Panic rooms, escape pods and drone detection: The secrets of yachts with spy worthy security

Written by Parisa Hashempour

From drone blocking force fields to motion detecting smart floors, futuristic security tech is no longer simply the stuff of your favourite James Bond film. The team at Oceanco have introduced a multitude of new features that ensures their client’s superyacht security is second to none. As Oceanco’s Marketing Director Paris Baloumis puts it, “When it comes to creating a fully bespoke superyacht, we are accustomed to the challenges of specialist requests such as these. James Bond had ‘Q’ to supply his outlandish gadgets; superyacht owners have ‘O’, aka Oceanco”.Black Pearl sailing yacht by OceancoPhoto: Tom van OossanenClearly, the team are the perfect people to ask — what should yacht owners consider when it comes to out-of-the-box superyacht safety? Here, we reveal Oceanco’s six top tips on how to get the best yacht security on board your vessel.

1. Make medical support a priority 

Remote locations are more popular than ever. However, with more of us travelling to off the beaten track locations, local medical back-up may be in short supply. Therefore, ensuring that your superyacht is fully equipped with the latest gadgets and medical tech is crucial. “The grandest and most well-equipped superyachts can be kitted out with fully functioning hospitals, manned by dedicated medical staff, to provide reassurance”, advise the Oceanco team.  

Having diagnostic kits on board means that crew or even medical professionals can link up to a remote medical line such as MedAire from International SOS when someone on board is in need of assistance. This service allows doctors to see a patient’s condition in real time and provide advice on procedures or treatment.

These days many owners kit out their yachts with oxygen tanks, defibrillators, specialised medications and intravenous fluids. According to Oceanco, a number of yachts today even offer rehabilitation machines for injuries, such as decompression chambers for those who need might need them should the situation arise. Should a patient require further medical attention, many of today’s largest yachts come complete with a helipad so medic air services can be delivered to the yacht, or a passenger can be evacuated to shore.Oceanco facility 2. Consider a citadel room

First put in place for commercial shippers dealing with emergencies, a citadel room is a safe place on board a vessel for passengers to retreat to should they receive unwanted visitors on their yacht. While an extremely rare occurrence, it can be reassuring for yacht owners to know they have a safety net, should things ever go awry. 

Citadels have their own ventilation system and water and food supplies. Inside, they are kitted out with independent, overriding access to the yacht’s navigational and satellite communications systems, so even when you don’t have access to the bridge, you can maintain full control of your yacht. Oceanco, who develop such spaces, fit out the rooms themselves with reinforced doors and ballistic protection walls. Oceanco new reception Photo: Francisco Martinez3. Have an escape plan

Working on a new concept called Life Pods, Oceanco encourages yacht owners to have a rapid escape plan in place, in case of an emergency. Describing the idea as “like crossing a lifeboat with a spaceship”, a Life Pod would be like a citadel room that can leave your yacht and head out to sea. Watertight and constructed of high-tech materials, this pod is built to resist impact. 

Oceanco’s Life Pods also feature built-in GPS trackers, temperature and fire barrier controls, as well as an air purification system. Perhaps a Life Pod is a little extreme for your tastes, but having some form of thought-out method of escape in place is essential to your on board security planning.

4. Detect Intruders from water and air 

Increasing in prevalence in recent years, drones can be a real blight on one's security and privacy. They are beloved by paparazzi, who may aim for close-up shots of your yacht’s details and guests on board.

Installing an onboard drone detection system is an effective way to combat this growing issue, and it is a request that Oceanco is increasingly receiving: “One such defence system identifies any commercial drones in operation within a 20 kilometre radius, providing GPS positions of both the drone and the pilot, as well as an indication of the drone’s heading and speed.” Once a drone is confirmed, the system engages a 500-metre-plus electronic exclusion zone around the yacht that blocks any unwanted airborne visitors.

If you are more worried about unknown submersibles and scuba divers approaching your yacht from sea, you can also implement sonar systems that detect, track and identify both divers and vehicles approaching your yacht from all angles.Tranquility yacht exteriorPhoto: Camper & Nicholsons International5. Install deterrents to combat unwanted visitors

Adding acoustic deterrents to the design of your new build, or installing them onto your yacht at a later date, is one sure-fire way to discourage unwanted visitors from boarding. A high-pitched noise is emitted from the yacht, ringing out at above the tolerance level of the average person. These systems can have a range of more than 3 kilometres and can be adjusted to broadcast commands in multiple languages.

Oceanco explains that Sonardyne’s Sentinel Intruder Detection Sonar is the world’s most widely deployed system of its kind, used by naval vessels, commercial harbours and luxury yachts alike. With a functional range of up to 900 metres for diver detection, it is man-portable, making it particularly quick to deploy. It can even be placed on a yacht’s tender and it’s developers ensure that it is environmentally friendly, so it won’t have an adverse effect on the local sea life.Bravo Eugenia yacht in shipyard 6. Make your yacht hacker-proof 

Cybersecurity is essential for your technological devices at home, and the same goes for your superyacht. As yachts become more dependent on automatic and wireless systems, it’s more important than ever to protect your yacht from cyber threats. 

Oceanco works with a range of top-tier cybersecurity professionals to ensure that its yachts are built with network protections that keep owners and crew safe.“We bring in experts from inside and outside yachting to consult on high-security projects and adopt technologies from other sectors. What’s more, we take our own security at Oceanco very seriously to maintain privacy during the construction of our yachts; the shipyard is fitted out with high-security systems, too,” says Marcel Onkenhout, Oceanco’s CEO.

If your yacht is currently operating without cyber protections, implementing some form of cyber safety system is a consideration all yacht owners should take before embarking on their next big trip. This is usually done through an initial risk assessment during the development phase of a project. However, as the landscape of yachting — and technology — evolves, all superyachts should be open to receiving ongoing upgrades.

With bulletproof windows and floors that detect and track movement, there are many more ways in which yacht owners can develop their own bespoke on board safety systems. While accidents and emergencies are few and far between, the past year has taught us that being vigilant and having plans in place is never a bad idea.

Advertisement

DAILY NEWSLETTER

Featured companies

Advertisement

Related companies

Related articles