Furuno Introduces Simplified Voyage Data Recorder

Furuno voyage data recorder
Furuno’s VR7000S Simplified Voyage Data Recorder, similar to a “black box” found on an aircraft, records crucial data from interfaced sensors onboard a vessel. (photo courtesy of Furuno)

Maritime casualties are an unfortunate possibility when operating on the water, with human error being the leading cause of maritime injury. The Coast Guard said that thousands of preventable maritime accidents are caused by operator inattention, citing this twice as frequently as the next leading factor. Understandably, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has mandated the installation of certain devices intended to bring a measure of safety to an often-dangerous job, including bridge navigational watch alarm systems and voyage data recorders, or VDRs.

The Furuno VR7000S Simplified Voyage Data Recorder, which is similar to the “black box” devices found on aircraft, records all crucial data from interfaced sensors onboard and stores it safely in a tamperproof data recording unit (DRU). The rugged Furuno DRUs, available in fixed or float-free configurations, are designed to withstand the extreme shock and heat that may accompany maritime catastrophe.

When the DRU is recovered, its stored data may be used by authorities to replay the information from all serial, analog or digital sensors, bridge audio and VHF, radar and Electronic Chart Display and Information System data, AIS, bridge alert management, thrusters, inclinometer, and information from the electronic logbook to investigate the cause of the accident. Even the audio from the outside bridge wings can be recorded, if fitted, said Furuno.

All of this information is easy to play back due to the included Live Player software, which extracts and plays back the information from the VR7000S in real time on a networked personal computer. Data can be extracted onto a USB drive for later viewing, said the company.

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The VR7000S complies with the latest IMO standards for VDR performance, and is capable of recording 48 hours of data in both the fixed and float-free units, as well as providing storage for up to 30 days or 720 hours in the data collecting unit. The system is easy to integrate with existing networks, and a video LAN converter can be used to record the data from digital visual interface or RGB (color) radar outputs into an Ethernet signal for data recording, which may be necessary for third-party or some early model Furuno radars. The VR7000S even comes with a color LCD remote alarm panel that can keep the bridge operator apprised of the system health and status.

The VR7000S allows owners to replace existing S-VDRs with only the components that were required at the time the original S-VDR was fitted and approved. The VR7000S can be expanded for complete sensor coverage on any size of vessel, while also providing a safe and reliable method for owners to purchase only the components they need for voluntary fittings on non-Safety of Life at Sea vessels.