April Electronics Issue

Last month we took a look at some of the year’s most popular electronics as well as a couple of products we thought you might find interesting.  This month we are going to take look at some of the products that won an Innovation Award either at the Miami International Boat Show, IBEX or METSTRADE.  The winning products had to have an innovative distinction from other products currently available, provide benefit to the marine industry, and provide practicality of use.

Simrad Total Scan Skimmer Transducer - Fishfinders often require multiple transducers, Simrad has incorporated Braodband (83/200kHz), CHIRP (medium and high frequencies), Structure Scan HD (455/800 kHz) and Downscan imaging functions into one single transducer.  It eliminates the need to wire and install multiple transducers while eliminating cost.  While it is compatible with the Go Series, NSS Evo2 and NSO Evo2 systems, some units require a software upgrade so check before you buy.  Another good tip is to be wary of where the mounting bracket holes are in conjunction with the transducer before you leave the store.  This is good advice when purchasing any transducer with a mounting bracket because sometimes they just don’t line up.

Vesper Marine, deckWatch App - A winner at IBEX in the safety equipment category and nominated for a Dame award at METSTRADE, the deckWatch app from Vesper Marine is a free smart watch app that connects directly to the Wi-Fi of your smartAIS Vesper transponder.  You don’t have to carry your smartphone in rough sea conditions, you can see alerts about potential collisions, anchor drag or a person overboard directly on your smart watch.

One of the main benefits of the deckWatch app is that it will also display ship data such as wind speed, depth, SOG, et directly on your smartwatch. Think how convenient it is to see this typical “instrument” data directly on your wrist without having to look at an instrument of chartplotter. You can view AIS targets with a graphical depiction of bearing, range, Closest Point of Approach (CPA) and Time to Closest Point of Approach (TCPA) from the perspective of the boat. Targets are prioritized in order of collision risk. If a collision alarm is triggered, you can see the alarm on your smartwatch allowing you to immediately change course or contact the other vessel.

Mega Imaging, Humminbird Helix and Solix Series - Mega imaging is the next big step in sonar allowing you to see shipwrecks, underwater trees and even shopping carts under the Burrard Street bridge.  This technology is currently built into the Helix and Solix series multifunction displays and uses a 1.2MHz frequency sonar, the highest of any recreational fish finder.  It is so detailed that you can see your anchor’s hookup.

Raymarine I70 Wireless Wind Performance Sailing Pack - The i70 sailing pack includes the i70 colour instrument, wireless wind system, depth, speed and temperature sensors.  The 4-inch LED lit screen is a bit bigger than the ST70 and the Garmin GMI 10.  The Micro-Talk Wireless Performance Sailing Gateway communicates directly to the kit’s T120 wireless masthead transducer for precise wind speed and direction and is compatible with the Lighthouse II (v17) multifunction displays.

And for hard-core racers, you can add an optional Raymarine Wireless Maxi to experience the benefits of automatic airflow correction to eliminate inaccuracy from sail updraft and mast heel angle.

Multi-Function Display – Garmin GPSMAP 8624 - This 24-inch full HD display with pinch-to-zoom touchscreen control has the highest resolution on the marine market.  It also provides standard USB touch output for use as a touchscreen monitor for Windows® and Mac® operating systems. Or install multiple displays with the industry’s lowest flush-mount profile or flat mount them edge-to-edge to create a sleek glass helm look. It’s easy to connect to peripheral devices with built-in Wi-Fi® connectivity, ANT® technology, 4 wired Ethernet ports, NMEA 2000, HDMI and USB ports with complete network compatibility.  You can easily add an array or dome radar, autopilot, Flir camera or Fusion stereo.

Sirius XM graphical marine weather -With basic packages starting at $15 per month, this service provides localized weather information including NEXRAD storm cell attributes, weather radar, lightning, alerts and watch boxes, 5 day forecasts, and wind data.  The Marine Coastal package includes wind and wave forecasts, sea surface temps, and buoy data.  The Marine Offshore package includes offshore sea surface temps, extended weather, wind and wave as well as US and Canadian alerts.  Sirius is compatible with the Garmin GXM53 receiver, the Raymarine SR150 receiver, the Simrad WM-3 receiver and the Furuno BBWX3 receiver.  And if you really want to rock the boat, you can add Sirius XM radio to your marine service plan at a discounted rate giving you over 150 channels of commercial free music, sports, entertainment and news.

Fish Finder – Garmin GSD 26 CHIRP Pro Sonar  - This next evolution of sportfishing technology provides unrivaled target separation at far greater depths than traditional sonar.  Designed for serious deep-sea sport fishing, the GSD 26 scans on multiple frequencies at one time, returning vast amounts of data to the receiver.  You can expect precise, shallow-water-like target separation at depths of up to 3,000 meters.  It is compatible with most newer GPSMAP multifunction displays but does not ship with a transducer.

Shakespeare Phase III Antenna - Up until recently, VHF antennas have remained relatively unchanged.  Working with civil and military professionals, Shakespeare set out to make a number of improvements by adding a custom foam system that protects the radiators from vibration and moisture along with stainless steel hardware, silver-plated elements and a SO239 connector that allows you to install the antenna without rerouting the existing cable.  They even come with an 8 year warranty.


About the author: Jeff Cote is the owner of Pacific Yacht Systems, a full service shop delivering marine electrical and navigation solutions for recreational boats. Visit their website and blog for info and articles on marine electrical systems, projects and more: www.pysystems.ca.