By Ben Ellison
KVH SSAS eTrac
The world has a new commercial marine security system, and yachts can participate. In an effort to combat piracy and terrorism, the International Maritime Organization came up with the Ship Security Alert System (SSAS), the nautical equivalent of a bank teller’s silent panic button. The idea, unlike “normal” marine distress calls, is to quietly alert the authorities without the knowledge of others onboard or even on nearby vessels. The U.S. Coast Guard likes the idea so much that as of July 1, all ships over 500 gross tons entering our waters will be required to have a system.
Naturally, several companies are producing SSASs; KVH’s is a clever modification of its compact and reliable eTrac Inmarsat mini-C satellite system. This $3,295 version comes with two panic buttons that can be installed up to 165 feet away from an interconnection box. The six-inch-high antenna, as always, contains the whole transceiver and a 12-channel GPS and may be used for regular vessel tracking and/or light e-mail. There is no monthly service fee, just a per-message charge. But if bad guys come aboard anywhere in the world, touching that red button will send an alert with your identification and exact location to an international network of security organizations.
KVH Industries Phone: (888) 584-4163. www.kvh.com.
This article originally appeared in the April 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.