OLAS stands for Overboard Location Alert System and has been developed and built on innovation for performance lighting and safety products for the marine industry by UK based Exposure. The OLAS system uses Bluetooth technology to provide a scalable and affordable wireless safety system for motor and sailing vessels up to 80ft in length. OLAS creates virtual tethers to crew, family, pets and onboard equipment ensuring that if they fall overboard an alarm is triggered. In a Man Over Board (MOB) situation OLAS will sound an alarm and record the latitude and longitude of the incident.
The OLAS product range is split into 2 product functions; OLAS transmitters and OLAS receivers. Crew members must be wearing an OLAS transmitter, either an OLAS Tag an OLAS Float-On (a smart water activated lifejacket LED light with MOB technology incorporated inside) or the all new rechargeable OLAS T2 Tag which will be available from May/June 2022.
These transmitters are tethered and synchronised by Bluetooth to one of the OLAS receiver units, either the OLAS CORE, OLAS GUARDIAN, or the all new OLAS N2K unit before leaving the vessels berth. The OLAS system is capable of tracking up to 25 OLAS transmitters around a vessel. If an OLAS transmitter goes missing or the manual MOB button is pressed, the OLAS system will trigger an alarm via the inbuilt 85DB alarm in the unit and also via the vessels onboard NMEA connected devices when connected by the OLAS N2K. The alarm will also sound on all crew members smartphones that are logged on to the system using the free OLAS App.
The range of a Bluetooth signal has greatly been improved since the technology was first used in MOB systems and now sufficient for the system to work reliably on yachts up to 80ft in length. Any blind or troublesome signal spots can be easily fixed utilising the OLAS Extender, which can be used to cover/boost areas where transmitter signal may be blocked. This minimises false alarms and allows the system to be installed on larger vessels up to 80ft and the ability to scale the system up if required.
The OLAS system works because water absorbs electromagnetic waves very efficiently. The connection or tether is broken even if the tag is just under the water surface. By using this method of a permanent connectivity by Bluetooth, the OLAS MOB system effectively has an in-built fail safe. If a transmitter becomes out of range to the receiver (which will happen when the vessel is on the move and the transmitter is overboard or becomes out of range) then the alarm will be triggered. The OLAS system can therefore also be used for security, by simply attaching a transmitter to the vessels equipment such as a MOB flotation device, a liferaft or the yacht tender, ( and naming the transmitter as "Tender", Liferaft or Horseshoe Buoy" using the APP) you can always be aware if something has gone missing. A very useful additional feature for example when on passage and towing the tender!
The OLAS MOB system alerts crew members via it's inbuilt 85db speaker or additionally over the ship’s speakers (when connected via the vessels NMEA network using the OLAS N2K unit) and will also trigger a high-power emergency red light, providing clear visual indication of an alert whilst also acting as a light to illuminate the surrounding area. The OLAS GUARDIAN or OLAS N2K can even stop the engine, if the vessels engine is fitted or permits a kill switch function. This is something usually only seen fitted on vessels with outboard engines, but a really good and practical option for all sailing vessels. After 5 seconds the kill switch is deactivated enabling the engine to be restarted and full MOB crew procedures to be carried out.
In summary, the OLAS MOB system from Exposure represents the very latest innovation in crew overboard technology with portable and hard wired & networked to vessel options and includes many additional features, all at a low cost for an essential item of onboard safety equipment.