Rose Point Navigation Systems, Redmond, Wash., is to launch its Rose Point ECS Fleet Services feature on July 1. The solution has been beta testing since January of 2020 and is currently being trialed on several inland waterways and coastal fleets around the country.
Joe Sluka, commercial marine sales director for Rose Point Navigation Systems, says the new Rose Point ECS Fleet Services will improve fleet management from a shoreside aspect. He says that the new set of features will provide access to information for many departments in a fleet, including compliance, crew dispatch, vessel dispatch, customer service, warehousing, and accounting.
ENHANCED REAL-TIME TRACKING
The new Rose Point ECS Fleet Services has enhanced tracking. In the past, the tracking of vessels has been an exercise in locating individual vessels and placing them on the chart. Now, the enhanced offering allows the tracking to show the future points of interest and ETAs to each point. Going beyond “tracking at a glance,” Rose Point ECS Fleet Services allows a dispatcher, port captain, provisioning, crew management or maintenance personnel to know where they have to be in the future to meet the vessel or plan for maintenance.
Rose Point says that while there are other apps that can give an operator or port captain an idea of where vessels in their fleet are, “they can’t tell you everything the vessel did along its route or report possible problem areas, including traffic or incidents on the water.”
“You can see an actual track of where the vessel has been,” says Sluka. “You can see whether the boat has sat idle and how fast it was going. There are logs of all activity in the past, too, so you can check on yesterday’s activity and so on. It shows every turn, move, pause, etc.”
Additionally, the new real-time tracking feature shows users the tow the boat has, gives them route details—including where navigation ended and when—shows bridges along the route with info coming from the Corps of Engineers, and more.
The tracking also includes flood stages for the region, barge configuration, locks, bridges and river miles listed along the route so that it is clear to those viewing the vessel’s movement what the safety conditions of the waterway are and what obstacles may be approaching.
“Another useful feature, which is still under development, is that Rose Point ECS Fleet Services will allow vessel operators to track their routes for the federal and state taxable zones in the U.S. waterways,” says Sluka. “We are building a system that shows federal and state taxable waterways in the United States. You can see real-time tracking to see when a boat entered and exited the taxable waterway and how far they went inside that tax zone using meters, kilometers, miles, etc. It shows how many hours it took to travel in and out of that tax zone, which is cost-effective to users. If you spend less time in those zones, it’s less money. It’s also useful for government audits, and fuel flow monitoring systems can talk to Rose Point to tell us how many gallons you burn while you’re in that zone. All of that is reported in a .csv file for your accountants.”
When entering a taxable waterway, the captain is often responsible for noting the time of entry. He or she then calls a deckhand to measure how much fuel is in the fuel tank upon entry and exit of that taxable zone. “This can lead to distractions during transit of a busy area, when the captain has to also watch out for traffic and other hazards, so there’s an element of safety, too,” says Sluka. “It takes the tasks off their hands. There are several other features in this new product release. So, the goal is to be an all-in-one product.”
Another feature of the updated software is its messaging capability. Fleet Services supports messaging from the port captain to the vessels with delivery confirmation and read confirmation. If an important message needs to go to the vessel, Rose Point says it can be done in a way that allows confirmation that the message was delivered and read by the captain.
The company also says the software’s track and sensor data may be retrieved from a vessel directly from the home office. This helps with forensic analysis of a vessel’s trip or the creation of “safe routes” based on a prior trip.
A customer-requested feature now included in the updated software is Vessel Groups. This allows users to see their fleets that have vessels operating in diverse areas with different needs for these subgroups. Vessels with different navigational requirements, such as different types of electronic charts and navigational overlays, but that don’t want to see messaging that applies to other regions, can benefit from this feature.
According to Rose Point, a port captain wants to view only his or her sub-fleet and manage those vessels without the confusion of others that he or she is not responsible for. Sub-fleets is a way to view and manage only a portion of the overall fleet. There are still views that allow for viewing all vessels, but navigation overlays, messaging, chart selection, and tracking can be scoped to a sub-fleet making management much simpler and clear to the port captain.