Sailing into the Digital Age: Ship's Logs with Morvargh Sailing Project

As we navigate the digital age, we are excited to introduce a new initiative: digital ship’s logs.

Sailing into the Digital Age: Ship's Logs with Morvargh Sailing Project

  • 10 min read

Morvargh Sailing Project has always been about more than just sailing. Our mission is to use Sail Training to inspire and change lives. Our voyages are unique, being both physically and mentally challenging; young people develop a range of skills that can transfer to their day-to-day lives to help them overcome any barriers and thrive.

As we navigate the digital age, we are excited to introduce a new initiative: digital ship’s logs. This innovative project enables young sailors to record their daily adventures, creating a dynamic and educational (secret, shhh, don't tell the young people!) experience that extends far beyond the traditional classroom.

Introduction: Embracing the Digital

The world is changing rapidly, and so is how we document and share our experiences. For today's young people, access to technology has become almost ubiquitous, fundamentally altering how they interact with the world and each other. With smartphones, tablets, and laptops, young people are always connected and able to share their lives in real time with just a few taps on a screen. This constant connectivity, facilitated by apps like TikTok, Snapchat, and WhatsApp, has revolutionised communication and created new avenues for expression and connection.

These technological advancements offer incredible benefits. They empower young people to share their stories, connect with others, and access vast information and perspectives. However, the constant connectivity is a double-edged sword. While the ability to share and connect instantly can be a force for good, it also presents challenges.

The pressure to constantly produce and share content can lead to issues such as cyberbullying, social comparison, and a lack of privacy. The curated nature of social media can sometimes create unrealistic standards and expectations, impacting mental health and self-esteem.

Despite these challenges, the potential for positive impact is significant. The key lies in guiding young people to use these technologies responsibly and thoughtfully.

In the past, documenting experiences was a more deliberate and often slower process. Writing in journals, taking photographs to be developed later, and even making phone calls were the norms.

We hope our digital ship’s log, can play a crucial role in this regard. By incorporating digital literacy into their activities, we can teach young sailors how to navigate the digital landscape safely and effectively.

Through the digital ship’s log, participants will learn to:

  • Create Meaningful Content: By documenting their daily adventures, young sailors learn to focus on storytelling and meaningful engagement rather than superficial sharing. This helps them develop a more thoughtful and intentional approach to using social media.
  • Develop Critical Thinking Skills: Managing and curating content encourages critical thinking. Participants must consider what to share, how to present information accurately, and the potential impact of their posts.
  • Build Digital Memories: By creating a digital memory of their trip, young sailors capture the positive moments and experiences aboard. This log serves as a personal archive they can revisit, reminding them of the good times and lessons learned during their journey. It becomes a cherished record of their adventure, fostering a lasting connection to their experiences and the people they shared them with.

The Technology Behind Our Digital Ship’s Log

The technology behind this is maturing as we develop the system, and we are the first Sail Training Organisation to have tried something like this. We have developed a pretty cool technology stack that enhances our sailing experience. The system centres around a custom-built Raspberry Pi mini boat computer connected to our NMEA 2000 network, enabling real-time data collection and transmission.

Beginning with a Raspberry Pi mini boat computer, an affordable and versatile device that serves as the brain of our data collection system. This computer is integrated with our NMEA 2000 network, a standard for marine electronics that allows various vessel devices to communicate. This network gathers a wealth of navigational and environmental data, including latitude and longitude, heading, speed, wind conditions, water temperature, and barometric pressure.

To facilitate this data collection, we use two key products from Actisense, a leader in marine electronics. Actisense has generously gifted us the NGX-1 NMEA 2000 Dual Gateway and the W2K-1 NMEA 2000 to Wi-Fi Gateway. These devices transmit data from our NMEA 2000 network to our Raspberry Pi. Additionally, we use the Actisense NGW-1 Bi-directional NMEA Conversion Gateway, which allows us to seamlessly bridge old and new protocols, ensuring compatibility and smooth data flow between different systems.

Once collected, the data is processed by our Raspberry Pi, which packages it into JSON format. JSON, or JavaScript Object Notation, is a lightweight data-interchange format that is easy to read and write. Every hour, when we have an LTE signal, the Raspberry Pi sends this packaged data to our website. This hourly update ensures that our online logbook is kept current, providing an accurate and timely record of our journey. The data is stored in a database, creating a digital version of our traditional ship’s log accessible to our community and followers. 

Looking ahead, we are planning to enhance our system further by integrating solar panels and Victron power equipment. This integration will allow us to monitor power generation, providing insights into our energy use and sustainability practices. The solar panels will not only help power our equipment but also serve as a practical demonstration of renewable energy solutions in a marine environment.

Our next steps include expanding our sensor array to digitally monitor other critical aspects of the boat’s operation, such as water, fuel, and engine performance. These enhancements will provide a comprehensive overview of the vessel’s status, enabling more efficient and effective resource management. This expansion will also offer additional educational opportunities for our young sailors, giving them hands-on experience with advanced monitoring technologies and data analysis.

Bridging Tradition and Innovation: The Modern Yeoman

The first major challenge that all participants face when sailing with us is the new and very unfamiliar environment of life aboard. Strange new words and activities such as hoisting sails, reefing, and helming the vessel allow participants to experience life outside their comfort zones. This first challenge is designed to stretch the participants, give them some level of perceived risk, and allow them to face their fears in a safe environment.

Over dinner on the first evening, the participants are encouraged to discuss their first shared challenges and are introduced to the concept of role-based training. This system allows young people to find a role aboard that they can excel in and thus feel like they are contributing to the shared goal of completing the voyage.

The roles are allocated daily, and (depending on voyage length) each participant will be able to complete all the roles aboard. One of those roles will be Yeoman.

The Yeoman's role has been a cornerstone of maritime tradition for centuries. Historically, yeomen were responsible for maintaining the ship's log and recording vital information about the vessel's course, speed, and daily activities.

This meticulous documentation was crucial for navigation and accountability, providing a comprehensive voyage record. We will honour this rich tradition while expanding it into the digital age. Our modern yeomen, equipped with smartphones and digital cameras, capture the essence of life aboard through photographs, notes, and anecdotes.

They will use our computer to compile and upload a digital ship’s log, integrating real-time navigation data collected by our Raspberry Pi system and Actisense gateways. This fusion of traditional roles with cutting-edge technology preserves and enhances the timeless practice of logging maritime adventures, providing a dynamic and interactive experience.

Our young sailors learn to appreciate the importance of accurate record-keeping while gaining valuable digital literacy, storytelling, and data management skills, bridging the gap between the past and the future of sailing.

This modern approach preserves the time-honoured tradition of keeping a ship’s log and integrates valuable educational elements. Our yeomen play a crucial role in documenting the daily life aboard our vessel. By taking on this responsibility, they engage in "learning by stealth," acquiring skills seamlessly integrated into their adventure. This hands-on experience promotes learning in several key areas:

Information Technology

Creating a digital ship’s log requires a foundational understanding of IT. Yeomen will use various digital tools and platforms to record and upload content. This experience aligns with school IT curriculums, offering practical applications of software use, data management, and online communication. They will learn to:

  • Use digital cameras and smartphones for high-quality photography.
  • Navigate software for editing and organising photos and videos.
  • Manage and upload data to the Morvargh website, ensuring accurate and up-to-date information.

English

Effective communication is vital for a compelling ship’s log. As yeomen gather anecdotes and write daily summaries, they enhance their literacy skills. This task involves:

  • Crafting engaging narratives that capture the essence of each day’s events.
  • Conducting interviews with fellow sailors, honing their questioning and listening skills.
  • Editing and proofreading their work to ensure clarity and coherence.

Mathematics

Recording navigation data and other numerical information requires a practical application of mathematical skills. By incorporating hourly navigation data into their posts, yeomen will:

  • Interpret and present data clearly, making it accessible to followers.
  • Use basic arithmetic to calculate distances travelled and other relevant figures.
  • Understand the significance of coordinates and navigation logs in real-world scenarios.

Integrating Real-Time Data and Community Engagement

One of the unique features of our digital ship’s log is the integration of real-time navigation data. Every hour, our boat’s navigation system uploads data to our website, providing an authentic glimpse into our journey. This data includes coordinates, speed, and other essential metrics, allowing followers to track our progress in real-time. When published, the ship's log will display the last 24 hours' worth of logged data along with a map charting those points.

Our digital ship’s log also serves as a bridge between Morvargh and our broader community. By sharing our adventures online, we invite followers to join us on our journey. This engagement offers several benefits:

  • Inspiration and Motivation: Our stories can inspire others to pursue their own adventures, fostering a sense of curiosity and exploration.
  • Educational Outreach: Followers can learn alongside our young sailors, gaining insights into the practical applications of navigation, communication, and technology.
  • Building Connections: By sharing our experiences, we strengthen the bonds within our community, creating a network of supporters and enthusiasts.

Setting Sail into the Future

Morvargh’s digital ship’s log is a testament to our commitment to innovation and education. By blending tradition with technology, we create a dynamic learning environment that equips young people with the skills they need to navigate the future. We’re looking forward to the upcoming Scilly Isles voyage, where we'll launch the Ships Logs for you all to follow!

This initial trial will be an exciting opportunity to showcase our innovative approach and gather valuable feedback from users, parents and followers alike. Join us as we chart a course towards a brighter future, where adventure, education, and technology come together to create unforgettable experiences.

Together, we are sailing into the digital age, leaving a legacy of learning and exploration for future generations.

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Contact

Morvargh Sailing Project is a Community Interest Company registered in England No: 07132688. Registered address: Willow Barn, Lower Bodwen, Redmoor, PL30 5AT

Location:

Fowey, Cornwall

Email:

hello@sailadventure.co.uk

Call:

+44 (0)7481 546577

Vessel Location:

50°20'00.8"N 4°37'46.9"W

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