Raspberry Pi helped restore this boat to former glory

Baltic is a handsome 1962 vintage tugboat that was built in Norway, where she operated until the 1980s. She’s now in English waters, having been registered in Southampton once renovations were complete. After some initial hull restoration work in France she sailed to the western Ligurian coast in Italy, where it took about five years to complete the work. The boat’s original exterior was restored, while the inside was fully refurbished to the standard of a luxury yacht.

restored boat being pulled out of water before any work had been done on it
You need quite a large crane to do this

But where is the Raspberry Pi?

Ulderico Arcidiaco, who coordinated the digital side of Baltic’s makeover, is the CEO of Sfera Labs, so naturally he turned to Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+ in the guise of Sfera’s Strato Pi CM Duo for the new digital captain of the vessel.

Strato Pi CM Duo is an industrial server comprising a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+ inside a DIN-rail case with a slew of additional features. The MagPi magazine took a good look at them when they launched.

restored boat control room
Beats the view from our windows

The Strato Pi units are the four with red front panels in the cabinet pictured below. There are four other Raspberry Pi Compute Modules elsewhere onboard. Two are identical to the Strato Pi CM Duos in this photo; another is inside an Iono Pi Max; and there’s a Compute Module 4 inside an Exo Sense Pi down in the galley.

restored boat control cupboard
No spaghetti here

Thoroughly modern makeover

Baltic now has fully integrated control of all core and supplementary functions, from power distribution to tanks and pump control, navigation, alarms, fire, lighting, stabilisers, chargers, inverters, battery banks, and video. All powered by Raspberry Pi.

restored boat docked in sunny blue sky location
What a beauty

Ulderico says:

“When it was built sixty years ago, not even the wildest science fiction visionary could have imagined she would one day be fully computer controlled, and not by expensive dedicated computer hardware, but by a tiny and inexpensive device that any kid can easily buy and play with to have fun learning.

And, if there is some old-fashioned patriotism in things, the Raspberry Pi on board will surely like the idea of being back under their home British Flag.”


Rahul avatar

The control panel looks industrial grade. Instead of programmable logic controllers (PLCs) there are Raspberry Pi’s. Excellent use case to demonstrate the versatility of the Raspberry Pi.

Jeffrey Tolen avatar

Raspberry Pi’s have had this ability for quite some time. How about sharing some of the coding so we can all build our own.

Neil avatar

Seaworthy? Time will tell …

Tom Freund avatar

Do you mean seaworthy on a commercial or military ? What sea states were you referring to ?

Josh avatar

Star Trek was airing in 1964 so imagining a ship that’s fully computer controlled wasn’t that far off.

Kevin Shumaker avatar

9 Sep, 1966…
Lost in Space 8 Sep, 1965 (Robby the Robot)
2001 2 April, 1968 Hal 9000 (b. 12 January 1992)

Pavel avatar

It makes absolutely no difference whether it is Raspberry Pi, or Intel NUC, or whatsoever in this case. Software is a thing that really matters.

skris88 avatar

Yes, software. But fast speed and low cost hardware with external IO, and that is easily swap-able if damaged. Thus Raspberry Pi computers.

Tom Freund avatar

How about more articles like this in Raspberry Pi Weekly e-newsletter to illustrate the commercial uses of the Pi ?

Ashley Whittaker avatar

It made it into the latest issue of Raspberry Pi Weekly 👍 (which went out a little later than usual)

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