The Hefring Marine System is designed as a intelligent assistant to train, guide, and improve decision-making and ensure trips are safer, more efficient and comfortable. The system also offers a web portal for trip logs and reports allowing yacht management companies, yacht captains and yacht owners to follow how yacht tenders and chase boats are being operated.

The Rising Wave

Seafarers throughout history needed methods to ensure that they would reach their destinations safe and sound. Methods for navigation included everything from observing the motions of the stars to creating myths and stories that could help transfer knowledge down through the generations. Ægir and Ran, the Nordic god and goddess of the sea had nine daughters. The daughters were depictions of wave spirits and their names reflected different characteristics of waves. One of the daughters was named for the rising wave. Her name was Hefring.

Icelandic Maritime Start-Up

Hefring Marine, Icelandic maritime start-up was founded in 2018 with the aim to develop technology for intelligent boat and vessel navigation. The solution makes use of operational and sensory data to provide direct real time feedback to operators and systems to better optimize controls, motions, speed, and route with the goal of improving safety for crew and passengers, reduce damage to craft and equipment, and improve operational and fuel efficiency. The solution is intended for a varied range of vessel types, from commercial to leisure.

Monitoring Behavior For Improved Situation Awareness

The first Hefring Marine system was launched in early 2020. During the development of the system the team conducted extensive research into vessel motion responses to wave impacts. One form of research involved studying differences in behavior based on the operator being aware of monitoring in certain trips and unaware in others. The difference in operator behavior was striking.

With all else being mostly equal, when the operator was aware of the monitoring device, trips were on average slower and safer and peak g-force impacts were reduced by 50 – 60% compared to trips where the operator was unaware of the monitoring device. Another research found there to be a significant difference in severity of recorded impacts based on sensor location. Sensors placed by the front-most seat showed impacts that were six to nine times greater than those placed by the operator’s seat near the stern. Accidents on high-speed boats such as RIBs are often caused by a combination of the factors studied by the Hefring Marine team, being excessive speeding combined with a disconnect between impact experiences at the stern and at the bow.

Hefring Marine Systems research summary

Improving Safety with Decision Support

Iceland is a country of exquisite natural wonders and beauty. The world realized this only less than ten or so years ago and the country has experienced a high and increasing influx of tourists ever since, with 2020 and 2021 being an COVID related exceptions. Tourists seeking nature-based thrills created a significant demand for whale watching and puffin tours, often best experienced on high-speed RIB boats. During this time, a few particularly serious incidents occurred that involved RIB boats and passengers with fractured vertebrae. The Icelandic Transportation Safety Board concluded that, “the accidents that occurred on board the RIB boats in question were caused by the boats being driven too fast for the conditions they were operating in”. These accidents led to a conversation between the founders of Hefring Marine about safety on high-speed boats and methods available to mitigate and prevent further accidents. These accidents as well as research the founders of Hefring Marine were engaged in, triggered them to start to develop the Hefring Marine system. What started as a simple prototype data visualization tool for high-speed boats has now become an intelligent decision support solution for commercial and recreational vessels alike.

Facing Challenging Conditions With Intelligent Solutions

Hefring Marine has ambitions to be a leader in intelligent data processing and interpretation solutions for safety and efficiency in the maritime industry. The company continues to develop and expand the capabilities of its intelligent vessel assistant, focusing on making vessels more intelligent with dynamic and intuitive decision support. The Hefring Marine solution is an intelligent vessel assistant that helps operators and fleet managers improve safety, comfort, and efficiency. The system monitors and analyzes a vessel’s speed, motions and operating conditions and provides intelligent on-board decision support, guiding operators to optimize vessel speed and operation. On shore, a fleet manager has access to a platform for real-time tracking, trip statistics and automatically generated trip reports. Hefring Marine has worked with operators and boat builders alike to help improve working conditions for crew and comfort for passengers by reducing the risks of accidents and injury, avoiding damage to equipment and sensitive cargo, training and guidance of new and inexperienced operators, and a means of gathering data for insurance or claims purposes and help to settle warranty issues with boat builders.

Hefring Marine Systems - Yachting Ventures Start-Ups

“The Icelandic Coast Guard has been using Hefring Marine in the MOB tenders to the patrol ship, Týr. The system has proven very useful for missions where we have had to face tough sea conditions, which happens regularly around the Icelandic coast. It helps our operators improve safety by evaluating how fast they should go based on prevailing conditions and has also been helpful as a tool to train new operators. It further allows us to compare operators to determine who performs best when it comes to handling of crew and sensitive equipment.” Einar Þór Hansen, Ship Supervisor, Icelandic Coast Guard.

Hefring Marine For Superyacht Tenders And Chaseboats

There are direct benefits of using the Hefring Marine system in yacht tender and chase boat operations and management. It´s designed as a intelligent assistant, to train and guide, improve decision making and ensure trips are safer, more efficient and comfortable. The system also offers a web portal for trip logs and reports allowing yacht management companies, yacht captains and yacht owners to follow how yacht tenders and chase boats are being operated.  The maximum allowable speed and wave impact limits for vessel operation can be set in the fleet administration portal, which then controls how operators follow that maximum allowable speed and impact threshold.  The web portal provides access to data, reports and logs on operation and operator behavior. Evidence of safe operation from the portal can be used to evaluate operator´s performance, negotiate lower insurance premiums, address warranty issues or justify higher vessel resale value.

Hefring Marine Systems - Yachting Ventures Start-Ups

About Hefring Marine

Hefring Marine was founded in Reykjavik, Iceland in late 2018, by three colleagues with corporate and academic backgrounds. They have backgrounds in business development within the maritime industry and academic background in vibration analysis and condition monitoring. The company’s founders were, prior to establishing Hefring Marine, engaged in impact monitoring studies on high-speed boats. They realized that visualizing and displaying impacts on board high-speed boats in real time might be a useful solution to help vessel operators make more informed decisions. Hefring Marine introduced the first version of its system last year as well as to enter into cooperation with boat builders and search and rescue organizations in Europe. The company has recently closed a financing round led by the New Business Venture Fund, an Icelandic state-owned venture capital fund, with the participation of Innoport, the venture capital unit of the Schulte Group, and TechNexus, a U.S. based venture collaborative.

About the author Bjorn Jonsson

Bjorn Jonsson, Hefring Marine´s COO and co-founder is based in Reykjavik, Iceland. He has a Bachelor´s Degree in Business Administration and Management. Bjorn has been working in the maritime sector for the past ten years, following twenty years within the financial sector.

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