Maretron Vessel Data Recorder (VDR100)

Providing total omniscience for any system tied into a vessel’s NMEA2000’s network, the Maretron VDR100 is basically a black box for boats. The device lets an owner or service provider examine the status of a vessel’s systems and even alter how they operate.

Editor's Report by Capt. Greg Thornton

For more information on the Maretron VDR100, click here.


Maretron VDR100

If a boat has an NMEA 2000 network, any device connected to it can be monitored by the VDR100.

In the Fall of 2019, tested the Sharrow Propeller on Lake St. Clair in Michigan. In a realm where a 1 percent difference in efficiency is a big deal, we needed to be as accurate as possible to prove (or disprove) Sharrow’s claimed performance increases of between 9 and 15 percent. To capture the raw data, we used the VDR100. Since then, we’ve found that there could be many uses for this little device on a variety of commercial and pleasure craft.

The VDR100

Maretron VDR100

The VDR100 unit from our tests with Sharrow Engineering.

When setting up a VDR100, a user must ensure that the vessel has an NMEA2000 network. A device on the network must also be able to place an accurate time stamp on the data for proper analysis of the collected data. Not all devices on the network need to be Maretron-made.

The VDR100 is an active device programed to think for itself. When wired into a network, it will capture and store raw data based on set parameters from the other devices on the network. The information is stored directly to a 16-Gigabyte USB device plugged into the watertight VDR100.

If a captain wants to know how much fuel a vessel has been burning, how hard the engine has been run and where the boat has gone, the VDR100 can provide the data. GPS coordinates, vessel speed and course over ground are all easily monitored by the unit. Internal buffers preserve the latest recorded data and the oldest information is overwritten when the memory is full. This is preferable to the USB simply stopping the recording process when it’s full because the most recent information is retained. Obviously, a higher-capacity USB drive would prove worthwhile.

Maretron VDR100

When installing the VDR100, a user can determine the appropriate data points of information for periodic or long-term data collection and analysis.

Maretron VDR100

Depending upon the amount of data that is going to be received, the above table explains the duration-to-space ratio, showing when the collected data will need to be extracted before it’s automatically overwritten. The VDR100 comes with a 16gb flash drive that can store just under a months’ worth of continuous recording.

Data recorded. Now what?

Maretron VDR100

The above shows a basic vessel NMEA2000 network. In the center of it all is the VDR100.

After the VDR100 has recorded between one second’s and a year’s worth of vessel data, it’s time to retrieve it. For that job Maretron provides the N2KExtractor, a free software program that gives the data a graphical user interface (GUI) to view and manipulate the data. The benefit is that users can extract the time-stamped data leading up to, during and after the issue and analyze it — rather than just monitoring a single system.

Maretron VDR100

Companies that have a fleet of vessels involved in daily mission-critical operations could benefit from the VDR100 to collect real-time performance data and develop preventative measures.


Maretron VDR100

The split screen on the N2KExtractor provides a decipherable chain of events for monitoring different systems pre and post occurrence.

Through the VDR100’s solid-state memory technology, data that is captured at a rate of 463 frames per second is digitally compiled and spit out into its raw form onto a selected graphical reference. The data can be filtered but not altered, and is exportable as a comma delimited file (.csv). The N2KExtractor lets technicians see the raw data. Performance analyses, vessel tracking, preventative maintenance, warranty incidents, and accidental investigations are all potential applications for the VDR100. Because the unit is scalable, it can be used on a large variety of vessels regardless of size.

Retail Pricing

VDR100 + Software - $795.00


Maretron Options


Pursuit DC266

We’ve recently installed a VDR100 on one of our BoattestLEASING boats – the Pursuit DC266.

If a vessel is outfitted with a NMEA2000 network, and an owner or service provider wants to know things such as gas consumption, engine performance and location, the Maretron VDR100 could be the way to go. Additionally, with USB drives now capable of capturing up to a year’s worth of data, the VDR100 can be used for myriad applications.

For more information on the Maretron VDR100, click here.