Remote Monitoring Systems: Three Top Picks

Just how safe is your boat when it’s sitting at the dock? Remote monitoring systems add peace of mind and a sense of security. 

You want to know where your boat is at any given time? How many times the bilge pumps have kicked on in the past 24 hours? What your battery charge levels are? With a remote monitoring system and a few swipes on the screen of your phone you’ll know all this and much, much more. Recently there have been some new entries in the field as well as some upgrades from existing options — here are our three top picks among the most modern systems. 

Siren Marine Siren 3 Pro 

Siren has evolved to become the gold standard in marine remote monitor and control systems. 

Siren Marine is one of the most well-established players in this niche, and has become something of the gold standard in marine remote monitoring and control. So much has been happening with this company recently that the development of outboard IoT via their partnership with Yamaha Marine made our list of top Boating & Fishing Tech in 2021. You can learn more about Siren system details in Smart Boat Tech Offers Peace of Mind, but in a nutshell it has all the remote monitoring capabilities one expects from a top-shelf system, ranging from bilge pump alarms to geofencing, with notifications received via text or email and monitoring and/or remote digital switching via their app. The system takes things a step or three farther than most, however, with 4G/5G compatibility, satellite compatibility for tracking outside of cell range, and NMEA 2000 backbone compatibility. 

Visit Siren Marine to learn more. 

Read Next: Choosing the Best Autopilot

Boat Command 

Boat Command is a 3G cellular-based remote monitor system with some basic control abilities when switching relays are added. Like most systems the user interface is an app, and notices are sent via email and/or text. While it’s not as comprehensive as some competitors, installation is easy and the system costs significantly less than most other options. Starting MSRP is just $299 for the hardware and it’s $79 for the annual data subscription. That’s about half of what you’d spend on many remote monitoring systems. Plus, note that regardless of the manufacturer, most packages require adds and upgrades such as additional sensors or relays to gain their full utility. So, the base Boat Command system will, in some cases, do more than a basic system that can cost a whole lot more. 

Small, simple, and inexpensive, Boat Command is an excellent option for a basic remote monitor and control system. 

The downside to going the less expensive route is less expandability in the system. Rather than include a collection of sensors, this system gets wired to existing switches (such as a bilge pump float switch) and switching relays can be added for remote control ($50 per). Temperature, shore power, and door switch sensors can also be added to the base package.  

Visit Boat Command to learn more. 

Glomex ZigBoat 

The Glomex ZigBoat is a bit different in that it uses WiFi and an internet connection to do the communicating. As a result, there’s no monthly cellular subscription fee — buy the hardware and you’re all set. Basic kits go for around $600 and you can build a comprehensive system while staying under $1,000 if you don’t intend to add video camera monitoring. As usual, triggers like a high-water alarm or an entry alarm going off send alerts via SMS messaging. Added bonus: All of the sensors are wireless, so installation is uber-easy. Double-added bonus: there’s no limit on the number of sensors you can add and once you have the Gateway unit, you can build onto the system as much as you want at any time.  

Unlike most systems, ZigBoat talks via the internet rather than being cellular-based.

The downside? If your boat isn’t already set up with a WiFi link you’ll need to bring one aboard. And if your boat only has a local WiFi connection its useability is limited to that connection’s range. So, while this will prove to be an attractive option for people who already have WiFi onboard, the total cost of setting up a boat that doesn’t have WiFi may well go beyond that of competing systems plus several years’ worth of subscription fees. 

No matter how large or small your boat may be, chances are that one of these three systems will fit the bill for remote monitoring and control. And once it’s in place, you can rest easy knowing that your fishing machine will be safe and sound until your next voyage. 

Lenny Rudow …has been a writer and editor in the marine field for over two decades, and has authored seven books. He is currently the Angler in Chief at Rudow's FishTalk Magazine, is Electronics and Fishing Editor for BoatUS Magazine, and is a contributing editor to several other publications. His...