Frequently Asked Question

Below is a compilation of frequently asked question. If you can't find the answer from the FAQ below, please contact us.

General

Pricing

Import Positions and Logger Data

Developer

Electronic Logbook

Boat Supervisor

Smartphone Apps

General

What is BoatLogger?

BoatLogger is an ecosystem of website, apps, electronics and interfaces that is the jack of all trades for your boat, but has two primary functions:

  • Keeps a detailed logbook of the yachts journeys.
  • Communicates and documents life on board and the yacht itself to the whole world, your friends or just for yourself.

How do I sign up?

You sign up from the www.BoatLogger.com website. If you do not have a boat you can sign up as a guest and can then ask to get friend access to other people's yacht sites. You can also choose to sign up for a full yacht site. You then need to enter some basic information about your boat and then you are ready to configure your own yacht site in an easy and quick way.

What's the difference between "Register with Yacht Site" and "Register without Yacht Site"

If you have a boat and register on BoatLogger in order to use the site with your boat, you should register with a yacht site. That creates a homepage for your boat that you can configure and where you can collect information. You can choose to make this so called 'yacht site' (or parts thereof) visible for the general public or just for friends.

If you just register on the site to become friends of users who have their own 'yacht site', but you do not want to have a yacht site of your own, then you should choose to register without a yacht site. You can then request to become friends with other users and you can anyhow participate in the forum discussions.

How to use domain name?

You can access through the 'account settings' > 'General' > 'Site address'.

For this to work you need:

  • To purchase a domain name (for example "myBoatName.com"). This you do at sites such as name.com or similar.
  • Point something called the DNS "A" record to our server (91.123.195.203). This is basically telling the "internet telephone book" that your domain name should go to our server.
  • Enter the site address (www.myBoatName.com or similar) in your settings at 'account settings', 'General', 'Site address'.
  • Wait a day or so for the DNS record to be updated in the DNS servers

Pricing

Is BoatLogger free?

Yes, BoatLogger is free. But wait, you can also pay if you so wish. The free functionality is enough for many users and provides a good foundation to start using BoatLogger. The paid version gives you more.

What is the difference between the free and the paid version?

Simply put, the paid version has more Datapanes that you can put on your site, it enables slightly more possibilities for interaction and it is guaranteed free from advertisements. For more details please refer to www.BoatLogger.com/Feature/StartVersion

What is "Trial Pro?"

We sometimes give a user a trial period to try out the full paid functionality. This is done for a time limited period and we call this "Trial Pro". The functionality is identical to the paid version and if the user is not upgrading to a PRO account during the trial period he will simply revert back to a free user after the trial period.

Is there a time limit for the free version?

No, the free version is not time limited.

Is there a time limit for the pro version?

The paid version is a subscription model, so you remain pro for the period that you pay for (usually a year) and return to the free version if the subscription is not renewed.

What happens to my PRO content if I do not continue my paid subscription?

The content remains on the site and is not deleted. Should you later choose to upgrade to PRO again, then the content is still there to be used and seen.

Import Positions and Logger Data

What ways exists to get my position data and events into BoatLogger.com?

The following ways are currently supported to get data into BoatLogger:

  • Using one of our own logger apps for iPhone or Android operating systems. These apps record positions via the GPS and you can take pictures with the phone (that gets into the logbook) or manually add events and notes. You download these from Google Play or App Store.
  • Use the Boat Supervisor (see more in separate chapter of FAQ).
  • Record the positions to a file with a separate program or device (such as Holux GPS loggers, charting apps like Navionics, NMEA compatible GPSs etc) and upload the file in the site.
  • Use SPOT or deLorme InReach satellite loggers
  • Using apps or programs developed by independent software developers
  • Manually add the positions and events on the website
  • Write your own program that interfaces with our APIs

What loggers and programs can I use to record logger data so I can upload in the site?

The opportunities are so large that it is hard to list here. Any logger or program that generates a file format that is supported on the site can be used. Examples could be:

USB GPS plugged into a PC

These usually generate NMEA text files and this format is supported for upload.

Holux GPS

There exist many Holux loggers and they can export their data in several different file formats. An NMEA text file is one that works, but other formats could be .trl and .kml which also works.

Navionics apps

Navionics app is a popular mapping software. It can also record the track that the boat follows. This file can be imported into BoatLogger.

Smartphone apps

The apps can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play

DeLorme In Reach

GPS Tracker that sends data via satellite

SPOT

GPS Tracker that sends data via satellite

Which data formats do you support for file import?

The number of file formats that are supported grow all the time. Among those supported are text files with NMEA 0183 sentences, gpx format, xml files in kml formats or kmz formats.

You say that my file format is supported, but import does not work!

In an ideal world all file formats would be perfectly standardized and everyone would also follow the standard. That is not how the real world works! There are hundreds of variants of kml files and other formats.

BoatLogger supports many formats and variants, but the great thing is that if you find a format version that does not work, contact us and our developers will implement the support. This will benefit you as well as everyone else who uses the site!

I have data in a file format that the site does not seem to support. What should I do?

The fastest is to see if there is a converter online that convert your data into one of the formats that BoatLogger supports to input.

Another option is to try converting the data yourself e.g. to NMEA 0183 sentence.

Also feel free to send the file to us at support@BoatLogger.com and we will put it to our developers for implementation..

Then there is also always the option to download our free apps for your smartphone and use that instead as that will send the data in real time and also add other logging options.

Please give example of txt file import format?

A text file containing NMEA 0183 sentences could look as below. There are plenty of resources on the net that describes this format.

$GPRMC,111718,A,5833.997650,N,1115.123596,E,0,0,300612,,*23

$GPRMC,111738,A,5834.013214,N,1115.080280,E,0,0,300612,,*2f

$GPRMC,111800,A,5834.026031,N,1115.034733,E,0,0,300612,,*2a

$GPRMC,111821,A,5834.034500,N,1114.984837,E,0,0,300612,,*25

Please give example of kml file import format?

A sample file could be found here. Click here to download.

Please give example of kmz file import format?

Kmz files are zipped kml files and hence follow the same format as kml files.

Please give example of gpx file import format?

A sample file could be found here. Click here to download.

Developer

I know how to program. Can I write programs for BoatLogger?

Absolutely! We encourage you to do so. To start writing programs we have prepared the documentation and sample code for your reference. Download them in the link below:

Download Documentation: Download

Download Documentation for Custom Datapane: Download

Download Sample Code: Download

What program can I write for BoatLogger?

Well, the great thing is that there are no limits! It is only your imagination. The programs can run on any kind of device or computer. Usually it would be an internet connected (atleast sometimes) app so that the data exchange can take place in real time, but that is up to you. You can use any programming language you're comfortable with.

Where can I find the API documentation?

To start writing programs you need the API documentation which you download from the link below:

Download Documentation: Download

Download Documentation for Custom Datapane: Download

Download Sample Code: Download

What are the license limitations for my programs?

We do not put any license limitations from our side on your program. There could be other 3rd parties that do put license limitations on your software depending on what you use and what the program does. That responsibility is entirely with you. See further in legal terms.

If the program misbehaves or we deem that the program is not following the intention of the BoatLogger eco system we do retain the right to block access for the app.

Can I charge for the programs I develop for BoatLogger?

Absolutely. We leave that decision up to you.

Electronic Logbook

Is an electronic logbook legal to use?

First of all do note that different laws and rules apply in different jurisdictions. We do not take any responsibility for your specific case. Please check with appropriate authorities in your legislation.

We do not know of any case where BoatLogger logbook would not be legal. If you find any such case, please inform us.

There are many concerns to consider for logbooks:

  • The law. This is the minimum standard and we all must obey. This includes local legislation such as the MCA Large Yacht Code in the UK and international conventions such as SOLAS, COLREGS and MARPOL.
  • Non-compulsory codes of practice. A non-chartered yacht can for example decide to follow the MCA Large Yacht Code and perhaps even certify the yacht according to MCA though it strictly does not need to follow these rules.
  • Guidance and recommendation from various organizations such as the Royal Cruising Association (RYA), Professional's yachtsmen association and the International Chamber of Shipping.
  • Generally accepted customary practices
  • Our own requirements as owners

The items number 2 and higher are not legally required, but it could still be advisable to follow. With BoatLogger it is possible to follow all of the above and even do more.

See more at www.BoatLogger.com/Feature/MoreLegal

What are the benefits of an electronic logbook?

BoatLogger excels in all three areas that are key to a Logbook:

Record Information

Much more information is recorded in BoatLogger than in a paper logbook. The information is usually also more accurate as a lot of the human interaction is taken out of the equation.

Safeguarding

Backup is automatically done to the servers ashore and if so wish to multiple smartphones. Misplacing the logbook will also never happen.

Access information

The logbook in BoatLogger is much more accessible than with a paper logbook. Shore based parties can access the logbook and the information is presented in a very clear and legible form whether on tablet, phone or computer.

What are the drawbacks of an electronic logbook?

The key drawback with an electronic logbook is that it requires the electronics to work in order to read the logbook. Being drenched in water or being without power for long periods of time are scenarios which could be problematic. On the other hand, a paper logbook does also not like being drenched in water, so the same safeguarding principles apply.

The electronic logbook has the benefit of being easily replicated to several hand phones if needed. If you really prefer a paper version of the logbook, you can also use the LogBook Printer which can print key information on a paper.

There is also always the possibility to record down certain information by hand on a traditional piece of paper when you feel you need the extra backup.

I want the best safety and security for my logbook that I can possibly get. What should I do?

BoatLogger will work great! A good start is the smartphone apps. The optimum is to also use the Boat Supervisor with a logbook printer.

Is my data safe on the BoatLogger server?

The data exists not only on the BoatLogger server, but also on connected smartphones. In addition, we use RAID technology on our servers to ensure data is safe on the server. Should something unforeseen happen we also have backups of the data that we can read back.

Is my data private on the BoatLogger server?

BoatLogger is a lot about sharing information. You are fully in control over who sees what of the data that is send to our servers. Access is given to only yourself, you and your friends or the whole internet community - it is your choice! You control this privacy on a detailed level. You could for example choose to show some general information about your boat to everyone, some photo albums to your friends and keep the maintenance records for yourself only.

Boat Supervisor

What is the Boat Supervisor?

The Boat Supervisor is an electronic device that is permanently installed in your boat. It has several sensors on board that it uses to monitor the boat and it sends this information to the BoatLogger server. It can also connect to NMEA 2000, NMEA 0183 or SEATALK busses on the yacht to collect information from the yachts instruments. It then filters this information and sends relevant (configurable) as well to the BoatLogger server.

Do I switch the Boat Supervisor off?

It is a device that you normally never switch off. The benefit of Boat Supervisor is that it always gives you an up to date status of your boat. It takes very little power, but for safeguarding can even switch itself off completely for long periods of time or when the battery voltage goes too low.

Do I need the Boat Supervisor?

You do not need to have the Boat Supervisor in order to use the BoatLogger eco system. It is however an extra source of information that can enhance the supervision and logbook keeping to a new level.

Where can I buy the Boat Supervisor?

The catch is that right now you can not. The development is in the final stages and it will be released for sales soon. You may preregister by sending an email to boatsupervisor@boatlogger.com.

Pricing is not yet final, but the price will be around 400 USD.

What information does Boat Supervisor collect?

The information Boat Supervisor collects depends on how it is installed. The basics that will always be there is:
  • Battery charging state and battery voltage
  • Humidity and temperature on board
  • Chock movements
If connected to one of the busses (NMEA 2000, NMEA 0183, Seatalk) the information multiplies and it covers:
  • Position tracking
  • Depth
  • Speed
  • Any other selected information on the boat
You can also connect other things to the BoatSupervisor like:
  • Tank level measurements
  • Web camera (can send pictures to the server at request or when movements are detected)
  • Digital inputs (e.g. door entry contacts etc)
  • Analog inputs
  • Digital outputs (it can switch on or off AC or DC equipment like routers, heaters or alarm bells)
  • A standard GPS to track the boat if no bus connection exist

How is Boat Supervisor connected to the Internet?

It can connect in several ways. It can either be via 3G or GPRS connections (requires SIM card), or it can use existing WiFi or Ethernet on board.

How do I install the Boat Supervisor?

The installation instruction is clear and requires no special tools outside of a screwdriver and some tools to peel off cables. It should be possible to install in an hour for a person with electrical skills.

Smartphone Apps

Which devices are supported

Well, as we speak the apps are in testing and are not released. In February 2014 the apps for Android and iOS should be released.

What does the Smartphone app do?

The key functionality is to record information and send to the BoatLogger site. The GPS in the phone constantly logs the position, Galaxy phones have barometric sensors that record air pressure, you can manually very easily enter events such as sail changes, engine problems, sightings etc. If you snap a picture it can get uploaded to your logbook and shown in the right location.

The second function is ofcourse to be your logbook during the trip where you can refer back and see what happened.

Do I need internet connection all the time?

The apps actually do not need internet connection at all to work. All information is logged in the app itself and you can refer back to it.

Next time when you come in contact with civilization again, the data is uploaded from the phone onto your website.

Should you require that people on shore can follow your trips even during your ocean crossings, a satellite logger (SPOT, deLorme) or a satellite internet connection is recommended.