Lowrance

Check These Out at the 2016 Miami Boat Show

If you’re already in South Florida, or headed that way for this weekend, you probably know that The 2016 Progressive® Insurance Miami International Boat Show® has moved from the Miami Beach Convention Center to Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin. And now that the dog days of the 2008 recession have more or less faded, there is lots of innovation to explore in recreational boating. So stop by the show and take a look at some cool new boats and gear. Some of my top pics for the show:

Navico

Navico, the world’s largest manufacturer of marine electronics, announced several new technology developments that will integrate some key industry systems monitoring capabilities into the company’s equipment.  The company announced it would partner with Naviop, an international leader in monitoring and control systems for yachts and luxury megayachts, to develop state-of-the-art solutions for displaying and managing sophisticated yacht systems. The effort will bring Naviop’s monitoring technology into the broader marketplace for production and high-volume boat building.

Naviop Monitor

Navico also announced that, in partnership with Mercury®, the full line of Simrad® GO, NSS evo2 and NSO evo2 multifunction displays will soon receive a new software upgrade that adds powerful functionality with the recently introduced Mercury VesselView® Link module, providing boaters with fully integrated Mercury engine data combined with their chartplotter, sounder or radar display. Leif Ottosson, Navico CEO, said, “Working together with Mercury, we are able to offer boaters a simplified approach to data management. Now information from radar, sonar, gauges, engine controls, and more, can all be viewed on one screen, minimizing distractions for captains and simplifying the boating experience.”

Navico’s Lowrance® brand announced the release of the Lowrance Precision-9 Compass, which delivers heading and rate-of-turn information with an enhanced level of accuracy to Lowrance Outboard Pilot™, Broadband Radar™ and navigational systems over an NMEA 2000® connection.

Lowrance Precision-9 Compass

The Precision-9 Compass incorporates a sophisticated solid-state sensor array measuring motion on nine separate axes. Data from all nine axes is used to calculate the most accurate heading and rate-of-turn information possible, avoiding common limitations of conventional fluxgate electronic compasses. Once the compass is calibrated, it delivers heading accuracy of ±2 degrees, with a pitch and roll range of ±45 degrees. Lowrance said the compass should be available this month in the U.S. and Canada at a suggested retail price of $645USD.

BRP – Rotax and Evinrude

Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) announced that its Rotax Intelligent Shift and Throttle (iST) system was recognized by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) with an Innovation Award in the Jet Boat category at the beginning of this year’s show. BRP says the game-changing iST option for Rotax jet propulsion systems brings electronic control to formerly mechanical functions. Now available on nearly all Scarab jet boat models and Chaparral Vortex models, iST allows boaters to optimize low-speed maneuverability in a variety of environmental conditions.

BRP’s Evinrude brand has a very high profile at this year’s show, with some eye-watering demos available with the E-TEC G2 models on several boats at the dock. BRP has also announced that they have approved the use of biobutanol fuel blends in Evinrude engines, and will be offering test rides to show the compatibility. Demonstrations will be held at the Miami International Boat Show for media and consumers at on a Key West 239 equipped with an Evinrude E-TEC G2 300HP engine, at Slip #120. Even if you don’t think you will have access to these new bio fuels in the near future, you definitely want to experience a 300HP E-TEC G2. That’s all I’m saying.

GOST

GOST® (Global Ocean Security Technologies), celebrating its 10th year as a world leader in marine security, tracking, monitoring and video surveillance systems, is highlighting its newest marine products at the Miami show this year at Booth: C368, in the C Tent. You can see the new GOST Nav-Tracker 3.0 SM, with its hardwired interface unit that allows it to be integrated with hardwired sensors you may already have aboard your boat. If you’re just getting started on the search for a serious security system, look at the GOST NT Evolution 2.0 security and tracking system. The pinnacle of marine security solutions, the NT Evolution 2.0 marine-grade, wireless security, monitoring and tracking system provides battery backed-up global arm/disarm and relay control via satellite from anywhere in the world. It is designed to defend oceangoing vessels and any other asset that requires a ruggedized, water resistant security, monitoring and tracking system. Easy to install, the wireless sensors can be monitored and the system can be controlled remotely, no matter where the vessel is located globally, with the exception of the most extreme polar latitudes.

GOST Nav Tracker

And finally, see if they’ll show you their new GOST Tracker App, which allows boat owners to link to vessel data from a corresponding Nav-Tracker device and other GOST tracking systems via a smartphone or tablet with an easy-to-use, secure interface. The intuitive application allows users to log in with the same username and password used to access their account on the GOST website. Users can remotely monitor and control Nav-Tracker devices installed on any number of vessels, while fleet managers can view multiple fleets of vessels, as their needs require.

As far as boats go, we’ll get back to you after the show with a roundup of the best of the new boats. There is some really cool stuff going on now with boat builders. While most companies got hit hard by the recession — and some did not survive — others are making a real comeback, including some names we thought might be gone for good.  I’ll mention just one here, and ironically, they don’t have their new vessel at Miami, in this case the Yachts Miami Beach 2016 show (formerly the Miami Yacht and Brokerage Show) on Collins Ave. But I know they’re at the Cocktail Barge and they’re talking about the new Bertram 35.  Yes, the Moppie is coming back! The first hulls are under construction at the Lyman-Morse Shipyard in Thomaston, Maine, and Bertram execs will be in Miami Beach to share some more details about the new boat. Check out the details at Bertram’s website.

Copyright © 2016 by OceanLines LLC. All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Boat Systems, Boats, Electronics, Engines, Marine Electronics
Lowrance Offering Special Deals on High-Tech Displays

Lowrance Offering Special Deals on High-Tech Displays

Lowrance said today it was offering money-saving promotions on some of its latest displays, with cash rebates and map giveaways among the highlights. The promotion includes $200 cash rebates on HDS-9 and HDS-12 Gen2 Touch displays, as well as free map giveaways with the purchase of Elite-4 and Elite-5 HDI models. These special offers will continue to be available through June 15, 2014 in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

 

The Lowrance HDS-12 Gen2 Touch Display.  Image courtesy of Lowrance.

The Lowrance HDS-12 Gen2 Touch Display. Image courtesy of Lowrance.

There are also some great bundle deals involving the StructureScan HD.  I saw this technology demonstrated earlier this year at a special press preview at Hawk’s Cay and it’s nothing short of jaw-droppingly impressive.  Watching the high-definition sonar displays show every little details all around the boat, and having the ability to scroll back to an interesting detail, just left me speechless.  The test boat I was on had an autopilot aboard that let me simply designate a point in that sonar history and then took me right to it.  If you fish, or explore, you NEED this gear.

Copyright © 2014 by OceanLines LLC. All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Depthfinders, Electronics, Fishing, Marine Electronics, Navigation, Radar, Sonar, Technology
Navionics Plotter Sync Wirelessly Updates Charts on Raymarine plotters

Navionics Plotter Sync Wirelessly Updates Charts on Raymarine plotters

If you own a wirelessly enabled chartplotter from Raymarine  and you use charts from Navionics, your life is about to get MUCH simpler. An updated Navionics app on your iPhone or iPad will download daily chart updates, and then when you are within range of your wireless-enabled chartplotter from Raymarine (with the latest firmware update, likely by late April), the app will communicate with the chartplotter using an embedded technology called Plotter Sync, and update your Navionics chart cards. You really just won’t have to think about it or worry about it anymore:  you will always have the latest updates for your charts.

The Navionics Boating App is available for iOS and Android platforms.  Image courtesy of Navionics

The Navionics Boating App is available for iOS and Android platforms. Image courtesy of Navionics

Navionics Plotter Sync on Raymarine chartplotter

Navionics Plotter Sync wirelessly updates the Navionics charts on Raymarine chartplotters. Image courtesy of Navionics

According to Navionics, the Navionics Boating app gets the latest chart data from Navionics Freshest Data servers and, using Plotter Sync, automatically syncs to the chart card.  You never have to remove the card or take it back to a computer.  A bonus comes if the Raymarine user is sharing her sonar logs with Navionics.  Then, the logs will also wirelessly sync to the mobile device and then up to the cloud where they become part of Navionics crowd-sourced SonarCharts.  In the right-hand image here you can see the Navionics chart display on a Raymarine e97 chartplotter, which the image on the left shows the same chart info on an iPad, which is using the Plotter Sync technology to sync with and update the e97.

Navionics PlotterSync on an iPad synchronizing chart updates to a Raymarine e9 plotter.  Image courtesy of Navionics

Navionics PlotterSync on an iPad synchronizing chart updates to a Raymarine e9 plotter. Image courtesy of Navionics

This technology represents a significant safety enhancement.  A boater using Plotter Sync not only will have the latest charts on the Raymarine chartplotter, but also on an independent mobile device.  If you were smart enough to buy your iPad with a cellular modem, and thus with an actual gps receiver in it, then your iPad becomes a fully functional offshore navigation device.  Our resident expert on iPad navigation for boats, Christine Kling, has written extensively about iPads on boats.

Print out a up-to-date free PDF chart from the NOAA website before you leave for the dock and you’ve set yourself up for success with a triple layer of navigation redundancy.  Get the updated Navionics Boating app from the iTunes store if you want to sync your Raymarine unit via your IPad.

Plotter Sync will also soon be working with chartplotters from Navico.  The Simrad, Lowrance and B&G units equipped with GoFree wireless will be able to sync routes, tracks and logs according to current plans.  The Navionics Boating app is available also for Android devices, for use as a planning tool or for navigation.  Current Android capabilities do not include the wireless chart sync with devices on your helm. Without trying to put words in Navionics’ mouth, I can imagine that at some point in the future, we will be able to use any and all of our mobile devices to sync with our fixed-mount plotters. The technology is evolving almost on a daily basis, it seems. It’s already pretty cool and useful.  If you are using this or testing it, let us know in the comments how it’s going.

Copyright © 2014 by Oceanlines LLC. All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Electronics, GPS, Marine Electronics, seamanship, Technology

2014 Miami International Boat Show Opens Today

 

Open Doors of the 2014 Miami International Boat Show

What’s behind this door? The 2014 Miami International Boat Show

We’re in Miami for the opening of the 2014 Progressive® Miami International Boat Show and it’s clear from the exhibits on display, the boats in the water and the news already making headlines that there is a new optimism in the boating industry.

View of the show floor at the 2014 Miami International Boat Show

So much to see as you walk into the Convention Center show floor at the 2014 Miami International Boat Show

If you’re following our Tweets from the show (@OceanLines), you’ve seen some quick spy shots we got from the show floor last night while all the show employees and company folks were still putting last-minute touches on all the displays. We tweeted photos of the Lehr propane-powered outboard motors; a great solution if you have a diesel boat and don’t want to carry or mess with gasoline for your tender. Actually, it might be a great solution for anything you want to do with a smaller outboard.

We also sent a picture of the great line of Yamaha outboards on display; the cool paint jobs on the Mercury Verado outboards on Deep Impact’s boats; the rocketship-like go-fast boats from Marine Technology and some examples of the new Carver Yachts lineup.

Last night you also saw our Tweet with a photo of Boston Whaler’s innovative fold-down side gate on the 270 Dauntless. We’ll have two more news stories from Boston Whaler today, including one on a brand-new boat being developed by the company.

There is also a lot of news from the marine electronics companies this year and we’ll have all the coverage, including a roundup of the great new technology and content available from the Navico brands — Simrad, Lowrance and B&G.

So, stay tuned and be sure to follow us on Twitter for quick heads-up items and photos from the show floor and the marinas.

Copyright © 2014 by Oceanlines LLC.  All rights reserved.

 

Posted by Tom in Boats, Electrical Systems, Electronics, Engines, Gear & Apparel, GPS, Industry News, Marine Electronics, Performance Powerboats, Powerboats, Propulsion, Radar, Radios, Sonar, Technology

OceanLines Has a New Look and Focus

OceanLines.biz 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

New Radar from Navico is Game-Changer

Navico Broadband Radars for Three Brands

Navico Broadband Radars for Three Brands

I know, you hear that all the time from marketing types, but I’ve had a chance now to examine the new broadband radar from Navico — which will be on sale in Q2 under the Lowrance, Simrad and Northstar brands — and it really will change how you use radar.

These new units from Navico employ a Frequency-Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) transmitter that allows several major enhancements for the user.  This is the first time FMCW radar has been used for recreational marine use.  Here are a couple of highlights:

No “main bang” — the “main bang” is the clutter in the center of the screen that you typically see on the screen of a normal pulse radar.  It usually obliterates any close-in targets, often for as much as 30 meters or more from the boat outward.  When you think about it, that’s a serious detriment, since you’re not going to hit anything outside that zone. 

Navico Broadband Radar Image at 1/16th Mile

Navico Broadband Radar Image at 1/16th Mile

 The new radar from Navico virtually eliminates the main bang, distinguishing targets as close as 3meters.  Add to that the high-resolution enabled by the narrow beam and the digital signal processing and you can now safely navigate that narrow channel through the breakwater, or up the creek while seeing every piling, crab pot and bouy on the way.  Ok, maybe not every single one, but quite possibly.

Antenna of the new Navico Broadband Radars

Antenna of the new Navico Broadband Radars

Low power requirement — This FMCW radar requires much less power to operate.  The typical power draw in operation is only 17 watts, with only 1.6 watts required during standby.  That should be good news for all, but is especially good news for sailboat passagemakers on a strict electrical budget.

“Perfect” radiation safety — I say “perfect” because the certified “safe distance” from the radome while transmitting is “zero” meters.  This unit transmits the equivalent power of 1/10 of a typical cell phone.  That makes it a “huggable radar” as Navico President and CEO  Jens-Thomas Pietralla, said during a meeting here in Miami.  But it’s much more important than that.  With such an extremely low level of radiation, mounting concerns have all gone away and it is now safe to mount your radar anywhere it works for you without worrying about irradiating your crew and guests.  Not enough boaters are actually aware of this hazard with traditional radars, but they should be; and now they can take care of it.

“Plug and Play” — Since parent Navico has three prominent marine electronics brands, you will be able to plug this radar, and its single cable right into your Simrad, Lowrance or Northstar chartplotter with perfect integration.  The prices announced by Navico appear to be competitive, too.  For example, the Northstar-branded unit, compatible with the Northstar 8000i touch screen, M84 and M121 multifunction displays, has an MSRP of $1,995.00.

As a passagemaker, or coastal or offshore cruiser, you might wonder if this 18-inch radome unit will replace your bigger, high-power open array radar for your primary unit.  I wouldn’t rule it out, but I don’t think so.  While fishermen use their big open arrays to look for birds feeding on bait fish miles away, we use our high-power radar units for storm watching and long-distance surveillance and mapping.  At a rated range of 24 nautical miles, the new Navico broadband radar probably won’t fill those needs.  But as a secondary radar, and used in a primary role for close-in navigation, I think it becomes indispensable.

Copyright © 2009 OceanLines LLC

Posted by Tom in Technology