The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus has presented a huge challenge to resources around the world, from domestic to government level. The race to adapt existing technologies and innovate and deploy newer ones has resulted in an influx of ideas, many of which can be implemented to also ensure yacht safety for owners, guests and crew in the coming months.


One of the most visible examples of medical technology is infrared thermometers. Used to measure body temperature from a safe distance, thermal detection is often the first port of call when trying to ascertain whether or not someone has an increased body temperature. Both quick and easy to use, infrared thermometers can be introduced as a frontline measure even before guests embark the yacht. A number of yacht crew have also introduced them into their daily routine, taking the temperature of all on board each morning so as to keep an accurate log and be able to respond swiftly to any changes.


The use of thermal imaging has also come into public focus by way of thermal/infrared cameras. Drones equipped with thermal cameras were used in Wuhan, China, the original epicentre of the crisis, to monitor movement, and now The Telegraph reports that US firm Flir, a specialist in thermal imaging technology, has registered an incredible 700% increase in demand for its infrared cameras, which they claim can detect changes in skin temperature as slight as 0.01 degrees Celsius. Portable thermal imaging devices that measure body temperature and flag possible victims of the virus or other illness are ideal for use on board yachts. The key is accurate, non-contact skin temperature measurement, and their popularity and success are perfectly illustrated by the wave of start-ups now making smartphone devices to convert a mobile phone into a thermal imaging camera.


In fact, the success of medical technology and cameras has been such that potential solutions such as ultraviolet light, which was used successfully on both SARS and MERS, are pushing the boundaries of creativity, experimenting with the possibility of UV-equipped robots being used to disinfect public locations, confined spaces and even accessories, such as face masks.


Singapore has been universally praised for its rapid measures and ability to limit the number of patients in its borders, despite its proximity to China, but much of this success is down to the government’s tight ‘Stay Home’ regime, which has been enforced using spot-check phone calls that request videos or photos of the receiver’s surroundings, SMS with a link containing a GPS location request, and impromptu house visits. However, saving resources and time, an increasing number of countries, including Germany and the UK are now turning to contact tracing apps to help suppress the virus while allowing people more freedom than a full lockdown would give.


The app uses a phone’s Bluetooth technology to register contact when people come within two metres of one another for at least 15 minutes. If a user develops symptoms of COVID-19, they inform the emergency services and an alert is sent to other users they have come in contact with. Used in tandem with large-scale testing of the population, the apps have proven useful in keeping the transmission rate of the virus low.


Of course, the best preventative of all is social distancing to avoid coming into contact with the virus all together. While security on board yachts is always top of the agenda, 360-degree high resolution cameras, such as Panoblu, provide a perimeter view which can be accessed while on board or remotely. This means captains and owners can continually monitor the area surrounding the yacht when docked in marinas (a position that nearly all vessels currently find themselves in), accurately capturing incoming and outgoing traffic and people. It serves as an additional layer of protection and assurance, safeguarding the health and wellbeing of those on board, as well as peace of mind for owners isolating away from their prized assets. And when preventative measures are no longer essential, Panoblu continues to act as the ideal luxury yacht accessory once the travel restrictions are lifted. When access to remote locations that owners wish to capture on camera are once again a reality, then Panoblu’s advanced imaging system provides the ideal memory of a lifetime.