After years of testing boat stereos, Fusion has finally convinced me that an iPod is the way to go, with their MS IP 500. Here’s the scoop: this Sunday we made a 60 mile run to deep drop for tilefish and monster sea bass. On my boat, that’s a two and a half hour run. On the way out it was rather bumpy, and on the way in it was pleasantly calm. In both directions, we listened to music without interruption.
In the past I’ve tried CD’s (Hah! Unless the boat’s parked these are useless, thanks to continual skipping), satellite radio (no skips, but you can’t choose exactly what you want to listen to) and an external MP3, which plugs into the stereo (which works well, until the first sheet of spray hits the MP3 player and fries it).
Then Fusion came out with their line of marine stereos. These have faceplates which swing down, allowing you to insert your iPod directly inside of the stereo itself. Once it’s inside you swing the gasketed door back up, and lock it shut. Your iPod stays safely locked inside, protected from the elements, as you cruise for the canyons for hours on end.
I’ve been using this system, a Fusion MS IP 500, for a while now, without any problems. (One note: the locking mechanism on the door to the Fusion could be a bit beefier; I’ve had mine swing down once or twice when in nasty seas. Solution: once the tunes are dialed in, put the cover back over the faceplate). In fact, I’ve even blogged about the MS IP 500 here on Boatermouth before. But now I have dozens of hours of use with the Fusion in all kinds of sea conditions, and Sunday was the clincher. At the end of the trip, all five guys who had been onboard made some sort of comment about how sweet it had been to cruise with tunes the entire time, and never have a problem with the seagoing stereo. You want jamming tunes that you choose, which don’t cut out on the waves, or result in a waterlogged iPod? At this point, I’m ready to make final judgment: check out a Fusion.