OceanLines Has a New Look and Focus homepage screen capture

OceanLines Home Page as of New Year 2014

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.

Copyright © 2013 by OceanLines, a publication of OceanLines, LLC.

Posted by Tom in Boat Systems, Boats, Electrical Systems, Marine Electronics, Propulsion, Technology, Website news

What is the best marine navigation app for the iPad?

(Editor’s note — Christine Kling is an accomplished sailor and mystery author and she has spent a great deal of time actually using the iPad on the water for navigation and related tasks.  While your mileage may vary, I would put a lot of stock in Christine’s evaluation of these apps.  I’ve included here the first few sentences of her article today on the subject of iPad nav apps.  Be sure to check out the full article at the link below.)

Sample of Garmin BlueChart app with route placed onto chart with ActiveCaptain data.  Image courtesy of Christine Kling

Sample of Garmin BlueChart app with route placed onto chart with ActiveCaptain data. Image courtesy of Christine Kling

by Christine Kling

“This is another question I am often asked, especially since Garmin released their new iPad app BlueChart Mobile (app is free and in-app purchase of charts ranges from $29.99 for US Coast to $44.99 for US and Caribbean). Previously, in my travels, I have always used iNavX ($49.99 for app alone and another $49.99 for US and Northern Bahamas) and I’ve been wondering if Garmin’s new offering was going to sway me from my go-to app.”

Link to full story.

Copyright © 2013 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Electronics, Technology

Ranger Tugs, Cutwater Buyers Can Get Garmin Factory-Installed

Ranger Tugs 25SC Helm Featuring Garmin Electronics

Ranger Tugs 25SC Helm Featuring Garmin Electronics

Fluid Motion, the company that builds Ranger Tugs and the new Cutwater fast pilothouse boats said this week it has a deal with Garmin to provide that company’s marine electronics as factory-installed packages on both lines of boats.  Of course, if you don’t want Garmin gear, you can certainly order your boat without but I think there are some good reasons to consider going with the factory deal.

Garmin has been the up-and-comer in marine electronics over the past several years.  Interestingly, they’ve owned the general aviation  market for navigation and flight displays for many years and when they decided to get into marine electronics they brought some innovative stuff to the market, including the touchscreen.  In fact, here at OceanLines, we did a series on the hypothetical outfitting of a new Kadey-Krogen 55′ Expedition with a full suite of electronics and the package Garmin submitted was, arguable, the most compelling of all the manufacturers.

The packages that Ranger Tugs and Cutwater will be offering may or may not be as cheap as you can buy and install on your own (okay, they probably won’t be…), but you’ll be getting a package fully tested in your boat and, hopefully, well integrated into the specific systems on your boat.

At next week’s Seattle Boat Show, for example, you will be able to see the brand new Cutwater 26 and 28 outfitted with Garmin’s GPSMAP 5212, along with the GMR 18HD radar, GSD 22 digital sonar, GXM 51 XM satellite weather/audio antenna and VHF 200 radio.  That’s a nice 12-inch touchscreen display, with a great radar, sounder and live weather overlay capability.  And that radio can be augmented with up to 3 wireless, full-function handsets, so you could put an extra one in the cockpit.

And on the subject of system integration, all boats in both lines, except for the Ranger Tugs 21EC, can accept the Garmin GHP 10 autopilot, which features what the company calls “Shadow Drive” technology that automatically disengages the autopilot if the helm is turned, a nice feature I wish I’d had on my Robertson AP.

On the Ranger Tugs line, there are also options for the GPSMAP5215, a 15-inch touchscreen, the GPSMAP 740 and the AIS 600.  If you do any extensive cruising in your Ranger Tug, an AIS unit is an important piece of safety gear.  Yes, I know, commercial craft are often filtering Class B AIS transponder traffic, but you can still see them and if you’re doing what you should be as far as watchstanding, that’s better than neither of you seeing each other.  Read the final word on this at Ben Ellison’s PANBO.

Copyright © 2011 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Boats, Cruising Under Power, Electronics, Powerboats, Technology
Big Discounts on Grand Banks Aleutians

Big Discounts on Grand Banks Aleutians

The Grand Banks Aleutian 72 SC

The Grand Banks Aleutian 72 SC

Boatworks Yacht Sales, with two Connecticut locations and one in Jamestown, Rhode Island, is offering “serious” discounts on several Grand Banks models. The discounts include both factory and dealer concessions. As an example, the first 2010 72 Aleutian SC in the U.S. is at their docks and is significantly discounted from its MSRP of $4.07 million. It’s got twin Cat C-18s, 4-cabin layout with 3 heads plus crew quarters, Naiad stabilizers, bow and stern thrusters, a second generator and a Garmin electronics package. That’s all stuff you’d normally pay extra for.

The new Grand Banks 53 Aleutian RP

The new Grand Banks 53 Aleutian RP

Other models with big discounts include the soon-to-arrive 53 Aleutian RP, reduced well below its MSRP of $1.87 million. The dealer also has several late-model 59 Aleutians for sale as well as some other Aleutians in the brokerage listings.  If you’re interested in one of the Aleutian series from Grand Banks, you might check them out. Any time a factory gets involved in discounts, there’s an opportunity to get a true deal and the Aleutian line from Grand Banks are truly elegant cruisers.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Boats, Powerboats
Garmin Makes Huge Offer for Raymarine

Garmin Makes Huge Offer for Raymarine

Garmin-Proposed Helm for the Kadey-Krogen 55' Expedition

Garmin-Proposed Helm for the Kadey-Krogen 55' Expedition

In an announcement made on the London Stock Exchange today, Garmin announced it is offering 15 pence (19.74 cents U.S.) per share for all the shares of Raymarine Plc. Raymarine lately has been discussing the various offers made for its shares but had not specifically mentioned Garmin since talks broke down between the two firms last December.

In its filing, Garmin says Raymarine initially approached it about making an offer to purchase the company back in June of 2009 and that subsequent to a recently announced offer of 3.6 pence per share of Raymarine, the company decided to make an offer.

In its announcement, Garmin notes that its offer is:

– a 436 per cent. premium to the average share price of 2.8 pence per Raymarine Share in the three-month period ending on the day prior to the announcement of a possible offer for Raymarine on 11 March 2010;

– a 366 per cent. premium to the share price of 3.22 pence per Raymarine Share on the day prior to the announcement of a possible offer for Raymarine on 11 March 2010;

– a 275 per cent. premium to the possible amount of approximately 4 pence per Raymarine Share that would be available for return to Raymarine Shareholders under the non-offer proposal referred to in Raymarine’s announcement dated 21 April 2010; and

– a 152 per cent. premium to the share price of 5.95 pence per Raymarine Share as at the close of business on 27 April 2010, the closing price on the day prior to the date of this announcement.

Total consideration of approximately £12.5 million would be payable by Garmin to Raymarine Shareholders, assuming that no Raymarine Shares are issued between the date of this Announcement and the closing date of the Offer.

Garmin says it expects the offer will receive the necessary regulatory approvals. As of mid-afternoon today there has been no official response from Raymarine.

I believe this announcement is the latest evidence of the aggressive posture Garmin has taken in recent years toward the marine electronics market. The company has pioneered a great deal of innovation in non-marine markets and has become the de-facto market leader in general aviation, as well as dominating the handheld and automotive aftermarket GPS segments. Garmin made an innovative proposal for outfitting the new Kadey-Krogen 55′ Expedition when we asked the leading marine electronics companies to do so.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC. All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Electronics, Industry News, Technology

Garmin Outfits the new Kadey-Krogen 55′ Expedition

Garmin Proposed Helm for New Kadey-Krogen 55 Expedition -- Courtesy of Garmin
Garmin Proposed Helm for New Kadey-Krogen 55′ Expedition — Courtesy of Garmin

Garmin has proposed a sleek, modern marine electronics suite for the new Kadey-Krogen 55′ Expedition that offers extensive capability and nearly unlimited flexibility and redundancy due to its extremely high level of NMEA 2000 networking integration.  NMEA 2000 has been a long time in coming and the electronics suite proposed by Garmin fully embraces it.  New Krogen 55′ Expedition owners will find redundancy and nearly unlimited configuration capability in this system.  Garmin’s proposal was developed by its in-house team of systems designers and transmitted by Greg DeVries, Director, Marine and Recreational Sales.

DeVries and his colleagues responded specifically to our hypothetical buyers’ Request For Proposal, which outlined how they plan to use the boat and the general capabilities they would like to have from their marine electronics aboard.  Kadey-Krogen does not have an exclusive arrangement with any marine electronics supplier, so its owners can examine the offerings from all suppliers. Our fictional couple intends to cruise extensively in coastal regions but may also consider a transatlantic voyage at some time in the not-too-distant future.  You can take a look at the complete Garmin package — the Response to the RFP, as well as a portable document file that includes an extremely detailed schematic of the electronics suite.  Here’s an overview.


Garmin says:

“The Kadey-Krogen 55′ Expedition Yacht is a world-class passagemaker that will require advanced marine electronics and ship systems capable of permitting long distance cruising in a safe, easy and comfortable manner for all on board. As a leading electronics manufacturer, Garmin has a strong global support presence and a service network of dealers and product support teams that are able to provide new sales, replacement units, field service and support to any location the boat may travel, should the boat encounter a problem or need to add more equipment.”

Garmin marine electronics may not yet be as ubiquitous as Raymarine and Furuno, but Garmin GPS units — of all kinds — are not only everywhere on the planet but they come from the same company as the marine electronics.  So if you can find an authorized Garmin dealer in whatever corner of the planet you find yourself, you can probably get a Garmin replacement part as easily as a handheld GPS.

Garmin feels that a critical design philosophy for the Krogen 55′ Expedition outfitting is redundancy.  Here is DeVries and his team on that topic:

Long range cruising and transatlantic voyages for which the Kadey-Krogen 55′ is intended, add an important and required additional level of equipment for redundancy, safety and comfort. Based on the vessels planned use, we have added duplicate pieces of critical navigational and communication equipment to its overall suite of marine electronics. This includes installing a second radar, autopilot, and full function wired VHF fist microphones. This added equipment is to meet the long range and transatlantic requirements, and does not have any direct relationship to the equipments service lifecycle, duty or reliability.


The Garmin proposal is centered around its one year-old 4000 and 5000 series Multifunction Display chartplotters.  They are similar in capability, but the 5000 series features a fast touch-screen interface.  Garmin suggests the 5000 series, which is fully networkable, for the new Krogen 55′.  It’s available in screen sizes from 8 to 15 inches and Garmin proposes two of the 15-inch displays for the new helm.  Cruisers on a tighter budget could go with the less-expensive 4000 series, which sport a more traditional pushbutton interface.

Garmin Recommended Equipment List for Kadey-Krogen 55 Expedition -- Courtesy of Garmin

Garmin Recommended Equipment List for Kadey-Krogen 55 Expedition -- Courtesy of Garmin

The Garmin 5000 series MFDs have three Garmin marine network Ethernet-type ports and one NMEA 2000 5-pin micro-sized port on the back.  The inclusion of the NMEA 2000 port means the system can not only talk with other units from Garmin but also easily connect to a NMEA 2000 backbone, on which there can be an almost unlimited number of addition devices and sensors.  The fact that both Garmin network and NMEA 2000 can be connected at the same time represents the height of convenience and flexibility.  Each of the MFDs comes with its own dedicated GPS antenna as part of the purchase price.  Garmin says the GPS 17X NMEA 2000 WAAS-enabled, high-sensitivity antennas can be installed “above or to the underside of decks and fly bridges.”

So the two big 15-inch MFDs are side-by-side on the main dash panel, as you can see in the photo above, which is an actual photograph of the helm of the Krogen 55′ that Garmin staff have re-touched to include fully scaled images of their products.  Seeing a proposal illustrated in this fashion is a major help to the buyer.  Also visible in the Garmin illustration is the smaller 5208 8-inch MFD installed on the left, angled panel of the helm station.  This unit serves as a fully independent backup navigation unit, with its own dedicated GPS antenna.  It will also display anything on either of the two networks — the Garmin Ethernet and the NMEA 2000.  It also has its own dedicated radar antenna.  Most ocean-going yachts these days will not leave port without two functional radar systems, although one is typically larger and more powerful and serves as the primary unit.

In this case, Garmin is proposing its top-of-the-line GMR 406 Open Array/Pedestal radar for the primary system.  It isn’t as big as some of the larger units available from other manufacturers but includes several features that make it an attractive alternative.  It uses a 1.1 degree horizontal beam width, significantly narrower than most units of its size and even some larger antennas.  Narrow beam width translates into higher definition views, since the radar beam is narrow enough to distinguish between small, relatively closely spaced objects.  At 4 kW of radiated power, it’s not the strongest signal out there, but frankly, unless you are a sport fisherman looking to spot flocks of birds at the horizon, it’s absolutely sufficient and will handle collision-avoidance requirements in rain and other, less-than optimal conditions.  It also comes with full MARPA (auto target tracking), as well as some interesting features, such as selectable “look-ahead” and non-transmit zones and alarm zones.  These last features are extremely handy when using the radar in crowded locations or while anchored.

The secondary radar is the GMR 24HD, a closed array radar that also has 4kW of power.  It has similar processing capabilities and MARPA and looks like the perfect backup solution.  It’s also less than half the price of the primary system, so you get a lot for your money.

Garmin proposal for Krogen 55 Expedition helm - close up -- Courtesy of Garmin

Garmin proposal for Krogen 55' Expedition helm - close up -- Courtesy of Garmin

You can also see on the left-hand panel of the mocked-up display in the photo that Garmin is proposing the use of three additional, similar sized instruments.  These include, on the left,  the 4.25 square-inch color display of the GMI10 marine data instrument, which can display almost any flavor of NMEA 2000 or older NMEAA 0183 data.  Garmin suggests using one on the bridge, one in the main salon and one in the master stateroom.  Since they can display almost anything, they can be used as systems monitors anywhere they’re needed.  Next to the GMI 10 are the two displays of the redundant GHP 10 autopilots.  This is one of Garmin’s newest marine accessories and it features a patented “shadow drive” technology that lets the helmsman take control at any time by simply turning the helm manually.  Once reestablished on course, the autopilot with automatically re-engage if desired.  It has a wireless RF handheld control and is programmed with a number of unique capabilities, including the ability to follow a waypoint course without a specific limitation on the degree of turn.  Many older autopilots would disengage, or like mine, simply lose its mind when asked to turn more than a relatively limited number of degrees in order to follow a programmed course.

Garmin was the leader in getting realtime weather information displayed on chartplotters and the proposal for the Krogen 55′ includes Garmin’s GDL 30A  receiver for displaying everything from NEXRAD radar, to wave and sea states, to marine weather forecasts.  Garmin proposes enhancing this with the GWS 10 Wind Sensor, another NMEA 2000-compliant sensor that will also provide barometric pressure and air temperature — two critical measurements, in addition to the normal wind data.

Garmin Schematic of Electronics Proposed for Kadey-Krogen 55 Expedition -- Courtesy and Property of Garmin

Garmin Schematic of Electronics Proposed for Kadey-Krogen 55' Expedition -- Courtesy and Property of Garmin

As another indicator of Garmin’s continued expansion of its marine electronics lines, the company is proposing its VHF 200 radio, with the optional GHS 10 Handset microphone, which you can see hanging on the helm above, to the left of the main MFDs.  Garmin also suggests our couple install a good Single Sideband (SSB) radio for long-distance, over-the-horizon communication at sea.  In this case, Garmin recommends a unit like the Icom M-802 SSB with antenna, tuner and remote speaker.  The Garmin VHF 200 provides full class-D DSC capability via either NMEA 2000 or NMEA 0183.  Garmin doesn’t specifically note, but I’m sure would agree that there should probably be some VHF redundancy as well.  Most cruisers in this class of boat would probably have an additional fixed-mount VHF, as well as one or more handheld VHF units.  The handhelds have come a long way recently and include such features as DSC, multiple-bands and full submersible protection.  Some even float.

For depth sounding, Garmin suggests its GSD 22 2kW black box digital sounder module, coupled with a Garmin Airmar M260 1 kW in-hull transducer.  This unit can provide fish-finding and depth sounding capabilities.  Garmin recommends an additional transducer for temperature and depth sounding redundancy — an Airmar dt-800 depth and temperature, bronze NMEA 2000 thru-hull transducer, coupled to the GMI 10 Marine Instrument.

Garmin agrees that our couple should install an AIS system on the yacht.  All of the Garmin 4000 and 5000 series units allow full receive and display capability of AIS information.  Garmin says a full class A transmit and receive AIS device is “a definite must-have and safety item for any long-range and transatlantic cruising.


Garmin has grown far beyond its roots in the basic GPS market and now offers a full suite of marine electronics.  Their enthusiasm in participating in our experiment with the new Kadey-Krogen is, I think, indicative of how they are approaching the marketplace.  Their product development over the last several years has been highlighted by innovation and real value-added.  The realtime satellite weather many of us now enjoy while offshore was a Garmin innovation and the touch-screen interface is something they think has a real future, as in the 5000 series MFDs. 

I think Garmin has to be commended for its NMEA 2000 integration, as well.  All marine electronics manufacturers still use semi-proprietary Ethernet networks, but with NMEA 2000 ports right alongside, the consumer gets the best of both worlds.  If you want to know more about the details and the many trials and tribulations along the road to full implementation of the NMEA 2000 specification, check in with Ben Ellison’s PANBO blog.  Ben has more NMEA 2000 integration experience than many marine electronics technicians and he was an early, and loud advocate for a speedier implementation of this new standard.

Check out the full text of Garmin’s proposal and its proposed, general network schematic in the links above.  Here at OceanLines, we extend our thanks to Garmin, and in particular to Carly Baltes, Greg DeVries, and the talented systems specialists and artists who contributed to the project.

If you would like to talk to Garmin about their proposal for the Krogen 55′ Expedition or any of their other marine products, you can visit them at the Miami International Boat Show and Strictly Sail, at booth # 1648 at the Miami Beach Convention Center site.  If you’re going to the show, stop by and see the actual Kadey-Krogen 55′ Expedition at the Sea Isle Marina in  Miami at dock 808 a/b/c.

Copyright ©  2009 by OceanLines LLC

Posted by Tom in Boats, Technology

Let’s Outfit the Helm of the new Kadey-Krogen 55′ Expedition

Kadey-Krogen 55' Expedition Helm

The helm of the new Kadey-Krogen 55 Expedition Awaits Outfitting

On Monday, February 2, 2009, OceanLines will publish the first in a unique series of articles intended to demonstrate the current state-of-the-art of passagemaking-level marine electronics.  We have been working with Kadey-Krogen Yachts and its vice president, Larry Polster, to demonstrate how each of four of the top marine electronics companies would outfit the newest Kadey-Krogen Yacht — the 55′ Expedition, which just arrived here in the U.S. and made its public debut at the Stuart Trawlerfest last weekend.  The 55 Expedition will be on prominent display at the upcoming Miami International Boatshow.

For this series, we asked Furuno, Garmin, Raymarine and Simrad to give us their recommendations, based on a fictional Request For Proposal (RFP) from a a fictional couple just acquiring their new 55 Expedition.  The RFP — which you can read in detail HERE — discusses the couple’s cruising plans, their general preferences in equipment, and the specific capabilities they require from the new electronics installed on board.

In order to help the marine electronics OEMs, Kadey-Krogen provided detailed drawings and specifications on the 55 Expedition, converting CAD files directly from the design into more portable document formats.  The OEMs were each given the RFP and the boat documentation early this month and they have responded with their recommendations and rationale.  Beginning Monday, we will present each individual response — one at a time, each day next week, concluding on Friday with a wrap-up and analysis of the series.

So, have a good look at this pristine helm station onboard one of the newest passagemaking yachts available and come back on Monday to see how Garmin proposes our fictional couple outfit the helm.

Copyright ©  2009 by OceanLines LLC

Posted by Tom in Boats, Technology