Simrad Yachting

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

Simrad Yachting Launches Broadband 3G Radar

Simrad Yachting's New Broadband 3G Radar

Simrad Yachting's New Broadband 3G Radar

Simrad Yachting this week announced a significant upgrade to its “”broadband” radar capability with the “Broadband 3G Radar,” which increases the range of its not-so-old BR24 Broadband Radar.  I wrote about the BR24 when it was demonstrated at the Miami show last year and decided it was the real deal for short-range, high-definition radar detection.  At the time I thought it would make the perfect second radar unit for a typical trawler owner, who would probably have a high-power, open-array unit for long-range detection and surveillance.

Simrad's New 3G at Left, and BR24 at Right - Click for Larger View

Simrad's New 3G at Left, and BR24 at Right

As you can see in the photo above, at a 6 NM range, the new Broadband 3G has much better detection but appears to maintain the same level of high-definition target discrimination, compared side-by-side with the “old” BR24.  Although the folks who develop and program this technology really could be rocket scientists, the latest improvements derive mostly from a doubled RF transmit power.  You might recall that one of the really nice features of the BR24 was its incredibly low RF output, which meant that antenna placement wasn’t really critical anymore in terms of radiation safety.  Well, upping the power by a factor of two for the Broadband 3G really doesn’t change that; it’s still less than 1/10th the energy of a mobile phone, and 1/20,000th the energy of a traditional pulse radar.

Another really cool feature of this FMCW (Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave) radar is it’s incredible near-field detection capability.  Objects as close as 2 meters can be detected and displayed.  Ben Ellison noted that a demonstration unit he saw at a Navico press event last month clearly displayed someone walking toward the bow of the boat he was on.

Simrad Yachting says the unit will have a suggested retail price of $1,699 when it is available in June from authorized dealers and distributors in the United States and Canada.  And here is a copy of the press release issued this week.

Copyright © 2011 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Cruising Under Power, Cruising Under Sail, Electronics, Technology
Simrad Yachting Launches New Touch-Screen MF Displays

Simrad Yachting Launches New Touch-Screen MF Displays

Simrad NSS Sport Family Displays

Simrad NSS Sport Family Displays

Simrad Yachting last week announced a new series of touch-screen multifunction displays — the NSS Sport Series.  Available in 7-inch, 8-inch, and 12-inch models, the NSS Sport units feature LED backlighting and allow the user to control the display with the touchscreen, keypad and/or the “Simrad Yachting-signature” rotary control knob.

My friend Ben Ellison at Panbo was one of a special group of marine journalists invited to the product unveiling in Palma, Spain, last week and he’s got lots of details and thoughts on the overall Navico product strategy.  I haven’t had a chance yet to test the new MFDs but when I do I’ll report here on them.  In the meantime, here are some of the details from the Simrad Yachting press release:

The Simrad NSS Sport range features high-brightness (1200 NIT) bonded LED displays in 6.4-inch (VGA), 8-inch (SVGA) and 12-inch (XGA) diagonal screen sizes. All support NMEA 2000®, SimNet and composite video input. The NSS series uses little power and is designed for use in 12 and 24V DC power systems. The system has an operating temperature range of 5 degrees to 131 degrees Fahrenheit (-15 degrees to 55 degrees Celsius); like the NSE and NSO multifunction displays, the NSS Sport is waterproof to the IPx7 standard, and protected by a two-year limited parts and labor warranty. The new Simrad NSS Sport is also covered by Simrad Yachting’s 24-hour exchange program. In the unlikely event that the device is identified as defective within the first year of warranty, Simrad Yachting will ensure shipment of a replacement device within 24 hours.

The Simrad NSS7, NSS8 and NSS12 have suggested retail prices of $1,895, $2,845 and $3,995 US, respectively, and can be purchased from authorized Simrad Yachting dealers and distributors throughout the United States and Canada. For more information on the Simrad NSS Sport touch-screen navigation system, or the entire line of Simrad Yachting professional-grade marine electronics, contact 800-628-4487 (toll-free) in the USA or visit

Copyright © 2011 by OceanLines LLC. All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Electronics, Technology

List of Simrad Electronics Eligible for Rebates

Simrad BR24 Broadband Radar

Simrad BR24 Broadband Radar

Simrad Yachting said customers purchasing certain new marine electronics products from authorized dealers are entitled to rebates up to $200. While the program runs til the end of June, customers who purchased eligible products beginning February 8, 2010 are also eligible for the rebates. That’s a nice touch.

Here’s a list provided by Simrad of the products included in the rebate offer:

• NSE12 12” Multifunction Display System                                           $150
• NSE8 8” Multifunction Display System                                                $100
• NX40 8” Display with Echo Sounder                                                      $50
• AP24/28 Autopilots with AC12/42 Computer                                      $100
• GS15 GPS Antenna                                                                                   $50
• BR24 Broadband Radar™                                                                     $100
• 6kW/10kW/25kW HD Digital Array Radar                                            $200
• BSM-1 Broadband Sounder™                                                                 $75
• WM-2 SIRIUS® Weather Receiver                                                          $75
• RPU80/160/300 and HLD 350/2000 Hydraulic Drives                     $100
• WR20 Remote Commander                                                                    $50
• IS20 Wind, Graphic or Combi Instruments                                           $35

Simrad is one of the Navico brands and many of these products are on the cutting edge of technology; such as the NSE multifunction displays and the BR24 Brodband Radar, which I think is a fantastic primary radar for a coastal cruiser and the perfect secondary and close-in navigation radar for long-distance passagemakers. I’ve personally tested the BR24 and the short-range performance (you will recall that most collisions take place at fairly short range…) is fantastic. You can read my review of it here.

Details of the program and rebate forms are available at the Simrad Yachting website.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Boats, Electronics, Industry News, Maintenance & DIY, Passagemaking News, Powerboats, Sailboats, Technology

Simrad-Yachting Launches New NSE Chartplotter Series

New Simrad-Yachting NSE Chartplotter Series

Simrad-Yachting, a division of Navico, yesterday announced the availability of a new series of fully integrated, networkable chartplotters — the NSE series.  Available in both 12.1-inch and 8-inch displays (NSE12 and NSE8, respectively), the units purchased in North America come fully loaded with Nautic Insight HD high-resolution vector cartography.  They are fully compatible with the new BR24 Broadband Radar, which we wrote about here, and the BSM-1 Broadband Sonar Module, as well as Sirius weather integration.

The company’s announcement yesterday said the units were designed for the ultimate ease-of-use experience, combining elments of Northstar’s legendary direct access functionality, with Simrad-Yachting’s “powerful menu access.”  There is a new menu-driven user interface that includes specific user modes designed to “maximize functionality for specific boating segments.

New Simrad-Yachting NSE12 Chartplotter

New Simrad-Yachting NSE12 Chartplotter

Simrad-Yachting said, “key features include a rotary dial with logical push-to-enter selection that provides convenient function access and cursor control, direct access keys to simplify operation and an alphanumeric keypad that makes data entry a snap.  NSE systems feature Simrad SunView™ screens that incorporate an innovative, low-power white LED backlighting technology.  SunView displays are rated at a bright 1500 nits for full sunlight viewing and have a 120-degree viewing angle.   A company official told OceanLines that some HDS models (the 7-, 8- and 10-inch displays) also include LED backlighting, but we think the incorporation of this technology is a significant step forward.  Readers will notice that the best LCD HDTVs in the consumer market feature LED backlighting because it significantly enhances the LCD’s ability to create “blacker” blacks and “whiter” whites.  In other words, LED backlighting significantly enhances the contrast ability of LCDs, which not only makes them look sharper, but improves their ability to work in sunlight.

Split-Screen Display on New Simrad-Yachting NSE12 Chartplotter

The units feature plenty of connectivity and storage, with an onboard 80 GB hard drive and SD card slot, as well as front and back USB connections and both composite video and DVI-out ports.  The DVI-out port will make connecting the display to a big-screen TV in the salon even easier than usual.  The 12.1-inch unit features XGA 1024 x 768 resolution, while the 8-inch unit has an 8– x 600 pixel display.  We asked about the possibility of larger displays in the future and the company rep said it “probably” would be offering them.  When asked about the possibility of a front bezel color option, the humorous reply was Henry Ford-esque — “yes, as long as it’s black.”

 Updates for the built-in charts will be available, but a final schedule has not yet been determined.  We’d like to see Simrad-Yachting make these available permanently, in real-time, even if they have to charge a small subscription fee.  The Nautic charts are capable of providing navigators high-resolution 2D and 3D shaded contour and satellite imagery information.  In addition, the Nautic Insight HD navigation cartography includes detailed shoreline and safety navigation data including spot sounding, navaids and obstructions.  NSE units are also compatible with Navionics® Platinum, Platinum+ and HotMaps Platinum cartography.  In addition, NSE units feature Navionics TurboView™, a new dimension in navigation that offers smooth pan and zoom plus viewing rotation, as well as 2D and 3D Platinum and Platinum+ cartography chart views with depth and elevation contour shadings.

The NSE units are designed to draw low currents on either 12- or 24-volt systems and are waterproof to the IPX7 (submersible) standard.  They have a two-year limited parts and labor warranty.  Prices for the NSE12 and NSE8 are $4,595 and $3,295, respectively.  The new line will be publically unveiled at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show and units, the company proudly proclaims, will be available only two weeks later, on November 15, which if true will represent quite an accomplishment since several high-profile new product announcemtns in the marine electronics industry in recent years have proved to be somewhat…premature.

You can download the NSE Chartplotter Brochure (USA Sales) here.

Copyright © 2009 by OceanLines LLC

Posted by Tom in Industry News, Technology

Simrad Outfits the New Kadey-Krogen 55′ Expedition

Simrad gb40-helm-landscape view

Simrad gb40-helm-landscape view

In early February here on OceanLines, we debuted a new series called “Let’s Outfit the New Kadey-Krogen 55′ Expedition“” — a series which presented proposed marine electronics proposals from several of the major manufacturers in the business.  In this latest article in the series, Simrad details how it would outfit the popular new trawler.  The Simrad proposal takes advantage of some of the latest “glass bridge” technology, as well as the company’s new BR24 Broadband Radar, which we’ve written positively about here.  The Simrad outfitting also takes advantage of some nifty networking with the Class B AIS unit and the VHF to capitalize on DSC calling.  And one other feature, for me anyway, is a deal maker — these units are compatible with the Jeppesen C-Map MAX Pro cartography, which can be auto-updated as frequently as you like, which is a critical safety enhancement (See our earlier article on auto-updating here.)

Simrad’s proposal was provided by Paul Comyns, marketing director, B&G, Northstar and Simrad brands.  Comyns thinks the Krogen 55′ Expedition is the perfect yacht for Simrad’s GB40 Glass Bridge Navigation system.  You can see a company video on the GB40 here.  Together with its big brother, the GB60, this system represents the state-of-the-art from Simrad for recreational boaters.  It is a fully networked system based on black box components and fully compatible with the NMEA2000 network communications protocol, making expansion virtually limitless.

The Recommendation

For our fictional couple’s Krogen 55′, Simrad suggests we use a single, large 19″ flat screen display in the wheelhouse.  It’s large enough to make viewing even detailed chart, radar or AIS presentations easier.  You can download the proposal and a spreadsheet with the component list.  Here are the details:

“Main navigation screen placed centrally in the wheelhouse, configurable to display chart, radar, echosounder and engine data, along with video input from an Ethernet video camera connected to the GB40. An option is available to use a network video server allowing the connection of up to four video cameras monitoring the aft deck or engine room space.

Engine data can also be displayed on the GB40 direct from the engines using the NMEA2000 onboard network.

Using the Navico Weather module SIRIUS Weather Data can be overlaid onto the chart plotter display showing user selected real-time weather information.

The recommended radar antenna for this size of vessel would be a 6kW 4ft open array radar, with a maximum range of 64NM. This radar combined with the GB40 has a 10 target MARPA function and the requested Guard Zone capability. With other vessel information from the Class B AIS (Simrad AI50) displayed as overlaid targets on the chartplotter and radar.

The GB40 is controlled by a wired remote control that can be positioned close to the operator, it also has the ability to be controlled by the Simrad WR20 Wireless Remote, this allows for very flexible control of the GB40 navigation system by the operator, even from the wheelhouse sofa.

Simrad gb40-second-station installation on different boat

Simrad gb40-second-station installation on different boat

The GB40 provides for a second, networked display and control station, suitable for a flybridge, nav station aboard a sailboat, or perhaps in the office or master stateroom. Here’s how that could work:

“The GB40 has the expansion option to add a second display (10” or 15”), for use on a flybridge or at a second navigation station or in the master stateroom. This displays all the information that is on the main unit and can be operated by a local control panel, or if required it can be just a repeater with no local control. This option is often used for a saloon monitor for guests to monitor the progress of the voyage, but not change any settings.”

Additional Sensors

Simrad’s proposal notes the details of echosounder/fish finder installation and integration and puts special emphasis on the inclusion of AIS technology. Interestingly, Comyns says, “we recommend in this instance the Simrad AI50 rather than the black box NAIS300. The AI50 allows us to enable a feature called Buddy tracking, and this combined with a Simrad AI50 installed on the tender would allow for easy tracking of the tender and displaying the information on the chartplotter and radar. The Simrad AI50 is a Class B AIS and so is also transmitting your own ships data for any vessel to see.”

Comyns also clears up an issue of confusion for some boaters related to how Class B-equipped boats are seen by commercial vessels using Class A AIS systems.

A number of questions have been raised regarding the ability of Class A AIS units not being able to “See” Class B AIS units like the Simrad AI50 and the NAIS300 Blackbox transceivers.

This issue relates to ‘Message 24’ which was a new message introduced for Class B after many Class A devices had been manufactured and installed. Message 24 contains the ‘Static Data’ (vessel related info) including: vessel name, radio call sign, length, beam, type of vessel.

• Provided that the Class B has been installed correctly and is not faulty, it is highly likely that if a receiving device that does not ‘see’ all the Class B details is an older class A device (or cheaper receiver).
• It is also possible that if the receiving vessel has a good quality AIS receiver/ transponder that is known to process all AIS messages, the chart plotter may be older or has not been updated to display all AIS messages.
• All modern chartplotters have now been updated to display the class B details & most Class A manufacturers have now issued software updates to address this issue

The most important thing to get across here is that although the name and call sign may not be received, the Position, Course and Speed information of the Class B WILL BE RECEIVED by Class A devices. This is the navigationally significant information that will help you to avoid collisions!


Simrad NX45 Chartplotter

Simrad NX45 Chartplotter

Simrad offers two options for redundancy aboard the Krogen 55′ Expedition. Our couple could choose to add a second GB40 system or go with a Simrad NX45 Navigation System. The NX45 is an integrated chartplotter unit but it fully networkable with the systems onboard. Either of these two options can be used with the company’s new BR24 Broadband radar, which, in this writer’s opinion, is a game-changing technology. OceanLines wrote extensively about this radar in an earlier article and we said then that it would make a perfect backup or dedicated short-range system for any passagemaker.

Instruments and Communications

Simrad notes that its SimNet network will allow the sharing of data throughout the network.  For our application, the company suggests the addition of Simrad IS20 displays, capable of repeating any data at any location.  The recommendation for the helm is for an analogue IS20 Rudder Angle Indicator, along with an IS20 Wind Indicator, giving both wind speed and direction.

Simrad IS20 Rudder Angle Display Instrument

Simrad IS20 Rudder Angle Display Instrument

Simrad IS20 Graphic Display Instrument

Simrad IS20 Graphic Display Instrument

For depth info, the proposal is to use an IS20 Graphic display, which can also show any other network information in graphic form.  Simrad notes that all the IS20 instruments can be placed in the main cabin and stateroom as well as the pilothouse.  Alarms can be set on the IS20 displays for change in depth, for example, ideal when at anchor and as an early indicator of slippage.  Another alarm might be set for increasing wind velocity.

Simrad gb40-bb-with-vhf-bb installations

Simrad gb40-bb-with-vhf-bb installations

Comyns notes in his proposal that Simrad’s flagship RS86/87 modular VHF system could serve as a complete-boat communications system, with loudhailers, intercom speakers and full second station options.  This is a full Class D DAS VHR radio.  Comyns notes:

“The RS86 fixed mount control unit with fist mike would be best suited at the main steering position and then the remote stations can use the RS87 full function handsets with a separate loudspeaker. Extra Intercom speakers can be used around the vessel and the loudhailer has a talk back function, ideal if some one is on the foredeck and wishes to call back into the wheelhouse, no more shouting or missed instructions. 

DSC calling, this function now really is easy linked to the Simrad AI50 Class B AIS, just identify the ship on the AI50 screen with the cursor and select DSC Call, the VHF will then automatically initiate a call direct to the ship. Ideal for calling up commercial craft that may be crossing your intended route, no more unanswered VHF hails.”

Video Surveillance

Simrad says that, using a network video server, it “is possible to have up to four cameras connected into the GB40 Navygation system for engine room or aft deck monitoring.”  The video is configurable onscreen — full-screen, for example, for docking maneuvers.  Simrad says the system includes a DVD player and a music library jukebox for entertainment.


The Simrad proposal for outfitting the new Kadey-Krogen 55′ Expedition includes some unique features, and with the GB40 you have the entry level to true glass-bridge capabilities.  The next step up in the Simrad line, the GB60 might be considered overkill for the Krogen 55′, but does offer even more display and system control opportunities.  It also allows for connection of stand-alone radars on larger yachts where type certification may require it.

A Full-Up Simrad GB40 Glass Bridge Navigation System Covers Many Bases

A Full-Up Simrad GB40 Glass Bridge Navigation System Covers Many Bases

One of the highlights, so to speak, of the Simrad proposal is the display opportunities. The flat screens currently offered with the glass bridge systems are new designs that have smaller overall dimensions and brighter screens.  So, for example, one of these new Simrad 19″ screens might fit where previously only a 16″ display from another maker might have worked. 

The other distinguishing element of this proposal is the ability to take advantage of the new BR24 Broadband radar, which we think every boater should be considering, whether as a stand-alone unit on a smaller boat, or as a short-range workhorse and overall system backup for long range yachts.  And with the ability to use the Jeppesen C-Map MAX Pro charts on these units (you really need to see the Broadband radar overlay on those charts), you have a major safety enhancement over any other cartography out there.  The Simrad Glass Bridge Systems are clearly the way of the future and with the company’s emphasis on introducing the highest levels of technology, you really should be considering getting a headstart on the future of marine helms with this approach.

Copyright © 2009 OceanLines LLC

Posted by Tom in Boats, Technology