By Ándria Morgan
The beauty of this industry is that security can be implemented in almost any place you can imagine. When we talk about security we talk about securing our businesses, schools and our homes. But what if your home was a 47ft yacht?
This is the case for Matthew Lombardi Sr., owner and general manager of ESA Member Company Absolute Security Alarms LLC. Lombardi and his wife live in Bellingham, WA while their business is in Seattle.
With an almost 100-mile commute, the Lombardi’s made a decision 11 years ago to live on their boat docked at the marina in Seattle during the week while they worked, and head back to Bellingham on the weekends. It wasn’t until recently that Lombardi had the idea to treat his Ponderosa trawler like he would his home and his business, by making sure it had a security system of its own.
“It’s got a washer/dryer, two staterooms, showers, it’s a big boat,” says Lombardi. “It’s like our apartment on the water and a great way to have affordable waterfront property in Seattle.”
Boats are prime targets for theft and vandalism, because they are oftentimes unoccupied and contain thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment that can be sold on the black market.
In the year 2017 alone, almost 5,000 watercraft thefts were reported to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). Of those roughly 5,000 thefts, 156 occurred in Washington, making it the fifth highest state for watercraft thefts.
Absolute Security Alarms, LLC has been in the alarm industry for over 30 years. They work as consumer advocates, teaching families how to buy alarm systems properly.
The company also sells a simple boat system through a division of the company called Marine Guard Yacht Security. This division has sent units all over to secure other people’s boats — including other countries.
ASA prides itself on working with the best available technologies, with controls that bring security, home automation, remote surveillance, and energy conservation in one seamless platform. So, it is no surprise that Lombardi called on his team to install his system. ASA created a fully remote controllable system that provides comfort, asset security and convenience.
On the boat, the system includes high water sensors in the bilge, thermostats, smart light bulbs to operate lighting on the boat, deck sensors that are pressure censored, and geofencing for automatic onboard temperature control upon close arrival.
“We can’t imagine sleeping on the boat without it anymore, because it would be so easy for someone to get on the back of our boat and come in and we don’t want that to happen without us knowing about it,” Lombardi says.
With today’s systems being supervised wirelessly with cellular communicators built into them, there’s very little need to drill or even run wires. The complete installation time on this project was less than two hours.
“We’re professionals, so it’s easy for us, says Lombardi. “But for others out there who would be interested in a package like this, it’s important that you have the right team and the right support.”
Theft is not the only concern for boats and why an alarm system is needed. There are natural factors to consider in monitoring a docked boat.
Lombardi shares a story about a couple in Seattle that own a 100 ft tugboat and awhile back it sank in the slip.
According to Lombardi, many boats tend to sink in their slip because water comes into them naturally, but there are bilge pumps that are supposed to pump the water right back out. When the bilge pumps fail, the boat fills up with water, gets too heavy and sinks.
“There are a lot of applications outside home and business that people should open up to,” he says.
Soon after the system was installed, Lombardi came across an unexpected benefit of the alarm system. He had to hire a mechanic to fix the boat’s engine. His mechanic charged by the hour for repairs. With the sensors on the boat, Lombardi was able to determine what time the mechanic came and the time he left, giving him an advantage when reviewing the invoice. Luckily for him, he hired an honest mechanic who billed him accordingly.
Security is more than just protecting your home from intrusion or monitoring who comes in and out of your office building. This is a true testament to what the future can hold for our industry, layering tech that caters to conveniences, into its core mission of keeping people, places and yes, boats safe. safe.