Vesper Marine was not much more than a ‘start-up’ company when it first came to Procreate. Jeff Robbins had developed the AISWatchMate, a collision warning system for vessels using the Universal Shipborne Automatic Identification System (AIS) to display data from all AIS-equipped vessels in the vicinity. These AIS transponders transmit data on the position and movement information on all AIS-equipped vessels in the vicinity, including course, speed, latitude, longitude, and rate of turn every few seconds over two dedicated digital marine VHF channels.

The AISWatchMate sounds an alarm whenever a ship is detected that will come dangerously close. Even though the ship may still be many miles away, you’re alerted immediately with the closest point of approach (CPA) and the time remaining until CPA.

The issues

While Vesper Marine had developed sound technology, it needed sophisticated and built-for-purpose packaging to really get any cut-through in the marine market. Procreate was engaged to develop the mechanical housing and user interface with an intriguing range of challenges to overcome in terms of waterproofing, ease of use in turbulent conditions, styling to fit the marine environment and being light enough to stow on board a weight-conscious racing vessel.

The solution

This project required the design team to meet tight deadlines; they received the brief in November 2007, and the first off tool parts were received in January 2008. This allowed the product to be tested and sample products delivered to distributors prior to the unveiling of the AISWatchMate at the Auckland Boat Show in March 2008.

This rapid delivery would not been possible were it not for Procreate's prior experience in the area of IP-rated enclosures and its close relationships with key suppliers locally and internationally.