaginable that I might doze off at the wheel."

I don't know why you say that. Most of us have driven autos and boats hundreds of thousands of miles and never done that. If you have a condition that makes that not unimaginable, then I feel for you and hope you address that. The problem to be addressed isn't the boat off course. That is a separate issue and the solutions mentioned are even good when wide awake. However, if you're inclined to fall asleep, you need medical intervention and also some form of alarm to wake you, attached to you and your body. Perhaps some of the watches or trackers can alarm. Otherwise, like the timer mentioned, perhaps set your phone to alarm every five minutes or a wrist alarm which might vibrate you awake.

Perhaps you just need to pull aside and rest regularly. When I use to travel alone by car, I made a point of taking a break every two hours. I'd get out and walk around. You can do similar on the boat. Just stop and walk around it, do your engine checks.

I'm hoping this is just you expressing extreme precaution but if you have a real concern about falling asleep at the wheel, please address that. I know you don't want to hear this concern, but I feel I would be irresponsible to not express it. You are clearly free to ignore it. Spinner gave excellent advice.
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Old 05-13-2022, 08:19 PM   #19
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I used the alarm on cell phone a few times crossing Lake Michigan...11 hour trip mostly in the dark. Checked the radar and scanned for lights between 10 minute snooze segments. Nothing but a few ore carriers out there in the middle of the night in September. Thirty minutes was enough to tide me over. Better that than nodding off unexpectedly.
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Old 05-16-2022, 12:58 PM   #20
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My Raymarine e series has an off course alarm that I cannot figure out how to turn off! between it and the AIS alarm on the radio there is little chance of anybody sleeping underway!
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