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geofencing technology

Case Study: Onboard Positioning to Enhance Fire Response Times at Sea


Safetytech Accelerator recently collaborated with ARC to pilot a technology for geofencing to enhance fire response times and avoid total losses at sea. This pilot was part of Safetytech Accelerator’s Waypoint programme, which accelerates cutting edge technology companies into the maritime market.

Over 50+ technology companies were considered for participation in this Waypoint round. LifeFinder was eventually selected as one of the technology partners. They were chosen for their onboard geofencing technology that proactively alerts crew to danger.


The Challenge

During emergency situations on ships, it is vital that crew can be accounted for as quickly as possible. Their positions must be known and instructions communicated such as go to a muster position. Any new technology to address this challenge must also seamlessly integrate into the crew’s daily routine.

LifeFinder’s wearable technology integrates seamlessly into workers’ everyday routines. By proactively detecting and alerting to life-threatening situations, injuries and potential death can be avoided even in the most remote and hazardous locations.


LifeFinder Wearables


The Pilot

The pilot consists of two parts both being conducted on the ARC vessel MV Patriot as it sails between Europe and North America.

The first stage of the pilot which consisted of a partial installation to test the feasibility of the system has been successfully completed, and ARC has committed to the second stage, a full installation which will take place during Patriot’s next European rotation.


ARC Vessel Patriot used in the pilot

arc vessel


LifeFinder Positioning Beacons (left) and Communication Gateways (right)


During the feasibility state, LifeFinder beacons were used to determine the postion of Crew Devices using short range communications. 50 devices were used throughout the ship in this pilot, with 150 expected to be deployed in a full installation.

The LifeFinder devices connect to gateways for relaying messages to the ship’s networks and cloud systems via StarLink satellites. The types of message available for sending were

· Alarm Button Pressed, LED, Communication and Onboard Positioning


The platform is also capable of adding these additional services

· Overboard / In port Positioning

· Water

· Fall

· Man Down

· Work hours


A visual dashboard was made available to the ships crew from tablets and web browsers.

Visual dashboards for status and alerts


25 wearable devices were tested on crew members for the duration of the pilot to understand the reliability of the overall solution and ease of use. Coverage tests were conducted in the engine room, cargo deck, bridge and throughout the ship. The tests were performed on a daily basis by the crew and officiers on normal duties and during fire drills and fire rounds.



Arc had some privacy concerns at the start of the pilot since crew were required to wear the devices at all times but after some initial trials this was no longer an issue. LifeFinder got the entire system installed and working thanks to some pre-pilot work to understand the environment.

The main learning was that the technology provider needs to work closely with the end user to understand their needs, and iteratively make improvements to the solution using continuous feedback. The more ARC used the the solution, the more the system improved with better performance.

With the latest iteration of the solution ARC is hoping to get their their CO2 fire system response from 30mins down to 10mins. For every 10 minutes saved, the damage also reduces by 90% so the result is a 1000 fold improvement preserving assets, cargo and most importantly lives.


Next Steps

Following the successful completion of the first stage of the pilot, the complete LifeFinder system is now being installed on Patriot. The second and final stage of the pilot program will run for a period of 3 to 6 months, following which ARC will make the decision on whether or not to install the system across their fleet.

ARC’s goal is that through the use of the LifeFinder system, they will be able to reduce the fire emergency response time, including the safe release of CO2 to 10 minutes or less from the time of discovery of the fire.


“Safetytech Accelerator has been of invaluable help for LifeFinder to find end-users presenting real challenges and together with mentors and potential clients understand the environment, challenges, hurdles and business opportunities. Safetytech Accelerator, a well known and respected name in the industry helped us to get working with ARC, which has given LifeFinder an excellent opportunity to learn, develop and apply and evaluate a fully working Pilot installation. We have learned so much about the challenges onboard a vessel from how to simplify installation to ease of use in an emergency situation. This would not have been possible in such a short period of time and with limited resources to achieve on our own. The close collaboration with ARC refines our perspective on safety but also provides us with the invaluable chance to enhance our concept. We believe that our systems contribute to developing a new safety standard for the marine industry” – Anders Schening, CEO LifeFinder


– Thus far, the results from pilot program are quite promising, and if the full installation works as designed, it will provide us with a valuable tool providing the quick accurate location of crew members in the event of an onboard casualty.  Reducing the time between notification of an onboard event and response to that incident is critical in ensuring a positive outcome.” – Fred Finger, Senior Vice President and Head of Operations, ARC


Industry-Wide Impact

Crew safety is paramount for ship operators during normal operation but even more critcal during emergency scenarios. LifeFinders ability to understand the status of each seafarer and communicate this to a central location is invaluble for ARC and the rest of the maritime industry.

“LifeFinder greatly reduces the time required to safely deploy the vessel CO2 Extinguishing System, by providing a live accounting and attendance of all officers and crew“ – Kiah Pinto – Master, MV Patriot

“I think the implementation of LifeFinders would be a key tool in locating an individual in the event of injury or disorientation in an emergency situation.” – Michael Fennell Chief Engineer, MV Patriot


Read more Safetytech Accelerator case studies here.


About ARC

ARC is the leading U.S.-flag Ro-Ro carrier operating liner services in the international trades and provides various land-based Government Services to support overseas operations. ARC provides port-to-port and end-to-end transport of heavy vehicles, helicopters, Household Goods (HHG), Privately-Owned Vehicles (POV), and other equipment for the U.S. government and its various agencies. We also carry agricultural and construction equipment for developing nations, Federal Transit Administration public transportation cargoes, U.S. Export-Import Bank preference cargoes, and other commercial break-bulk and Ro-Ro business.


About LifeFinder

LifeFinder based in Sweden has an intelligent alert system which enables life-saving solutions that integrate seamlessly into workers’ everyday safety routines. By proactively detecting and alerting to danger and life-threatening situations, further injuries and potential death can be avoided even in the most remote and hazardous locations.


About Safetytech Accelerator

Safetytech Accelerator, established by Lloyd’s Register, is the first fully dedicated technology accelerator focused on advancing innovation in safety critical industries. Our mission is to make the world safer and more sustainable through wider adoption of technology.

Waypoint is Safetytech Accelerator’s programme to accelerate cutting edge technology companies into the maritime market. Through expert mentoring, equity-free pilot funding, and carefully selected introductions, Waypoint assists some of the most innovative and promising maritime startups to strengthen their foothold in maritime.

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