Vessel Vanguard

Vessel Vanguard, boats in a marina, slips

There isn’t a boat in this photo that wouldn’t benefit from a subscription to Vessel Vanguard.

Editor’s Report by Eric Colby

Boats have never been as complex as they are today. Many generate their own electricity, make their own water, dispose of their own waste, have satellite and telecommunications and so much more. To help an owner manage all these systems, there’s Vessel Vanguard, a software program that has digitized virtually every piece of boating equipment used on commercial and pleasure vessels including maintenance schedules, parts lists, owners’ manuals, warranties and telephone numbers for assistance. All this data is in a program that’s accessible from a computer or smartphone. When an owner purchases a subscription, Vessel Vanguard essentially takes over as the manager of his boat.

The Back Story

In 2017, Vessel Vanguard owner/founder Rick Heine left the aviation industry and he and his wife purchased a boat after it received a clean survey. In a video on the Vessel Vanguard website, Heine called their first year of ownership “a nightmare” as the couple faced repair after repair when troubles popped up.

The marine industry has operated on a bit of an “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” approach, waiting until a piece of equipment fails before dealing with it. Among the services that Vessel Vanguard provides is monitoring equipment and warning an owner when it is experiencing problems so a replacement can be scheduled for a time that works for everyone. “We decided that maybe we have to make the boating world as reliable as aircraft,” said Heine.

The Family

Vessel Vanguard LTE is a custom management program that lets a boat owner create custom maintenance schedules, provides digital manuals of every piece of equipment on board, tracks warranty status, manages parts lists, provides standard checklists and reports for service performed and supplies integrated telematics data. 

For a subscription price of $499 per year, a boat owner gets all the items mentioned above plus a mobile app, 24/7/365 live customer support, Salesforce-powered online support, access to more than 100,000 equipment profiles and manuals and customizable user preferences. A subscriber can check on his boat from a computer, tablet or smartphone.

Vessel Vanguard LTE, boat monitoring, automated maintenance

The idea behind Vessel Vanguard LTE is to keep a boat in top working order by monitoring all maintenance and staying ahead of it.

Vessel Vanguard Pro is for larger private and commercial yachts. It has all the same services offered with LTE and the upgrade to Pro for $999/year adds inventory reports, fleet management that could be good for charter operations, an interactive maintenance dashboard as well as customizable maintenance. An owner can have custom maintenance and inventory reports created and work orders and equipment supplies are managed with an interactive dashboard. 

Whether they’re used for private or charter use, yachts need to be stocked with supplies. Vessel Vanguard manages purchase orders and tracks expenses. For vessels that travel internationally, customs forms can be maintained and electronic signatures are kept on file. The captain can also create his own management report.

Vessel Vanguard, Vessel Vanguard app, Laptop, iPad, smartphone

Dashboards for a variety of categories can be tracked on laptops, tablets or smartphones.

Finally, Vessel Vanguard Pro+ is for regulated vessels. The subscription goes up to $2,999 annually and provides all the services of the Pro level plus Compliance management, regulatory adherence, incident management and SMS compliance dashboards and reporting.

Vessel Vanguard Inventory page, inventory checklist

Need to know how many spark plugs are on board? Vessel Vanguard can keep track.

To further customize services, a subscriber to any of the three programs can add optional telematics hardware as well as an additional subscriber and service-center user. LTE subscribers can add a tender while unlimited fleet tracking size is available for Pro and Pro+ members. The basic enrollment fee is included in all subscriptions and a user can upgrade to an enhanced enrollment.

Formula boats, Vessel Vanguard, 5-year subscription

Formula Boats provides a five-year subscription to Vessel Vanguard with all new models sold.

Who’s Who

Vessel Vanguard has partnered with many boat manufacturers who supply the subscription to the service with their new models. The list of partners includes Formula Boats, Summit Yachts, Kady Krogen, Krogen Express, Outer Reef and Xquisite Yachts among others. BoatUS is an industry partner while GPLink is the telematics partner supplying remote monitoring of engine and generator parameters, auxiliary systems, electrical power, smoke alarms and bilge-water levels.

Siren Marine provides connected-boat technology that lets an owner monitor his boat and systems remotely. Vessel Vanguard has partnered with BoatTEST contributor Steve D’Antonio, an American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC) Master Technician, to offer a pre-purchase inspection program for boats. He goes through a boat and points out anything that could be an issue or become one down the road. The Vessel Vanguard website has a full library of D’Antonio’s videos and articles on a variety of subjects ranging from oil testing and analysis to corrosion prevention and improving boat performance.

Steve D'Antonio Marine Consulting, SteveD Marine

Noted marine industry expert Steve D’Antonio has partnered with Vessel Vanguard to offer his knowledge to subscribers. He’s also a contributor to BoatTEST.

Finally, Vessel Vanguard has partnered with SeaKits, a supplier of marine-emergency equipment packages. Anyone who schedules a Vessel Vanguard demonstration can enter to win a SeaKits Essentials kit.