So I want to travel across Atlantic Ocean alone in my boat. And I like to sleep good..8h if possible

My question is, is there an automated system, radar (or some vessel detection system) that can wake me up if there's another vessel nearby ?

money is not an issue

  • 1
    What happens if you google "automated sailing systems"?
    – bob1
    Commented Jul 3, 2022 at 21:11
  • 7
    such systems exist. That you are not aware of them is a good indication that you should not try to cross the ocean alone on a boat yet.
    – njzk2
    Commented Jul 4, 2022 at 18:22

1 Answer 1


Yes, these systems exist. They are for instance equipped on some Open60 race boats (unfortunately can't find the name of the system they use). And then of course there are AIS and Radar.

Neither of these systems are fault-free though. The camera system Boris Herman's Malizia II was equipped with failed when he ran into a fishing vessel. And AIS of course fails when other vessels are not equipped with it. Automatic identification of Radar targets is also only vaguely reliable, particularly in poor weather.

And then come the rules: The International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (Colreg) require to keep a constant watch by eye and ear and hence, when taken literally, would not allow single handed ocean sailing. There's a gray zone here, and it's typically accepted to interrupt the watch for short periods (e.g. to visit the heads or prepare a meal), but that's for like 10 minutes each time.

Googling confirms (e.g here) that solo-sailors sleep at most 1 hour at a time, often much less. There's no way you can safely sleep 8 consecutive hours every night when crossing an ocean. That would be much more perilous than the journey itself, even with the best equipment money can buy (and is the reason I'm sticking to shore-sailing when single-handed).


If money is not an issue, I suggest to hire a crew instead. There are professional skippers/sailors that are glad to help sailing a ship safely across an ocean. In fall, you also find people trying to hitchhike across the Atlantic in typical locations such as Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. They offer their service as crew for a free bunk.

  • 1
    The article you link to says "wake up every few hours" rather than "sleep no more than an hour". Commented Jul 4, 2022 at 17:48
  • 1
    That is precised further down in the article: "Many single-handed sailors sleep in two or four-hour blocks, interrupted every hour or two by a brief look around and heading check." So maybe it's two hours, but still far from 8, as the OP wants.
    – PMF
    Commented Jul 4, 2022 at 18:16
  • Wasn't there also that completely automated boat that sailed around the world at one point (last 5 years) unmanned. I don't know how that worked, but I suspect a custom system.
    – bob1
    Commented Jul 5, 2022 at 0:09
  • 1
    @bob1 True, I remember having read that as well. But that was a scientific experiment, and as such could have failed, too.
    – PMF
    Commented Jul 5, 2022 at 4:34
  • @PMF thank you for the complete answer.
    – OWADVL
    Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 8:40

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