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Aug. 13, 2020

1st Mate Delivers Ultimate Boating Confidence and Safety

Fully integrated system provides MOB alerts, distress signals and theft-deterrent functionality.

Chances are your favorite hours are spent on the water. And in today's world, with boating's potential to accommodate social-distancing recommendations, the appeal of time on the water is stronger than ever. If you're like many boaters today, you can’t wait to step from shore onto your boat and leave everything behind.

Now you can take that step knowing you're enhancing your boating safety with the 1st Mate Marine Safety & Security System, which includes an engine-integrated intelligent hub that connects a set of wearable fobs with a mobile-device app to deliver overboard alerts, distress messaging and theft-deterrent functionality. 1st Mate was introduced in June 2020 for SmartCraft®-equipped Mercury Marine engines.

Thanks to its robust wireless protocol and cutoff response time, 1st Mate also provides a wireless alternative to the traditional mechanical emergency engine stop switch and lanyard.

(The 1st Mate mobile app is available now in the Apple Store for iOS devices and in the Google Play App Store for Android devices.)

Integrated Safety

The 1st Mate system consists of wearable fobs for the captain and up to seven passengers. The fobs sync with the 1st Mate engine hub and boaters’ mobile apps and ensure that:

If any person or pet with a fob falls overboard, 1st Mate:

  • Sends a visual notification to all fobs, and sends the date, time and GPS coordinates of the overboard incident to anyone connected via the 1st Mate app.

Additionally, if the driver wearing the captain fob falls overboard, 1st Mate:

  • Immediately stops the engine(s);
  • Provides clear instructions on restarting the engine(s) to passengers running the 1st Mate app, along with a dynamic heading of the vessel to assist with returning to the location where the captain went overboard; and
  • Initiates the distress-messaging procedure (see Distress Message below).

More Important Features

1st Mate provides more than overboard alerts and information. It delivers additional important features for safety and security, including:

A Wireless Alternative or Replacement for Corded Cutoff Switches

As an alternative to a corded engine cutoff switch, the 1st Mate system provides boaters with a wireless option that’s both convenient and compliant. Its robust wireless protocol delivers nearly the same emergency cutoff response time and vessel behavior in an overboard situation as a traditional mechanical emergency stop switch system with a safety lanyard.

Through rigorous testing, Mercury has confirmed that the 1st Mate system complies with the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) standard A-33, which outlines requirements for emergency engine/propulsion cutoff devices. 1st Mate will also comply with new U.S. Coast Guard regulations (H.R. 3409) requiring the use of an engine cutoff switch on certain recreational vessels.

Be sure to always check your local regulations regarding engine cutoff devices to be sure you’re in compliance.

Distress Message

Once Distress Message is configured within the app, if the boat captain falls overboard, a countdown timer begins.

  • When the timer expires, 1st Mate will send a distress message to the emergency contacts designated on the captain’s 1st Mate app. The distress message includes location, heading, date and time of the man‑overboard event.

  • If the timer is cleared by the captain or any passenger before the countdown ends, no message will be sent.

  • If the captain or any passenger clears the man-overboard event after the timer has expired, they have the option of sending a second message stating “I’m OK” to the same emergency contacts.

Theft Deterrent System (TDS)

Theft Deterrent System (TDS) locks the boat’s engine(s) to prevent unauthorized use. When the captain is ready to get back behind the wheel, the engine(s) can easily be unlocked via the proximity of the captain’s wearable device or by using the 1st Mate mobile app.

Disable in Neutral

Mercury SmartCraft® users have the option to use the Disable in Neutral feature, which prevents man‑overboard actions and alarms from occurring when the engine is in neutral and the signal from a fob is lost. This additional feature is convenient when a captain or passenger leaves the boat at a dock to get supplies but chooses not to turn off the engine.

Over-the-Air Updates

1st Mate is capable of updating hub software and wearable fobs via the mobile app to add new capabilities or features.

NEW: Insurance Premium Discounts with 1st Mate

1st Mate now provides yet another feature: cheaper boating insurance. 1st Mate owners who are covered by International Marine Underwriters (IMU) are eligible for a 5% discount on total annual premiums. 1st Mate’s revolutionary technology both enhances the safety around boating and mitigates the risk of expensive insurance claims. Now, IMU will pass on some of those cost savings to responsible boaters out on the water. For some, this discount could amount to the entire cost of the 1st Mate product over the course of a few years. In order to attain the discount, 1st Mate owners should inquire directly with their dealership or Boater’s Choice. If the 1st Mate owner is already insured through IMU, all one must do is confirm ownership with an IMU insurance representative.

1st Mate is dedicated to providing a safer and more secure boating environment. This is just one of the many steps taken towards attaining that goal, and we encourage all 1st Mate owners to take advantage!

Learn More About 1st Mate

Contact your Mercury Authorized Dealer or visit for additional information regarding the 1st Mate Marine Safety and Security System.

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