After a winter of kinda’ odd weather - a few freezes, a Nor’easter and not much snow, it’s time again to start thinking about getting your boat in the water. Here’s a look at some of the gear you’ll want for this season … some new, some upgraded, and some from the shows that you may have missed.
But first, some general newsy stuff, that might have got lost along the way that we think is interesting.
One outfit - BRP (Bombardier) - was busy right through 2018 into the present. For starters they purchased (“acquired” in financial speak) luxury pontoon manufacturer Triton Industries (the Manitou pontoon builder). Then in September they announced a new Sea-Doo PWC aimed specifically at the fishing market, the Fish Pro, featuring a removable LinQ Fishing Cooler, Garmin Navigation and Fishfinder, a bench seat for ease of movement, angled gunwale footrests for stability and comfort, and trolling mode.
If you’re into wakeboarding, wake surfing, water skiing, etc., look for Volvo-Penta’s Water Sport Control package (Regal Boats were the first to offer it). It allows for one-touch ride adjustment, storing profiles, stern-view live-time camera and much more.
For any of you multi-hull types, folding trimaran builder Corsair introduced an all-new Corsair 880, a 29-footer featuring full boat systems – electric lighting, refrigeration, manual or electric toilet, and even air conditioning is available. A small generator complements a lightweight air conditioning or heating unit (the generator and air conditioner are removable to reduce excess weight when racing, or reduce trailer weight when on the road). All in a folding, trailerable package well below the trailering weight limit of most passenger cars.
For paddlers - even those with limited storage space - check out Oru Kayak’s (orukayak.com) new foldable two-seater. It’s 16 feet long when assembled and packed comes in at 33 x 15 x 29 inches (yes, inches). Weight is 40 pounds and after a few fits and starts you should be able to get the assembly time down to 10 minutes. FYI: it can be rigged as a solo boat as well.
As noted earlier, Bombardier was busy during the off season; it partnered with Navico (Lowrance, Simrad, B&G) to create a “seamless experience” for the Evinrude E-TEC G2 for those with Navico products. For those into jet drive, Bombardier also announced the release of the largest Rotax jet propulsion engine yet – the Rotax ACE (Advanced Combustion Efficiency) 300. They first were available on Scarab jet boat models and Chaparral Vortex models. The Rotax ACE 300 includes features like a maintenance-free supercharger, closed loop cooling, lateral thrust control, reduced intake noise, improved sound quality and their award-winning intelligent Neutral and Reverse (iNR) functionality among other things.
On the big boat front, Volvo-Penta released the D13-1000 (as in horsepower) with the IPS 1350 propulsion package just prior to last summer. The package - assuming you have the dinero - can work as a single, double or quad set up.
Late Newsfeatures. An Ethernet-connected Lowrance multifunction display or radar control unit is required for operation, and a heading sensor and GPS receiver are required for MARPA target tracking. MSRP is $2699. They also released a new chartplotter, the Lowrance Elite Ti2, in seven-, nine-, and 12-inch display sizes, with various charting and transducer bundles, ranging in price (MSRP) from $649 to $2,069. They’re said to deliver enhanced high-resolution sonar functionality, wireless networking and Bluetooth call/text message display, previously reserved for Lowrance’s premium HDS family of displays.
Here’s a weird one, dated March 8, 2019, from the website The Verge (www.theverge.com/2019/3/8/18255847/gps-week-rollover-issue-2019-garmin-tomtom-devices-affected). Apparently, there’s a sort of Doomsday situation coming up (or having already come up on April 6, 2019!) affecting older GPS based equipment. Called the GPS Week Number Rollover issue it’s a “sort of mini Y2K Bug for GPS receivers that will come into effect from April 6th this year.”
According to the story, written by James Vincent for The Verge, “TomTom has told customers “if you frequently update your device there’s no need to worry” as it’s already rolled out a fix … Garmin says it’s currently testing its devices for any problems but that “the vast majority of Garmin GPS products handle the event without issue.” ”
The DHS’ National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center has issued a paper on the subject at: ics-cert.us-cert.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Memorandum_on_GPS_2019.pdf.
Speaking of GPS, Lockheed Martin inked a contract with the US Air Force to build the next-generation of GPS satellites. Called GPS III they will have “three times better accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities.” Obviously, the military gets them first, but all good military-industrial-complex stuff filters down to us eventually (I used some of the early night vision equipment and an early version of GPS back in the late 1960s, and now the latter’s on your watch!). The contract calls for 22 satellites to be ready to go in August. Of course, that’s August 2027!
The NMEA (National Marine Electronics Association) gave Product of Excellence awards to Garmin, Furuno, KVH, McMurdo, Icom, FLIR, Fusion. Airmar and more for 2018 developments. Lots and lots of stuff — either new or refinements — happened over the past year, so here goes.
With the introduction of its American-made WAVU W1 Marine Amplified Omnidirectional HDTV antenna, the Winegard Company (www.Winegard.com) brings a world of free, high-definition entertainment options to boats. This affordable (MSRP is $129), compact antenna is crafted from high-impact, weatherproof and UV-protected material. Weight is 2.11 pounds with a head diameter of 14.9” and a height of 7.25 inches (including pedestal base), this antenna is designed to capture and amplify VHF/UHF/FM signals from any direction at ranges up to 35 miles.
In late 2018, B&G (www.bandg.com) released its V60 mid-level VHF radio. It includes a large, intuitive interface, built-in AIS receiver, a front-mountable mechanical design for easy installation and optional wireless handsets, internal and external GPS capabilities and all the rest of the features that boaters expect from a high-end VHF/AIS/GPS. MSRP is just over $600.
Chartmaker Navico, the world’s largest manufacturer of marine electronics, launched C-MAP Embark (lightmarine.c-map.com/mobile/c-map-embark-app), a nautical navigation app designed to refresh the planning, cruising and fishing experience with a clear aim in mind — to make it simpler.
The Furuno (www.furunousa.com) FM4800 is a new all-in-one marine VHF Radiotelephone with built-in Class D DSC, GPS Receiver, AIS Receiver, and Simplified Loudhailer with intercom. The unit is waterproof to an IP68 standard, the highest waterproof rating for this class of marine electronics. That means it can withstand the IP's laboratory testing of full immersion for over 30 minutes, making the unit an ideal candidate for vessels with an exposed bridge, where it can be bracket or flush mounted, or even mounted overhead. Additionally, the horn speaker can be used to collect external sounds and transmit them through the built-in speaker with a function called Listen Back.
Glomex (www.glomexus.com) has four versions of its DVB-T2 Full HD Omni-directional TV antennae — two 14-inch radomes and two 10 inchers. They come with 66 feet of coax cable, a five-foot amplifier-to-TV cord and a gold-plated connector. Prices start at $132. For those of you who “gotta” have Internet access aboard, there’s the weBBoat 4G PRO, which receives 4G/3G and Wi-Fi signals up to 20 miles away, and amplifies and redistributes them throughout the vessel via a hotspot or Ethernet. The radome is 12- x 14-inches, and MSRPs at $1395.
Simrad (www.simrad-yachting.com/en-US/) also popped out a new VHF, the RS40, featuring a sleek design with wireless handset capability, removable fist microphone, Class D DSC functionality, built-in GPS NMEA 0183 and 2000 connectivity, eternal GPS capability and AIS. MSRP is $619.
Siren Marine (www.siremarine.com) has added features and functionality to its MTC Boat Monitoring and Tracking system, making it even easier for boat owners to create their own Connected Boat and access onboard information – right from a phone, tablet or computer. The new wireless sensors are compact, attractive, quick to install, and purpose built for the marine environment. They include a High-Water Sensor, Bilge Pump Sensor, Battery Voltage Sensor, Entry Sensor and Temperature Sensor and connect to the MTC without a hard-wire connection. It requires a subscription which can be had on a monthly or yearly basis.
Lowrance (www.lowrance.com) released a new, innovative pulse compression radar, the HALO24, which boats a 60-rpm high-speed rotation at distances up to two-nautical miles. The extremely fast refresh rate is excellent for high-speed and short-range tracking. Offering high-quality short-, mid-, and long-range detection capability, up to 48 nautical miles, HALO24 also includes MARPA functionality among other
Long Island’s very own SI-TEX Marine Electronics (www.si-tex.com) added a new SP-110C Color Autopilot to its popular SP-110 compact autopilot family — aimed at a variety of boats up to about 38 feet. It features the same compact and splashproof 4.3-inch square control head. It now gives boaters a bright, full-color LCD display that can be easily viewed from a variety of different angles on open or enclosed helm stations. It provides navigators with a range of useful new graphic presentations, including a Rudder Angle Meter and Compass Steering Display and comes paired with SI-TEX’s powerful nine-axis electronic compass.
If your adventuring isn’t confined solely to boats (where this product’ll work as well), check out the SPOT X (www.findmespot.com/spotx/lander.php). It’s a ruggedized, lightweight and easy-to-use with an illuminated QWERTY key board pocket-size unit with a 2.7-inch backlit display, U.S. mobile number, rechargeable Lithium battery and dust and waterproof rated hardware (IP67). You can send and receive messages and short e-mails beyond cellular, has an SOS, Emergency notification and direct 2-way message communication with 24/7 Search and Rescue services through the GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Center, GPS Tracking, built-in compass and programmable waypoints and more. MSRP is $249 and it has a variety of subscription plans available. perfect for the person in your life who has EVERYthing!
Vesper Marine (www.vespermarine.com), released “the world’s first and only” touchscreen Class B AIS transponder back about this time last year. Called the WatchMate Vision2 has a highly responsive, easy to use capacitive touchscreen, a bright 5.7-inch color display with excellent optical clarity over a wide viewing angle, even with polarized glasses and combines navigation sensor data, GPS and AIS information with intelligent alert logic and triggers alarms in the event of hazardous situations. The MSRP is $1,249.
Garmin (buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/501324) won an NMEA Product of Excellence award with their GHP Reactor Hydraulic Autopilot, which they say is “simply the most responsive autopilot system we have ever offered.” Designed for sail and powerboats they feature heading hold, wind hold, tack/jibe, step turns and more. You pick the version that is compatible with your existing steering system including all types of hydraulically steered powerboats – inboards, outboards, stern drives and diesels. Having a Garmin chartplotter opens up a variety of other features, such as being able to steer your plotted courses. MSRP is around $2Gs. Their Panoptix LiveScope won the 2018 NMEA Technology Award, which the judges saying, “Is the first and only live, real-time recreational scanning sonar. [It] has two modes — straight down and forward looking. LiveScope is an innovative system that combines scanning sonar and live sonar to deliver easy-to-interpret real-time images of bottom structure, bait and fish to 200 feet below or around the boat even when the boat is stationary. When the boat is moving it continuously adjusts the sonar beams to compensate for motion.”
FLIR Systems, announced the Raymarine DockSense assisted docking system, the marine industry’s first intelligent object recognition and motion sensing assisted docking solution for recreational boating. Joystick controlled, the DockSense system uses FLIR machine vision camera technology and video analytics to integrate intelligence gathered from surrounding imagery with the vessel’s propulsion and steering system to assist boat owners in tight quarter docking maneuvering. DockSense uses global positioning system (GPS) and attitude heading reference system (AHRS) position sensing technology to compensate for the effects of wind and currents, ensuring the vessel enters the dock without drama or costly collisions. The Raymarine DockSense system includes multiple FLIR machine vision cameras, a central processing module, and the DockSense App running on Raymarine’s Axiom navigation display. The unit showed at the Miami show in February. If nothing else, take a look at the video (www.youtube.com/watch?v=4E3nqijcG64), which will probably make you want this!
Miscellaneous Neat Stuff
The lock experts at DuraSafe, have come up with a new lock concept, allowing you to use a single key for all the locks on your boat — electronics, trailers, doors, outboards, etc. They’re call — simply enough — Keyed-Alike locks. Check www.durasafelocks.com for a local dealer.
Beckson Marine (www.beckson.com) always has something for those of us who like to mess about in boats. Running hose line through bulkheads (you know you’re putting in a new livewell, right)? Check out their D-5 Thru-Bulkhead Hose Fitting. And speaking of new livewells, check out their D-2 Baitwell Gravity Drain Assembly, which should pretty much eliminate any debris problems clogging it up.
Mantus (www.mantusmarine.com) came up with a twist on the good ol’ deck key. The Mantus Universal Deck Key is a multifunctional tool that opens all types and sizes of deck fill lids, and shackles. It’s made of 316L stainless steel. Cool looking tool, too.
SeaSucker (www.seasucker.com) makes a variety of ‘stuff’ for holding ‘stuff’ on your boat. What kind of ‘stuff’? Fishing rods, tools, toilet paper and more. They’re not just suction cups, they’re vacuum mounts; i.e., you push the cup part on to any clean, non-porous surface, give it a few pumps and that creates the hold. Check them out.
This is really cool, and I guess it was only a matter of time, but … Albin Pump Marine (www.albinpumpmarine.com) has come up with replacement technology for the venerable bilge pump float — a 12/24V Digital Bilge Switch! No moving parts — and, no, I don’t know how it works. According to Albin, it is “completely encased in rugged, corrosion- and oil-resistant plastic … and — again — has no moving parts to snafu! It contains no mercury, so it's safe for the environment. It features Albin's field-sensing digital technology that “automatically activates and deactivates the pump.” Go figure.