I spent the afternoon with ECRuff Marine and Dockmate to see what it takes to install and use the latest dock assist remote control from Dockmate.
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: Hey Sarah O’ Kelly here with Skipper’s Review TV and I am on location with ECRuff Marine and dockmate. We are actually in Naples Florida on a 58-foot Absolute yacht. EC Ruff has installed a dock assist remote control. Basically this remote gives access to all your equipment that’s needed to dock your boat but with the luxury of being able to leave the helm. I’m gonna let dockmate fill us in a little bit more on what is different about this particular remote as opposed to other ones out on the market.
DOCKMATE: How you doing Sarah, good to see you, thanks for having us. So we got Nikko here, one of our great dealers EC Ruff Marine, did the installation on this boat. This boat has Volvo IPS drives and a side power on/off thruster.
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: So tell me a little bit about dockmate, how is it different to install or use than any other remote that’s out on the market at the moment?
DOCKMATE: So dockmate is a completely plug-and-play product.
What is plug and play and what’s so great about it?
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: I’ll stop you right there, what does that mean, plug-and-play?
DOCKMATE: So it basically means that we don’t cut any wires, we don’t splice any wires. We plug right into the existing wiring harness that’s already on the boat. We have pre-made cables for every product that we use. So for side power and and Vitas and you know Volvo Penta everything is plug-and-play.
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: If you could give us a quick demo, we’re obviously away from the helm.
DOCKMATE: Let’s do it. We’re gonna turn this baby on. We got control. We’re gonna… you’ll see the background move a little bit. Now I just put the remote in reverse and you can see us move in a bit. We go forward you can see that. We can twist the boat as well. You can probably hear the engines moving. See us twisting a bit right? We want to make sure we see stay clear of the side and everything here. We also can operate the thruster and then we have the the anchor, and the horn as well.
ECRuff Marine did the installation here in Naples, Fl on this Absolute Yacht. So I’m going to engage the DPS and we’re back engaged.
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: What we’re gonna see next I think, is Nico’s actually gonna dock the boat using the remote We’ll see how that goes.
We just saw the boat being docked by the dockmate remote. How does the remote communicate with all the main systems?
How does the remote connect with the main systems on the boat?
DOCKMATE: This is a transceiver so it actually transmits and receives. It has a light here to let you know that it’s in communication. We use some special technology called frequency, hopping, spread spectrum which means the system uses five different channels of the four 33 megahertz frequency range simultaneously. It’s hopping five times a second. It really means there are no dead spots on the boat. No loss of communication and our range is like a hundred and fifty feet. You could really go on any edge of the boat and still have full communication.
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: Say the bow thruster stops or one of the engines stop, you’re on the deck, you’re maneuvering your boat and one of the main, crucial, systems craps out let’s say. Okay, politely, what are you gonna do?
DOCKMATE: This plugs into the existing systems on the boat so you know if something fails on the boat then it’s also gonna fail on the remote.
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: Can you adjust the speed of the engine from say low power, high power is that adjustable or is it just a standard this is what it is?
DOCKMATE: Yeah so that’s where the dockmate is very different than any of the other products out right now. The more you push it forward the more throttle you’re gonna get. If the boat is equipped with proportional thrusters they’re gonna work the same way. The more you move the joystick the more it’s gonna thrust. That’s very unique and that’s something that is especially unique with the dockmate.
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: Okay, so let me understand this…normally, on any other system you have one option of let’s say 0 to 25, that’s it, that’s all you get. With dockmate it can be adjusted to go from zero to forty five if you wanted too, or you can keep it at zero to 25? Is that what you’re saying?
Can I have different levels of thrust while using the remote control?
DOCKMATE: So if the boat has proportional thrusters, absolutely. We have our next generation software that can dial in how much thrust you want. If a boat has a bow thruster and a stern thruster, you know that the bow is always gonna overtake the stern, right. We can dial down the bow thruster so that the boat moves exactly even. Our customized software can give the personal touch to this joystick.
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: That’s unique to this dock assist remote?
DOCKMATE: Yes it’s unique to ours. Our next generation software is cutting-edge. You literally can change all the little parameters on the joystick.
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: Where is it originally designed?
DOCKMATE: The product originates in Belgium, been around for eight years and we’ve been in business here in the United States for two years.
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: How is it doing?
DOCKMATE: It’s doing phenomena. Yeah so more often than not people don’t know that the technology exists. We tend all the the main boat shows locally and nationwide. We also offer a money-back guarantee so… 30 days has satisfaction guarantee. We’ve never had anybody take us up on it but we’ll see how it goes.
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: Well Mark, thank you so much and good luck.
DOCKMATE: Thank you very much Sarah I appreciate it.