SkyMate VMS Overview


VMS Overview

SkyMate has offered modern VMS systems to regulators and fishermen since 2003. Core to our approach was an open design to use laptops and PCs, tablets and smart phones for the user interface. Our systems were known to be less expensive, more easily updated and lower power draw.

Today, many regulators are considering two big VMS related changes. One is the information exchanged. In the past, many regulators settled for a periodic location report and an exception event notice. Despite the system having a two way ship-shore connection to the vessel, the utilization was minimal. That is changing. Regulators need more information, for example, declarations and catch reports. They need to communicate - send emails or have access to messaging exchanges. They want to support their fishermen by providing weather and emergency SOS notifications. In short, tomorrow’s VMS systems will need an onboard user interface. Furthermore, they want the flexibility to use their own tools. A regulator’s own catch report system operating on an android tablet. They need the VMS to be a communications backbone. Flexibility. Modern Interfaces. Ease of Use. SkyMate.

Second, many regulators are looking at expanding the scope of their VMS practices to cover fisheries within the EEZ. As this new area opens up, fleets where many spend nights and off days at shore, the opportunities for flexible reporting emerge. Every X minutes offshore, once a day onshore, with immediate reporting if the vessel moves, for instance. This cuts communications by major amounts. 

 For the fisherman, the tools that the system provides that he can use to help him succeed make adoption of the regulatory demands much easier. The system provides the owner the ability to monitor and communicate with his vessels (text, email, forms), the ability to monitor and control onboard systems. For the captain, the system provides key communications tools, email & texting, emergency response requests (SOS) and current weather and forecast information. For the crew, the future will include private communications tools. SkyMate allows for billing of service that separates regulators and their needs, with the fisherman and his.

 SkyMate is approved in many jurisdictions around the world, including the very demanding Greater Atlantic Region of NOAA in the US where the system includes dozens of reports and declarations, 10000 + activity codes and annual software upgrades. It has always been a leader in bringing modern approaches to the VMS marketplace. It is easy to use, easy to install and easy to budget for. 

VMS System Features


System Features

Position Reporting

SkyMate VMS provides continuous, global surveillance and can be configured 

  • to report at a range of intervals (minutes to days)

  • to report at variable rates (e.g. in-harbor, at-sea, geo-fence)

  • to report with a standard or advanced format (includes SOG, COG) 

  • to record positional data (available for interrogation)

  • over-the-air by the National FMC (via SkyMate)

There is no means for the fisher to change the reporting interval.  The position reporting  communications protocol is closed and secure (absolutely no spoofing).

Event Reporting

SkyMate VMS provides regulated event surveillance reporting.

There is no means for the fisher to change/adjust an event report.  Examples of events reported include the following:  Power OFF/ON, Signal Loss, Vessel IN/OUT of a geo-zone, vessel at rest/in motion.

The event reporting  communications protocol is closed and secure (absolutely no spoofing).

Custom Forms

SkyMate VMS supports custom forms: 

  1. The catch forms can be custom and integrated into the SkyMate m1600VMS.  The fisher connects to the m1600 (i.e. with any device with a browser), enters his catch data and sends it to the Regulator/FMC.

    • An example of this is the NOAA forms for the Greater Atlantic Region.  The NOAA TA systems have 16 distinct forms with over 10,000 declaration codes.

  2. Using a SkyMate m1600VMS interface provided for 3rd party applications, the system can deliver reports created on a Regulator application, transferred to the m1600VMS and then sent to the Regulator.

SkyMate supports updating custom forms on the m1600VMS, over-the-air or over Wi-Fi through the VMS terminal.

Value-added Features

Email and SMS  

The m1600VMS can be used to send and receive emails anywhere in the world.  The Communications Hub has its own SMS phone number (via Twillio), allowing a user, when off-shore, to message any other SMS device on-shore, over the satellite connection. 


Through the browser UI, the m1600VMS will provide global weather, on demand, for any location at sea.  For example, the Point Forecast weather reports include wave heights, wind speed/direction, barometric pressure and temperature.

Global Search and Rescue 

The user can request contact with a Search and Rescue service by activating the SOS function (via the KeyPad).  The m1600VMS connects directly to the SAR and provides a two-way messaging capability.  While the SOS is active, the m1600VMS continually reports the vessel position to the SAR.

VMS Approvals


VMS Approvals

SkyMate has been providing VMS Type-Approved (TA) systems to the US government (NOAA/NMFS) for over 15 years.  We currently have two NMFS TAed, Iridium-based, VMS systems: the SkyMate I1500VMS and the SkyMate m1600VMS

 The I1500VMS system is primarily for the NMFS market;  the m1600VMS system, also for NMFS, but is easily customizable/configurable to serve the global VMS regulated fisheries. 

 For the shore side infrastructure, these systems have been integrated with the Visma vTrack Fishery Vessel Monitoring System and the Trackwell VMS Monitoring Systems.

VMS Type Approvals:

  • NOAA

    • Greater Atlantic

    • SouthEast

    • West coast

    • Alaska

    • Western & Central Pacific

    • Papahanaumokuakea National Monument

    • High Seas, Reef, Atlantic Highly Migratory and Rock Shrimp



  • Pacific Islands FFA

Approvals Pending/In Process:

  • Sri Lanka

  • Philippines

VMS System Software Interfaces:

  • Visma

  • Trackwell

  • Absolute Software (inactive)

VMS Hardware


m1600VMS Hardware

The m1600VMS hardware is user friendly and very easy to install (DIY) and operate.  It’s plug-and-play right out of its eco-friendly box. 

 The system works with any UI device that has a web browser.  You just Wi-Fi connect your device to the m1600VMS, point your browser to the m1600VMS ( and you are in.  The Wi-Fi password is your security; after you first connect, there is no login required.  The SI-TEX Navstar and Raymarine Axiom MFDs can also be used to connect to the m1600VMS.

The KeyPad provides the user an indication whenever there is an message (email or SMS) waiting to be viewed.  When the UI device connects and views the message the light goes out.  When Sentry is installed, the Sentry button allows the user to engage/disengage the Sentry monitoring (depending on how the user configures the rules).  The SOS buttons (both need to be pressed simultaneously to activate/deactivate this function) are available even when the unit is powered OFF.  A full description of the KeyPad operation is available under Support à documentation.

The LEDs on the Communications Hub provide status of the system, which are mostly useful when the system is not operating as expected.  A full description of the LEDs is available under
Support - Documents.  


  • Operating: -15°C to 55°C

  • Non-Operating: -35°C to 60°C

  • IEC 60945, EN 60529, IP67


  • For operation in both nominal 12V and 24VDC battery systems

  • Less than 5W power required (fully configured)

  • Reverse wiring polarity protection

  • Continuous over-voltage protection


  • Firmware updates over satellite and via terminal


  • Integrated audio notifications (buzzer)

  • Customizable Geo-fencing

  • Global Search and Rescue

  • NMEA 2000, USB, Wi-Fi, BLE communications capability


  • 57mm(H) x 133mm(W) x 133mm(L)

  • Weight 0.50kg

  • Vertical or horizontal mounting bracket provided

  • 2m power cable with USB

  • Wi-Fi access point

  • LED status indicators

  • Internal battery for monitoring and emergency operation


  • 94mm(H) x 127mm(W) x 54mm(L)

  • Weight 0.72kg

  • Surface or pole mounting options

  • 10m CAT5 cable (can be extended up to 30m)

  • Dual Iridium/GPS antenna


• 13mm(H) x 102mm(W) x 102mm(L)

• Weight 0.20kg

• Adhesive or bolt mounting options

• 2m cable (can be extended up to 12m)

m1600VMS Accessories

The m1600VMS has several accessories (not included) which may be required for your installation or to provide functional extensions. 

Cables:  There are 10m extension cables available for the Smart Antenna and the Keypad.  For the Smart Antenna, two extensions cables can be added (maximum 30m); for the KeyPad, only one extension cable can be added (maximum 12m).

Siren:  An external siren can be connected to the system.  It will operate in conjunction with the integrated audible notifications (buzzer).  The default conditions that set off the buzzer/siren are:  the External Power disconnected; the Vessel is outside EEZ geo-zone or the SOS function is activated.

How It Works


VMS System Network

Sentry Remote
Monitoring and Control


Sentry Remote
Monitoring and Control

Sentry allows users to have up to 16 sensors monitored.  These sensors can be monitored by a custom set of rules such that when a sensor event happens, and email or SMS is sent (emergency notifications).  Sentry also provides a daily status report of the sensors configured.

For more information about Sentry:

Sentry Features

peace of mind.png

Peace of mind

  • Schedule daily or weekly updates on your vessels status

  • Receive emergency notifications

  • Create geo-fences and track your vessel’s location

never lose connection.png

always connected

  • Stay connected to your vessel anywhere in the world with global coverage

  • Ability to monitor and control up to 16 sensors/actuators

ultimate convenience.png

ultimate convenience

  • Control electronics connected to a Sentry Actuator with rules

  • Remotely turn on or off electronics connected to Sentry Actuator

total control.png

total control

  • Create custom rules to meet your specific needs. For example:

  • If shore power is disconnected, turn off freezer

  • If the boat leaves the marina, send a notification

  • If the door opens, sound alarm

know before too late.png


  • Stay connected and know the status of your vessel in incliment weather or in remote ports

  • Receive vessel updates and emergency notifications via email, SMS or phone


Sentry Sensors and Actuators

Sentry is compatible with a wide variety of sensors.
Additional third-party sensors may also be compatible.

Float Switch Tiles.png

Float switch

Receive alerts when float switch is engaged, and if bilge pump is activated.

Switch turns on when water level is at 51mm and off at 19mm. Compatible with pumps drawing up to 20 amps. Designed for use with fresh and salt water only.

magnetic Sensor Tiles.png

Contact Sensor

Increase vessel security and be notified when windows, doors, cabinets, hatches or other areas have been accessed. Create custom rules to receive alerts or sound alarm when sensor is activated.

Sensor measures 32x15x8mm in size on each side with up to 20-30mm operating gap.

Shore Power Sensor Tiles.png

Shore power sensor

Monitor shore power status from anywhere and receive an alert if shore power is lost. Avoid the shutdown of critical systems while docked.

Sensor is IP67 rated and suitable for use in dry, damp or wet areas. Input Voltage Range is 90VAC-295VAC.



Customize the smart boat experience and turn devices on or off remotely through the actuator. Simply install the actuator between the device and power source.

Compatible with any device, including air conditioning, lights, refrigeration systems, alarms, strobe lights and more.


tactile sensor

Versatile design allows the tactile sensor to be used for safeguarding or to detect tampering.

Pressure sensitve button can monitor when an item has been removed, or when contact has been made between two surfaces.



Create a geo-fence and receive notifications when vessel moves into or out of restricted areas.

Safeguard against the impact of strong currents, weak anchor hold and theft.


battery monitoring

Avoid delays due to dead batteries. Monitor battery levels and receive alerts when battery voltage is low.


Position tracking

Track vessel location from home or the office. Automatic position reporting at custom intervals while the vessel is moving or at rest.


Product Specifications


  • Operating: -15°C to 55°C

  • Non-Operating: -35°C to 60°C

  • IEC 60945, EN 60529, IP67


  • For operation in both nominal 12V and 24VDC battery systems

  • Less than 5W power required (fully configured)

  • Reverse wiring polarity protection

  • Continuous over-voltage protection


  • Firmware updates over satellite and via terminal


  • Integrated audio notifications (buzzer)

  • Customizable Geo-fencing

  • Global Search and Rescue

  • NMEA 2000, USB, Wi-Fi, BLE communications capability

  • Up to 16 sensors or actuators


  • Detect high water

  • Switch turn on when water level is 51mm and off at 19mm

  • Compatible with pumps drawing up to 20 amps

  • Designed for use with fresh and saltwater only


  • Detect when doors, windows, hatches or cabinets are open

  • 8mm(H) x 15mm(W) x 32mm(L)

  • 20mm-30mm operating gap


  • Detect shore power connection

  • Input voltage range 90VAC-295VAC


• Detect pressure


• Detect battery voltage


• Turn on/off devices


• Detect location of the vessel


• Detect when vessel enters or exits a defined area


How To Buy 


How To Buy

For information on how to buy in your area, please contact us at or use the form below.

Name *