When you fire up your yacht, amazing things happen. Your generator kicks in, and starts delivering power to critical systems. Lights turn on throughout your boat. The HVAC system begins monitoring yacht temperatures, and heating/cooling accordingly, and your yacht control panel gives you a full system readout of your boat’s current state.

Have you ever wondered what’s behind all of these functions? They don’t happen on their own! An advanced Programmable Logic Controller (PLC for short) is responsible for the automation of many common yacht tasks!

The PLC can be thought of as the “nerve center” of your yacht. Very few things happen on-board that the PLC does not have some kind of responsibility for – so proper PLC programming and installation are critical for luxury yachts.

In this article, we’ll explore PLCs, what they are, and what they do – so that you can understand this critical yacht system in further detail.


What Is A PLC – And How Is It Different From A Normal Computer?

PLCs are a specialized kind of computer – but they are very different from your MacBook or your desktop PC. Modern personal computers have been designed to be very flexible, and powerful enough to accomplish an enormous variety of tasks.

In contrast, PLCs are very basic, and can only be programmed to accomplish a narrow band of different tasks. But there’s a reason for this – PLCs are built to function continuously, and without malfunctioning for years on end.

In a PLC, speed and power are not important. Instead, a PLC is built to provide constant, reliable performance in high-stakes industrial applications. Today, PLCs aren’t just used in yachts – they’re used in manufacturing to control million-dollar pieces of equipment, in amusement parks to control rides, and much more!

Still confused? Think of it like this – a normal computer is like a race car. It can go extremely fast for short periods of time, but is prone to breaking down. A PLC is like a long-haul truck – with proper maintenance, it’s going to keep running for hundreds of thousands of miles, even though it’s a bit slower.


What Are PLCs Used For In Yachts?

You may be confused about why your yacht needs a PLC – but think about all of the automated tasks that must be accomplished every time you use your yacht.

Your yacht has to do a systems check to ensure that everything is functioning properly. Engines and electrical systems must be turned on, HVAC systems kick into gear, machinery is monitored, and alarm systems are turned on – and this is just the beginning of the responsibilities of your PLC!

If there is something that happens on your yacht without your direct intervention, chances are that your PLC is responsible for it. That’s why modern yachts often use multiple redundant PLCs – if a PLC fails due to an accident or damage, manual control of a luxury yacht is nearly impossible.


Your Yacht Control Panel – Where You Interact With Your PLC

Today’s modern luxury yachts usually use touchscreen-based, waterproof control panels. Your yacht control panel is typically the only place where you will interact with your PLC, and it’s where you can view data about your yacht’s performance, and adjust certain aspects about how your PLC works.

Proper control panel design allows luxury yacht owners to have a fine-tuned control over important yacht systems, but ensures that user inputs will not cause a critical system failure of any kind.

This is the balancing act that PLCs constantly undergo – and it’s why they’re so important to the performance of your yacht.


Got More Questions About PLCs? Need PLC Programming Or Overhaul Services? Contact Us Now!

At Fine Line Marine Electric, we’ve been building and programming custom PLCs for more than 15 years. We’re proud to offer the best PLC services in the business! If you have further questions about PLCs, or believe you could benefit from our services, please contact us right away. We’d be happy to continue this discussion in person.