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, 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® (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
Holiday Gift Guide for Boaters

Holiday Gift Guide for Boaters

Looking for some last-minute holiday gift ideas for the boater in your life (or you)?  We’ve got suggestions that range from truly in expensive to once-a-year-purchase.  One or two you should consider for more than just your boat.

Weego is offering a holiday bundle. Image courtesy of Weego.

Weego is offering a holiday bundle. Image courtesy of Weego.

The Boater’s Gift Guide for 2015

  • Weego Jump Starters – If you operate anything run by battery, you should have one of these in your bag or in a locker on the boat. It’ll jump-start or re-charge anything up to a moderately sized diesel engine, all the way down to your Bluetooth headset.  The Weego units distinguish themselves from other chargers on the market by their premium build quality, connectors and compact size. They also don’t lose their charge while sitting in a bag or locker. You can put one near the helm or in your car’s glove compartment and come back a year later and be able to jump-start that engine. The unit we’ve linked to here is about $120 and still available for delivery before Christmas. The bundle in the image above is available directly from Weego here.
  • Pettit Protect® with Mica Shield Technology – If you’re looking to tackle a barrier-coat challenge for your boat, consider Petit’s new product. Introduced this summer, it features slate mica in the epoxy resin, compared to the granular mica found in most barrier coats.  Think of it as a series of sheets of mica overlapping in the resin; a great structure to resist moisture intrusion. It’s a traditional two-part epoxy coating, with a 3-to-1 mix ratio, and a typical 18-foot powerboat would likely require less than two gallons (at 3 coats) for full coverage. We don’t have a specific price estimate so check the link for local dealers and give them a call.  I don’t expect it to be more expensive than other high-solids barrier coatings, which means it could run about $115-$120 per gallon.
  • GOST Nav-Tracker 3.0 SM – Have you already jumped on the GOST boat security bandwagon?  You should.  It’s like a Lo-Jack™ for your boat. And if you’ve already got some security sensors on the boat — webcam, horn, motion detection — this latest package from GOST will allow you to use an included hardware interface to integrate those into the total security effort. The complete GOST Nav-Tracker 3.0 SM Package includes: the GOST Nav-Tracker 3.0 control unit with tamperproof backup battery, the hardwired interface unit, a 5 foot I/O cable to connect the HWIU to the control unit, an IP67-rated momentary Arm/Disarm Button, a Door/Hatch Contact, High Water Sensor, GA-Mini Siren (with all the required cables), the GOST Nav-Tracker antenna, a 10-meter antenna cable, a 2-meter power cable and a GNT-L bracket to mount the antenna. Check out the GOST Global link for a supplier near you.
  • Simrad® GO5 XSE Chartplotter and Fishfinder – How about a cutting-edge, compact chartplotter and fishfinder that can cover all the bases and do it for the price of perhaps two tanks of gas on a typical center console fishing boat? The GO5 XSE features a super-bright multi-touch display, internal 10 Hz GPS receiver, StructureScan® HD and CHIRP Sonar, autopilot integration/control, engine data monitoring, full audio entertainment integration with SonicHub®2, integrated wireless connectivity and the powerful, new Simrad TripIntel™ trip computer. Seriously, what else do need? Ranging in retail price from $449 to $599, depending on the transducer included with the display, the Simrad GO5 XSE is scheduled for March 2016 availability from authorized distributors throughout the U.S. and Canada.
  • Vesper Marine XB-6000 Class B AIS Transponder – If you do any kind of big-water cruising, whether it’s coastal or Great Lake or large rivers, you should consider installing an AIS transponder on your boat. It uses VHF radio frequencies to tell other boats and shore stations who you are, what you are doing and where you are going. This data can be displayed on almost every chatplotter and navigation monitor out there nowadays and while AIS transponders aren’t yet required on all recreational boats, they should be, and you should be the first on your fairway to install it. This Vesper unit is reasonably priced, yet has what might be the most advanced AIS technology there is, with a built-in GPS receiver and NMEA gateway. We found it on Amazon for $555. Check the link to see that source.
  • IMTRA Largo Tri-Color LED Light – That annoying white dome light you have in the middle of your helm deck overhead can now be both useful and pleasant to deal with. IMTRA’s new Tri-Color LED light offers white, blue and red light and simple, momentary-push operation. Since it’s LED, it uses very little power – 4.7 watts in this case for a 30-watt halogen-equivalent. You can pick either a warm or cool white light as part of your unit, while both the blue and red lights preserve the crew’s night vision. How often will you have to change it? It’s designed for 50,000 hours of life.  Are you?
  • FUSION Signature Series Speakers – Got tunes aboard? How about sending those signals out through the best speakers you can put on your boat. FUSION has 230-watt and 280-watt configurations of its new Signature Series line that will give you both the sound and look you want. Choose from Classic White, Sports White or Sports Grey/Chrome styles. The new speakers are offered in a 6.5-inch 230 Watt or 7.7-inch 280 Watt configuration. A dual-color diffused LED lighting option that illuminates in either striking blue or sparkling white based on the polarity of the wiring, adds to the aesthetics There is also a new sub-woofer for the series — a 10-inch unit that delivers premium bass reproduction. Comprised of a high tensile fiberglass-paper composite cone driver that produces a massive 450-Watts maximum output, this unit will bring the bass to the party. Check out the link to see the FUSION Signature Series on Amazon, where some units are still available for pre-Christmas delivery.


Copyright ©2015 by OceanLines LLC. All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Boat Systems, Electronics, Fishing, Gift Guide, GPS, Navigation, 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

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

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

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