Fish Radio

Vessel stability tracked with free iPhone app

June 10, 2014

Vessel stability tracked with free iPhone app

Scramp Tracking Acceleration Credit:

Scramp Tracking Acceleration

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch.  A new free iPhone app tracks your vessel’s stability. More on SCraMP after this —

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Fishing boats rock and roll, pitch, yaw, surge, sway, and heave.  Skippers respond to the movements as they navigate rough seas in tough weather.  Now, a new iPhone app provides stability indicators in time to make corrections. It is called SCraMP – for Small Craft Motion Program, and has a variety of tools boat operators can select –

There is a view that can give them the accelerations they’ve seen so they can have a sense of how bad they are being beat up – everyone’s knees will tell them how much they are being beat up, but sometimes seeing numbers can be helpful. There is a screen that will tell them how severe their roll motions have been, and a screen that gives them a choice of three different warning metrics – one provides an index based on the heave of the boat, the roll and the pitch and a fisherman can tailor it so if they are comfortable with however many degrees of roll and however many degrees of pitch and how much heave acceleration – and they can plug in those numbers so then the index is tailored for what they feel comfortable with.

Leigh McCue is an associate professor at Virginia Tech’s Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering.  She says stability indicators have been talked about for years, but prototypes were too bulky or expensive. After buying a smart phone last summer, she realized it had all the computing power needed and she created the app. Input from fishermen has helped hone it to their needs, such as tracking roll periods.

This came about from a conversation with a fisherman who said that when he is sleeping in his bunk and wakes up he’ll count off a roll period or two to make sure things seem about right to him. 5  cut: I figured it’s easy enough to have that being calculated so when he wakes up he can look at a screen and see what the roll periods have been for the time he was asleep and see if there is anything trending that he doesn’t like.  

The SCraMP app can be customized to each vessel and can be a reliable tool that adds to a skipper’s skills.

 The captain has years of judgment that have been honed to their vessel and to the situations they’re in. I am just trying to help them make wise decisions.  

The ScraMP app can be downloaded on iPhones for free. McCue  hopes to get lots of feedback from mariners.

I am very enthusiastic to get feedback from people who are on the water and who have a better sense of what they need or want than I do.    

Find more info on SCraMP at

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods.  Ocean Beauty has contributed over 10 million meals to the U.S. Food Bank network, and is committed to ending hunger in America.  In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.