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Using Boat Management Software - Pros, Cons, & Learning Curve

Dimitris Tsapis
January 8, 2022
Learn about the importance and benefits of boat management software; check its key features. Try PlanM8; save time, money, and above all, your yacht!

Yachts are beautiful vessels, but their durability is only as strong as the expertise and planning of those who manage them. If they aren’t maintained properly, they are exposed to damage and value depreciation.

Failure to keep all systems operating as designed can lead to breakdowns, or even worse, dangerous accidents. As such, knowing how to manage all the maintenance tasks onboard is paramount for everyone’s safety. 

That said, boat maintenance is also a time-consuming and challenging process. While most captains and engineers still keep track using paper logs or excel sheets, apps like PlanM8 offer boat management software to help you automate processes and ensure everything is done on time.

In the next few chapters we will go over the pros and cons of using boat management software, while checking out some of the main features of PlanM8. By the end of this post, you should have a good idea of what to expect when using a boat management app. 

Boat management software as your go-to solution

Handling boat maintenance is a demanding test. You might quickly get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of responsibilities: 

  • Creating a yacht maintenance schedule
  • Assigning yacht maintenance tasks 
  • Communicating with manufacturers and suppliers
  • Ordering parts when needed
  • etc.

The process can quickly turn chaotic without a streamlined system.

This is where boat management software comes in. Apps like PlanM8 can help you track all important maintenance tasks that lead to better management of your yacht. They also help you keep a proper vessel maintenance log without missing out on anything.

boat management software

In a nutshell, boat management software provides several benefits for both boat owner and crew:

benefits of boat management software

Pros of yacht management software

Here are some of the most important advantages you might encounter when subscribing to boat management software:

Saving time on maintenance scheduling

Many yacht engineers still rely on outdated book-keeping, including pen and paper logs or excel spreadsheets. These methods are prone to human error and can be very time-consuming by needlessly complicating an already challenging process. 

By using boat management software, chief engineers can streamline their workflow and gain precious time that can be used in more productive ways.

Handling maintenance schedules, ordering parts, and outsourcing technicians can be done through a one-stop-shop app that allows you to save both time and money. 

Decreasing downtime and increasing safety

When maintenance is lacking, your ship will inevitably encounter more breakdowns and downtime. Vessels that aren’t managed properly will spend more time docked and getting repaired, instead of providing the best possible sailing experience.  

By using boat management software, your maintenance schedule remains easily accessible to everyone on board, even if there’s no WiFi available. Furthermore, the app will show the time and date of the maintenance, as well as the crew involved in the task. 

Additionally, the app can push reminders on the crewmember’s favorite sailing smartwatch, keeping everyone updated on the status of maintenance tasks. Consequently, your boat will always be serviced on time, allowing it to maximize its time at sea. 

Centralized knowledge for cost-efficiency

In addition to having decreased downtime, well-managed vessels are also cost-efficient. 

Repairs and breakdowns can be extremely expensive and preventing them through regular maintenance is key to saving money over time. 

To this end, boat management software allows you to manage a knowledge base of every element present on board. Every component of the engine, hull, electrical systems, etc, will be meticulously included in the shared database. 

Every time a maintenance task needs to be carried out, the software will link the necessary parts. Furthermore, the database contains each supplier and manufacturer, which makes ordering parts much easier. 

Additionally, historical and warranty data is also conserved, which generates automatic reminders when a warranty claim is about to expire. A handy feature, as it permits engineers to replace these parts on time and predict the extra costs. 

yacht management software

Transparency between the owner, captain, and crew

Vessel managers, captains, and engineers face a large number of challenges nowadays. This requires them to use multiple pieces of software that are often incompatible between them. This can result in an opaque system, where it becomes increasingly difficult to set up an efficient vessel management process. 

Thanks to the boat management software, a clear link can be made between maintenance, procurement, and management. 

For instance, engineers might require a certain part to proceed with a maintenance task. Thanks to the transparency of the boat management software, the crew responsible for procurement will be able to order this part. All of this without having to communicate with the engineers by email. 

At the same time, the owner can track the extra costs in real-time. 

The status of each maintenance task can be tracked from start to finish in a transparent manner. Consequently, everyone involved in the process is granted access to pertinent data at all times. 

Cons of boat management software

With that said, like with every software solution, the aforementioned perks might come with some minor drawbacks. 

Subscription cost

Like every professional software, using boat management software comes at a cost. The amount differs depending on the size of your vessel, but the amount is usually minuscule when compared to the overall maintenance costs of the boat, and considering the financial and time advantages that come by using them.

Initial setup and onboarding

When adopting a new management system for your vessel, it can involve a lengthy and sometimes tedious onboarding process.  For the boat management software to be efficient, all of the component data present on the vessel will need to be manually inserted into the database. This will involve digging out some old paperwork, which might prove to be quite challenging in some cases. Furthermore, the crew will need to learn the ins and outs of the software, which will require some training. 

Thankfully, we at PlanM8 help you setup the system in a few easy steps, and adjust it to your vessel's needs. Never again has it been so easy to set up a management system that saves you tons of time onboard.

Using PlanM8 

PlanM8 is the the most innovative approach for yacht maintenance. Created by industry experts with decades of experience, our app helps captains resolve all planning issues related to vessel maintenance.

The PlanM8 team created the app to improve the work of both captains and engineers onboard, offering a way to streamline maintenance tasks and improve overall planning. 

boat management software

Features of the PlanM8 superyacht management software

The PlanM8 software relies on two main features, that seamlessly interoperate with each other:

boat management software

The component database

This essential part of the app contains all of the components of your vessel. The database categorizes components comprehensively, allowing engineers to assign them to the different systems on the vessel such as hydraulics, engine, hull, etc. 

Furthermore, for each component, the user can input the manufacturer, model, and serial number, which provides the details on how to procure these parts. This is a considerable time-saver, as it avoids digging through tons of paperwork and manuals to find the corresponding part and the supplier for it.

The app also provides you an easy way to upload photos of the components, which should help to avoid any type of confusion when it comes to ordering the part. 

Finally, additional documents such as warranties and manuals can be uploaded for each component. This emphasizes the “one-stop-shop” aspect of the PlanM8 app, where users can find everything related to their components in a single software solution. 

PlanM8 component database

The maintenance calendar

If the component database can be considered as the foundation of the boat management software, the planning calendar is the core of the app. 

Here, users can set up their maintenance schedule by selecting components inputted previously. The tasks are separated into three categories: 

  • Breakdowns
  • Modifications
  • Warranty checks

Each task can be accompanied by the due date, and a description of the issue and solution, so that the crew can plan accordingly. 

planm8 components continued

It's worth noting that, through continuous use, the app creates a detailed maintenance log customized for your vessel.  This log can be passed on to a new crew, the new owner, or potential buyers. 

Finally, thanks to its third-party integrations, PlanM8 can expand as much as you need it to. As such, apart from allowing an intuitive and frictionless onboarding process it also adjust to your individual needs.

It renders the maintenance management protocols more transparent, accessible, and easier to carry out. 

Wrapping up

In this article, we talked about using boat management software, its numerous pros, and some negligible drawbacks. We also introduced you to PlanM8, our all-in-one solution for boat maintenance, and exhibited its main features. 

Hopefully, this post managed to shine a light on why an app like PlanM8 should be an essential addition to any vessel management system.