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Biometric fingerprint access control for super yachts.

UK Biometrics International : 10 September, 2007  (Application Story)
UK Biometrics explains the elegant application of the latest biometric technologies for controlling both physical access and also access to functions in the latest breed of super yachts.
After hull integrity the primary concern of super yacht Captain and his yacht security officers (YSOS) must be unauthorised intruders gaining access to the interior of the yacht. In order to provide total security and data tracking throughout the super yacht, marine security specialists are looking to the one key that cannot be lost, stolen, forged, transferred or hacked. The human fingerprint, recognised and recorded by a biometric scanner.

Biometrics is the science of recognising people by their unique physical characteristics. The oldest and most reliable method is fingerprint recognition. Once the preserve of the military and Government departments, biometric access systems are providing security and time & attendance data to companies, visitor attractions and individual homes the world over.

Registering and de-registering individuals takes seconds. The fingerprint is placed on a small scanner which picks up minutiae points, converts these into data which is encrypted and stored for future comparison. No fingerprints are stored in their entirety and it is impossible to reverse engineer a fingerprint from the data stored.

The Passerelle is the gateway to the super yacht and when docked, the owner, crew, guests, suppliers, victuallers and technicians must all pass through this area. This is where registration will take place, the data being transferred to a PC on the Bridge or security command post.

Once on board the scale of the access challenge becomes apparent and the YSOS must devise a multi layered access system to combine absolute security with ease of use for owner, guests and crew. It at this point the biometric system really comes into its own.

Key individuals, for example the owner, Captain, Chief Engineer and YSOS will need fast, easy access to all areas. Guests will require the same ease of access to appropriate areas but not navigation or technical areas. Temporary workers must access appropriate areas and a record must be kept of all movement in and out of security portals and doors.

Biometrics will meet all the above objectives simply, economically and elegantly. While biometrics is a high tech solution, day to day operation is simplicity itself.

Once registered on the system, individuals will be allowed to access appropriate biometric locks by pressing their fingerprint on a scanner. These protocols are set by the system administrator at the command centre PC.

If an individual is not authorised to enter a door or area the system will refuse entry. A record of refused entries is logged on the command PC together with the identity of the individual attempting unauthorised access. The system is configured to flash an alert at repeated refused access attempts.

The latest 'second generation' sub dermal biometric readers are particularly suitable for external use on super yachts. The J Series biometric access system has been developed by UK Biometrics with Korean partner Keico Hightech, manufacturers of high quality security terminals and Lumidigm, the Albuquerque, New Mexico based worldwide patent holder of multispectral imaging for use in biometrics.

Unlike current biometric readers which scan the surface of a fingerprint, the J Series scans the sub dermal ridges that form the fingerprint. This means the scanner will give an accurate reading through water, paint, grease or latex work gloves. The J series is resistant to extremes of temperature, water, dust and has been proven in harsh industrial environments. It is used at major US tourist attractions handling millions of visitors per day.

For internal use the KF2000 from UK Biometrics provides a discreet, wall mounted scanner. All locks can be fitted with a 'pass-back' system requiring the individual to scan their fingerprint to leave a room or an area and an emergency exit override is incorporated.

Biometric access systems are increasingly specified at the super yacht design stage, however retro-fitting is quick and can be accomplished by any qualified IT technician. The system will network using an existing CAT5 backbone or electronic conduits. The fitting of the biometric area and door controls can be accomplished by a trained carpenter or shipwright with no more difficulty than a traditional lock.

Since the biometric system is electronic, maintenance is minimal and UK Biometrics provides technical support worldwide.

Shaun Oakes, Operations Director with UK Biometrics says;

"In an era when YSOS are striving to provide total security for the super yacht, her owner, guests and crew, Biometrics provides the only access system that offers a one hundred percent guarantee that the person seeking to access a door or area is exactly who they claim to be. A biometric security system lets YSOS know exactly who is where, when they entered and when they left all areas of the super yacht."

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