If this is the first time you’ve been here in a while, you might notice our new look and our new focus. Since its first post in 2007, OceanLines has focused on the boats we like to live and cruise on, whether for the day or for long, ocean-crossing passages. Since the Great Recession fully landed on the boating world in 2009, the appearance and sale of new boats gradually diminished, until it almost disappeared. There has been a small resurgence over the last year, but frankly, new boats and designs in our cruising category are still rather scarce.
One thing that remains true, and which is a field that has continued much more steadily to innovate and produce new products for boaters, is the marine electronics and boating systems industry. Ok, those are two industries really, but together they represent what we put IN our boats and what helps us to use our boats safely and efficiently.
So here at OceanLines, we’re going to focus on covering the developments in those two industries, bringing you all the latest news on marine electronics, software, and boat systems ranging from propulsion to electrical, hydraulic and sanitary. If you can buy it to be installed aboard or fitted to your boat, we’ll cover it.
If there are new cruising boats developed and launched, we’ll cover them too, no worries.
There’s a lot of water to cover. Consider the following:
- Touch screens are the wave of the present and future. But how you implement them and how you handle them when seas are rough are the sticky points. We’ll look into the latest offerings, such as the chartplotters from Garmin, Raymarine, the Navico brands – Simrad, Lowrance and B&G, and Furuno, and any others we can find that we think might deserve your attention.
- Radios are not the simple units of the past. Most you’d want to consider are GPS-equipped and include hailing and sometimes a host of other features, including wireless mics, integrated AIS receivers, even constant recording so you can replay the last received communication (now THAT would be handy).
- Depthfinders and other sonar units are as capable as the military technology of not so long ago. Multi-frequency transducers adapt to conditions and requirements and many units now often side-scan capabilities.
- Radars are decidedly more capable than the units of even five years ago. High definition units make close-in navigation much safer and use significantly less energy and pose almost no radiation risk to boaters or crewmen on deck.
- The “glass helm” has finally arrived in recreational boating and there’s a long list of new technology and products to consider. These systems can integrate information from your propulsion, electrical and safety systems and display as much or as little as you want. Multiple screens can serve to expand information or provide redundancy, although the reliability of today’s displays is much improved, too.
- Propulsion options have all gained joystick control options, something I actually predicted back in 2007 (eh, I don’t publicize the predictions I get wrong). Whether you have pod drives, inboards or outboards, they can all be controlled (sometimes requiring a bow thruster) with a joystick via computerized controls.
- Other boat systems have kept pace (some more so, some less so) with the revolution in marine electronics — some can now be monitored by your helm displays, for example. Tankage monitoring continues to get ever-so-slowly better. We have systems now to better charge and maintain our batteries, not to mention the proliferation of new battery technology. Everything from lighting (LED) and galley appliances (high-efficiency induction) have changed our power requirements.
- There are new services available, too. Consider Vessel Vanguard, a company that offers boat owners a comprehensive cloud-based portal to help manage and log maintenance requirements for all of their boat’s onboard systems.. And if you aren’t already a member of the ActiveCaptain crowdsource, you’re missing out on some pretty profound resources for cruising.
So, there’s a lot to review and a lot to discuss with you. We’d appreciate any heads-up or tips you can send us on new products — and services — that might interest your fellow boaters. Use our contact form to send us ideas, or email us at info at OceanLines dot biz.
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