It’s long past time for a Nautium update. Our boating life sounds idyllic: cruising and sailing on our 40′ floating home Ingenium. It is, but it also means we are always watching the weather, fixing and maintaining engines and systems to ensure our safety. It takes almost all of our time – and money. My full-time job is this work on the boat, while Boni’s is writing. I do a little bit on Nautium every day, and together we nudge the project forward whenever we can.
If you’re joining our app-development journey for the first time, Nautium Captain’s Mate (working title) is an app we’re developing designed to simplify boating life, especially for people who live aboard and cruise around the world. Travel logs, maintenance schedules and prompts, inventory stores and locations, provisioning lists, contacts and expense reporting, and – this is my favourite part – data reporting.
We have previously written a more detailed explanation of what Nautium is all about. What it is not is a replacement for navigational charts or weather apps – there are powerhouses out there like Navionics and NOAA and they work just fine. What we’re developing is what we wanted and was missing from the field of apps: help organizing and managing boating life, safety, operation, maintenance and provisioning.
Thanks for Your Support So Far
We appreciate all the support we have received so far. There are a number of ways we would still value your input:
- We’re looking for feedback on the name, features and other aspects of the app
- Know any app developers who are looking for experience?
- Our GoFundMe campaign is still open and we’d be honoured if you would consider a contribution to help us fund the development.
We are soon ready to engage professionals to transition the app onto a platform for beta-testers and then onto a marketable platform.
So What’s Up?
To date, we have tested the app and its features with friends and family.
Feedback so far – mainly positive – has helped us clarify the target market. Those in the older demographic may not be as comfortable with technology. Some have been sailing or cruising for decades and are happy with the manual systems they’ve been using.
Our target is a younger demographic (under 60 – the pups!), those just starting out, and of course those already comfortable with using a smartphone and cloud-based technology.
The Name: Nautium or Captain’s Mate?
One person suggested we consider a different name for the app: “Nautium” was too fancy, she said, and didn’t clearly tell what the app is for. Great point – – we chose “Nautium” because it is a play on ‘nautical’ and is in kinda cool alignment with the name of our boat, “Ingenium” (Latin for creative mind or creative thinking). The original working title was “Captain’s Mate“. We’re kinda combining them now, with Nautium Captain’s Mate, but we truly haven’t landed. This and other bits of research we want tells us it is time for a survey. Voila! It’s short and quick, and we’d be forever grateful if you’d click and answer a few questions.
Simplify Boating Life: Progress Update
We’d like to share our development progress with you, too. Here’s what we’ve been working on:
Refining features to include
We use the app every day and this gives us a chance to clearly identify how the app solves our problems and serves our needs. We always want to gather and document information and generate reports on the performance of the vessel, its systems and our use of those systems. We often come up with new feature ideas which sometimes make their way into the system, even at this stage. So this work is ongoing and will continue even into the beta testing stage.
Relational aspect of system features
An important and sophisticated feature is the relationship between two or more areas of data, e.g. between maintenance schedules and actual use. For example, I may manually enter information via the travel log when sailing or motoring. What makes this app powerful is how that one-time entry will update the maintenance schedule for the main engine and populate the helmsman hours. We are developing these relationships at the outset so the app developers will properly understand and translate the power of this relational aspect of the app.
This feature is designed to be a companion to, rather than a replacement for, other advanced chart plotting and navigational systems. It offers what-if scenarios and enables the user to see what a multi-stop voyage would look like. How many hours, at what average speed, and how does the weather forecast interact with that trip plan? We are still exploring how this feature will depend on or interact with other chart plotting navigational technology and GPS systems.
The travel log is the heart of the system. It’s what really triggered the development of the full app. We saw the hand-written travel log or captain’s log left behind by the previous owner when Ingenium was still named Prairie Seashell. There were many pages in a paper booklet, for a long read. If I wanted to review or report on statistics, it meant a manual system of colour-coding highlighter and math. So I would have no idea about statistics such as:
- How many hours sailed
- How many hours motored
- How many hours motor/sailed (of course there is the engine hour counter, but how much of that was motor-sailing vs pure motoring?)
- How many hours was the captain at the helm?
- How many hours was the first mate or other crew at the helm?
- How many hours/nautical miles travelled, and during which months of the year?
Data & Detail in Travel Log
For those of us who like to know details (okay, I fully admit I’m a detail and data addict :-)) and statistics – this is the right app to use! But it’s not just me: insurance companies, sailing certification associations, and others want to know how much time you’ve actually been in control at the helm of your boat.
Since the travel log feature is the core of the Nautium system we need to get this right. We continue to refine and fine-tune as we prepare for the formal development stage.
Improving the simplicity of data entry
We want Nautium to be simple. Simple to set up, simple to use, simple to talk about and promote to others! For the most part, we are trying to use dedicated buttons and dedicated screens so the user’s interaction with the app is short, complete, easy to understand and gets them back sailing or fixing or snorkelling as soon as possible. For example, on the image of the boat, with the click of one button you can see what’s stored in that area of the boat, and you can add or adjust what’s there.
Completing the reporting structure
Reporting is another unique feature of Nautium. Again with the push of a button the user will be able to:
- Access a list of the available reports
- Select a report to view
- Send to a friend via email, print or save as a snapshot in time.
We are creating sample reports to be included.
Added multiple currency reporting (expenses)
We know many people like to document the expenses they incur while cruising/travelling. There are many apps out there which do that. Some people still use paper, some use a spreadsheet software. Ours is intuitive, simple to use, and it allows for multiple currency entry and reporting and is integrated with the rest of the system, i.e. the inventory system.
Preparing Our Marketing Presentation
Finally, we are preparing our presentation to deliver to cruisers and boaters over the next couple of months. The first one is Thursday March 16 in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, just before we head south and then later back up to the Sea of Cortez. We plan to present to cruisers, boaters and mariners as we travel the Pacific coast of Mexico and around the Sea of Cortez over the summer.
So, many thanks for your patience. Thanks for your interest. We look forward to hearing from you! Want to help out? We also would appreciate you passing the word on to your family, friends and circles of acquaintances to help us promote the app, its concept and the next stage of development.
And, if you haven’t donated to our GoFundMe campaign yet, we would LOVE it if you’d join the ranks of those who’ve said “YES, Nautium is a great idea to simplify boating life”.