As we explained in Welcome to the Marine Electronic Age of Enlightenment, these days, if you so much as blink you’re bound to miss out on the latest in marine electronics. In years past there would be a slew of new gear introduced at a couple of trade and boat shows, then we’d wait almost a year before anything new hit the market. Well, those days are over. Just a few short months since the Miami Boat Show, which brought with it such big developments as the introduction of the Raymarine Dragonfly and B and G Sailsteer, there’s already a whole new crop of electronic items. You want to keep up to pace? Then check these out.
Apps – FishAlerts has just announced that their app is now available in an Android version. Just in case you’re not familiar with this one yet, FishAlerts is an app designed to combine MPA (Marine Protected Area) information with social networking. MPA’s are scattered along the California coast and on a recent fishing trip, we used FishAlerts to figure out exactly where we were in relation to the regulation boundaries.
FishAlerts also has pertinent fishing info, like basic tide and weather data. Social media addicts will enjoy the ability to share fish picture via Facebook and Twitter. But my favorite part of FishAlerts is the price—it’s free.
Autopilots – Both Simrad and Si-Tex have interesting new developments in hands-free steering. Simrad has jumped onto the joystick bandwagon, with the announcement of the SG05 Autopilot. This system features full compatibility between Simrad navigation systems and SeaStar Solutions’ Optimus Power Steering and Optimus 360 Joystick docking control systems. With the Optimus EPS, the new SG05, and a Simrad multifunction display, you can navigate hands-free while the autopilot does all the work. It can also be controlled via a Simrad AP24, 28, or OP10 autopilot control unit.
Si-Tex, meanwhile, has a new wireless remote steering control for the SP-70, SP-80, SP-36, and SP-110 autopilots, tagged the SRS-100. This floating, waterproof control works from up to 100’ away, so you can use it just about anywhere on the deck of just about any size boat.
Chartography – C-Map has just expanded its MAX offerings to include C-Map MAX-N, for Navico electronics. Up until now if you had a Navico chartplotter (including Simrad, Lowrance, and B and G) you were out of luck. But now, that’s no longer the case. We were among the first to check out C-Map on a Navico while we tested a Skeeter ZX22V during a day of fishing along the California coast, with a Lowrance HDS8 at the helm. Note to cruisers: you’ll find the ports and services data quite accurate and comprehensive.
Underwater Imagery - Underwater footage is extremely cool—if you don’t believe me, just check out our Hunt Harrier 26 with IPS video boat review, which shows a pair of pod drives hard at work beneath the waterline. But if you have a GoPro in your hand you’ll have to do some serious stretching to get that lens looking through the depths. Thus, Aftco created the GoPro Stick. Built like just about everything else Aftco offers, the E-glass GoPro Stick (available in four and six foot models) looks and feels like a work of art, with a dark brown epoxy finish, hand-wrapped metallic gold and blue thread trim, and black nylon seine cord wrapped handles. Oh yeah, and it has a GoPro camera mount on the end.
Data Display - Garmin also has some new gear, in the four-inch color GMI 20 and GHC 20 data displays. Both units have menus and looks that are intended to match up with GPSMAP 8000 glass helms. Glass-bonded displays prevent fogging and offer larger numeric displays, nighttime visibility, and the ability to display over 100 marine and vessel-specific parameters.
Did you blink while reading this? We hope not, because if you did you surely missed something. And if you didn't, stay tuned—it’s a sure bet that by the time you've digested the above information, some hot new electronic item or digital development will be hitting the market.