The technology of the future is changing the way that pretty much every industry on the face of the planet operates. But one sector that is definitely having to adapt to a new way of doing things is shipping. The maritime industry has tradition running through its very veins: after all it’s one of the oldest trades there is. However that traditionalism can mean that the industry as a whole can suffer from dated attitudes and resistance to change from some quarters.

But with a new generation of seafarers coming up through the ranks, a generation that has been brought up on computers, mobile phones, social media and connectivity, this means that our industry is more likely to embrace marine technology and the changes for life at sea as we know it that come with it.

Making a seafarer’s life at sea easier

So what are these new technologies that will likely have an effect on the maritime industry? On a personal level it’s making a mariner’s life at sea more comfortable thanks to the introduction of WiFi. This plays a huge role in ensuring that crew are able to maintain regular contact with friends and loved ones at home, as well as stay entertained, or even educated, no matter how far they are from shore.  

Talking of education, the very way in which seafarers are trained is also evolving. Take gamification, a true technology of the future, which trains crew members and lets them practice their maritime skills while on board a vessel. Gamification, as well as simulator based training, encourages engagement through concepts usually associated with video games, such as rules of play, point scoring, and competing with with others. It can also be personalised towards the learner in ways that typical classroom learning cannot be.

A move towards sailor-less ships?

On a far larger scale, while driver-less cars may be making the headlines, so too are marine technology concepts such as autonomous ships being talked about within the industry. This move towards sailor-less ships may fill those of a more traditional persuasion with dread. But unmanned vessels and ships that are controlled remotely from virtual bridges on shore are set to become reality. However industry specialists have stated human crew will always be a necessity. Plus there are challenges, from cyber-security to adherence to international regulations, that need to be overcome before autonomous ship technology is implemented.

Technology of the future: the rise of the drone

The use of drones in the maritime industry is also being touted as a solution to safety and security concerns. Drones can help drastically decrease the time and expense of monitoring a vessel’s defects so problems can be diagnosed and fixed while a ship is at sea. Another advantage of drones is that they’re able to enter hostile environments and operate in conditions that are unfavourable to humans.  

For on board security, consider how a mobilised drone can be employed to gather more valuable data than multiple cameras located throughout a location. And while drones may not entirely replace fixed cameras, they are one example of a marine technology that could be used to augment existing security to provide a more complete picture.

Martide are firm believers in using technology to bolster your efficiency and profitability. If you're a shipowner or manager and you're not already on board, talk to us today to find out more about how our seafarer CRM, applicant tracking system and targeted job adverts will help you run a much tighter ship.