What’s new in the world of marine electronics for 2022?
We’ve focused on bigger, better, faster, and more affordable themes in past annual electronics roundups. However, for the 2022 edition, we’re going to take a phrase from last month’s boat buyers guide and lament the marine industry’s “supply chain issues.”
For the first time in as long as I can remember, this hasn’t been an excellent year for new product development and introductions for marine electronics. Keeping up with demand for current products and navigating the turbulent waters of supply chain delays/shortages, along with negotiating the impact that the latest iteration of the COVID virus is having on the workforce, is the focus for most manufacturers. Sure, there are bound to be some new product splashes at the Miami Boat Show in February, but most of my industry contacts are keeping that intel tight to the vest for now.
On the news front, Brunswick, the parent company of Mercury Marine and boat companies Boston Whaler, Sea Ray and others, recently purchased Navico, including some major electronics brand names like Simrad, Lowrance, B&G and C-MAP cartography. This will likely translate to seeing a lot of Simrad and Lowrance equipment on their boats in the coming year, in addition to offering networked MFDs (multi-function displays) with their outboard and I/O power packages. Without further introduction, let’s get right into what’s new in the world of marine electronics for 2022.
Boaters with NavNet TZtouch, TZtouch2, or TZtouch3 systems and limited space for a Radar antenna will be excited to learn about a new solid-state radar option from Furuno. The DRS2DNXT delivers all the features of the larger NXT Radars in a compact 19-inch Radome. The DRS2DNXT is the perfect solution for smaller vessels or those desiring a compact backup Radar with the same features and modes their larger radar provides. The DRS2DNXT utilizes the same, proven transceiver as the 24-inch DRS4DNXT, delivering powerful Solid-State Doppler Radar performance and an impressive 48-nautical mile range from the new downsized 19-inch Radome. All of the same modes and features that are the hallmarks of the NXT series will be available, including Target Analyzer, RezBoost beam sharpening, FTT (Fast Target Tracking), Bird Mode, Rain Mode and dual-range capability. With Target Analyzer, target colors change in real-time, allowing you to spot potentially hazardous situations at a glance. Green echoes are stationary targets, landmasses, or targets approaching your vessel at a velocity of fewer than 3 knots. Radar echoes dynamically shift to red when an object approaches your vessel at a speed of 3 knots or faster, independently of your own ship’s speed.
A smaller antenna creates a broader beamwidth, displaying far-off targets as elongated echoes. Furuno’s RezBoost beam-sharpening processes the returned targets, achieving equivalent resolutions of larger antenna arrays. Anglers will appreciate that the Bird Mode automatically adjusts the radar’s gain and clutter to detect flocks or even individual birds as they’re feeding on baitfish. Knowing where the birds gather is just one tool that fishermen use to get on the fish and NXT series radars automatically make those adjustments for you.
With the Auto Acquire feature, targets in a three-nautical mile range are instantly acquired and tracked automatically. These unique features can be used together, providing the ultimate in boating safety and situational awareness. Enabling Rain Mode paints areas of precipitation in blue. With Target Analyzer enabled, targets masked within the rain that are approaching your vessel at speeds greater than three knots are displayed in red. This combination of features allows you to pick out hazardous targets within the squall easily and automatically. The DRS2DNXT works with NavNet TZtouch, TZtouch2, and TZtouch3 and will be available from Furuno USA in early 2022. For more information, visit www.furunousa.com.
Garmin introduced two new families of products at the recent Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. The GPSMAP 79 series introduces an all-new design with modern display features that are specially crafted for a life on the water. Packed securely in a rugged, floating design, the GPSMAP 79 marine handheld series equips mariners with a suite of essential, easy-to-use onboard navigation tools in the palm of their hand.
Thanks to a larger, optically-bonded display and transflective, scratch-resistant glass lens, the GPSMAP 79 series prevents fogging, improves contrast and enhances clarity for easier, sunlight-readable navigation in marine environments. The GPSMAP 79 series is available in two models—the GPSMAP 79s with a built-in worldwide basemap and support for downloadable marine charts, and the GPSMAP 79sc, which comes standard with built-in BlueChart g3 cartography. In addition to a three-axis, tilt-compensated compass, the GPSMAP 79 series allows boaters to access data worldwide using reliable GNSS with support for multiple constellations. For capturing more adventures on open water, the GPSMAP 79 marine handheld series provides up to 19 hours of battery life while using GPS and 8GB of memory to store up to 10,000 waypoints and 250 routes.
The other newbies for 2022 are the Fantom 18x and 24x solid-state dome radars. These offer 50W of output power, which is double what competitors’ solid-state Radomes provide on the market today. This translates to longer range and better target detection on the water, even at high speeds. For the first time in the industry, the Fantom 18x and 24x is available in white or black, making it easier than ever for users to customize their radar to their vessel’s color scheme.
Equipped with Garmin’s signature MotionScope technology, the new high-powered Fantom 18x/24x Radomes can detect and highlight moving targets in different colors, providing mariners with valuable vessel position information, track weather and more. The Fantom 18x/24x offers up to 60-rpm rotation speed for a refresh rate that can detect movement at any speed. Other new features in the Fantom 18x/24x radars include a “power save” feature that lets users draw more or less power based on the performance they need, plus a “timed transmit mode” that allows users to specify active and inactive times down to seconds instead of minutes for reduced power consumption. For more information, visit www.garmin.com.
AIRMAR TECHNOLOGY CORP
Airmar, a name every boat owner knows for producing transducers and Chirp technology, recently introduced their new SmartBoat system, a groundbreaking vessel-management solution for all marine-sensor protocols and network types. The NMEA 2000-certified SmartBoat system offers a highly configurable sensor interface, supports a wide range of sensors and protocols and provides remote discovery, management, programming and wireless features. These unprecedented capabilities significantly reduce the equipment, protocol-conversion devices, cabling, complexity and labor costs associated with conventional networking products, potentially saving thousands of dollars on electronics installations. Simply put, it’s one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to connect, control, and communicate sensor data on a vessel.
“All onboard sensors, including thermistors, thermocouples, resistive-sender units, DC voltages, fuel-flow monitors and even engine data can be connected to a SmartBoat module, which converts their protocols to NMEA 2000. This eliminates the need for over half of the NMEA 2000 protocol-conversion devices and cabling used in a typical installation,” stated Jennifer Matsis, Airmar’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Matsis added, “By interfacing directly to sensors, there’s no need for numerous expensive single-sensor modules.” Once the SmartBoat module is connected, the status of all connected sensors can be easily accessed.
Airmar’s SmartFlex View is a browser-based tool enabled in each module and is accessible directly from any laptop, tablet, mobile device, or via Airmar’s CAST app. Alerts can be customized and can be combined as needed. Also, SmartFlex Filter can control message traffic between the primary and secondary NMEA 2000 buses. All models in the SmartBoat system share a standard set of features, including built-in wireless networking support and browser-based configuration (SmartFlex View) and NMEA 2000 support. They can also be configured as wireless access points, clients, or both, allowing total flexibility with other external networks on the boat. Advanced SmartBoat models support multi-network bridging and management such as multiple NMEA 2000 networks, NMEA 0183, SAE J1939 engine interfaces and digital sensors. For more information, visit www.airmar.com.
SI-TEX Marine Electronics has recently unveiled the MDA-5 AIS 5-Watt AIS Transceiver. The latest addition to the company’s popular Metadata family of AIS products, the new MDA-5 delivers a range of essential features and safety benefits for recreational and light commercial vessels. This advanced Class B/SO system transmits at 5 watts, compared to 2 watts for traditional Class B units, allowing boats equipped with the MDA-5 to be “seen” over longer distances and/or in challenging environments. It also transmits a vessel’s position and dynamic data such as Heading, Speed Over Ground and Course Over Ground on a more frequent, “Class A-type” priority basis. This more frequent broadcasting of vessel information ensures that other vessels around you receive the most up-to-date data possible and is particularly important when vessels are traveling at high rates of speed and/or are transiting heavy traffic areas.
True to the SI-TEX Metadata tradition, the new MDA-5 is compact, lightweight and easy to install just about anywhere. It is ruggedly built for the marine environment, with an IP67 waterproof rating and dust and vibration-proof construction. The MDA-5 features NMEA 2000, NMEA 0183 and USB connections for easy integration with onboard marine electronics, along with built-in WI-FI to effortlessly pair with tablets and laptops running navigation software. With its integrated zero-loss VHF antenna splitter, the MDA-5 can be installed without needing a second antenna. The MDA-5 is IEC, FCC and USCG Certified and is available through authorized SI-TEX Marine Electronics dealers. Like every SI-TEX product, the new MDA-5 is affordably-priced and backed by the company’s two-year warranty and customer-friendly Long Island-based service department. For more information, visit www.si-tex.com.
The new Cyclone Radar from Raymarine exhibits striking form, extreme capability and ruggedness—hallmarks of this next-generation open-array radar. Cyclone Radar was designed to give mariners the confidence to tackle the harshest conditions, gain real advantages in hunting for fish and safely navigate busy waterways.
All-new Cyclone radars are available in 3-, 4- and 6-foot arrays and in two high-power output options for each size. Each model features innovative detection technologies, including Cyclone Bird Mode, that elevates Cyclone into a class all its own. The aggressive aircraft-wing-inspired design will appeal to the most style-conscious boaters while affording new levels of functionality and performance. At just 13.2 inches high, Cyclone’s lower profile allows greater flexibility of boat architecture and more flexible installation options. Cyclone is the lightest open-array radar available, with the 3-foot models weighing just 51 pounds. This smaller, compact profile brings Cyclone’s unique open-array performance to nearly any sized vessel.
Cyclone is engineered for extremes with a best-in-class wind rating of over 100 knots. A fast 60-rpm rotational speed delivers 360 degrees of awareness and accurate tracking of up to 100 distinct ARPA targets in real-time, even with the vessel at full speed. Precision radar imaging comes courtesy of CHIRP pulse compression and beam-sharpening technology for best-in-class target separation and long-range resolution. With Cyclone, boaters can simultaneously enjoy maximum visibility of near and distant targets using Raymarine’s RangeFusion technology. RangeFusion technology merges short-pulse near-target ranges with long-pulse, distant target ranges, providing a single radar image that is easier to interpret.
When it’s time to find fish and get to them fast, Cyclone’s Bird Mode identifies distant flocks of sea birds above baitfish schools. Bird Mode intelligently optimizes radar gain and sea clutter controls for targeting seabirds, giving anglers the intelligence they need to locate baitfish and their trophy predators. All Cyclone models integrate seamlessly with Raymarine Axiom, Axiom+, Axiom Pro, and Axiom XL Chartplotter multifunction displays. For more information, visit www.raymarine.com.
Continuing to set new standards in the VHF market, Standard Horizon recently introduced their floating HX890 Class H handheld VHF, with a 6W output, DSC and onboard GPS. Available in two different color options—black or navy blue. Some prominent new features include two built-in scrambler systems, both a four-code CVS2500A and a 32-code FVP-42 scrambler system to ensure private communications out on the water. Another new feature includes a built-in FM broadcast band receiver. When radio communication is not necessary, you can relax with some music on the FM radio broadcast band. Other notable features include a switchable daytime or nighttime mode, waypoint and route navigation, plus group monitor function utilizing DSC group position call.
The new HX890 features a new ergonomic case design and has been rigorously tested to conform to the military standard (MIL-STD-810F). The feature-packed HX890 comes complete with all the accessories. These include the rechargeable Li-Ion battery, Alkaline battery tray, 110V wall charger, 220V adapter, charging cradle, 12V charger, PC programming cable and belt lip with lanyards backed by Standard Horizon’s industry-leading three-year waterproof warranty.
Other notable features on the HX890 handheld VHF include a selectable 6W/2W/1W transmit output; a 700mW Loud Audio and Noise-Canceling function for both TX/RX audio; a compact 2.60-inch width by 5.43-inch height by 1.50-inch depth round case design with excellent ergonomics; a built-in integrated 66-channel WAAS GPS Receiver; an 11-hour operating time with 1800mAh high-capacity, Li-ion battery; an easy-to-operate menu system with a large (1.7-inch x 1.7-inch) full-dot matrix display; a selectable day/night display mode; waypoint and route navigation; MOB (man overboard) feature; water activated emergency “white” strobe light; versatile scanning operation (Dual Watch and Triple Watch); NOAA weather channels with Weather Alert; Micro USB Data jack for PC programming and more. For additional information, visit www.standardhorizon.com.
Lowrance (and sister Navico company Simrad) recently unveiled their new companion app featuring enhanced navigation and device connectivity. It includes a set of “free” features, along with a combination of new premium features with advanced functionality and seamless synchronization with the full range of Lowrance fishfinders and chartplotters. The Lowrance App is free to download and offers a rich experience that includes free up-to-date and detailed nautical charts from C-MAP, creation and management of all your personal waypoints, routes and tracks, along with the latest marine weather, essential points of interest and much more.
The app allows you to register your Lowrance device(s), ensuring you have the latest software, manuals, information and tips related to your devices, as well as the ability to synchronize data, mirror and control right from your mobile device. It’s available on the Apple Store for iOS and Google Play for Android. Other neat features associated with the free download include personal waypoints, routes and tracks with both manual and auto-routing, marine weather forecasts with 24-hour weather coverage for your routes, chart personalization, a distance measuring tool and more.
The premium version of the Lowrance App includes everything offered in the free version, plus custom depth shading (an essential feature for serious anglers); High-Resolution Bathymetry Charts; offline maps and global charts; Automatic Identification System (AIS); Lowrance App Traffic; five-day weather along the route and five-day weather overlay; GPS navigation data; and line and track record. The detailed C-MAP charts on the app are carefully designed to highlight what is most important at any given time during your fishing experience, maintaining accuracy and a clean, uncluttered view at key fishing locations for the ultimate fishing experience. For more details on the companion app and the complete lineup of Lowrance marine electronics, visit www.lowrance.com.
ICOM has introduced its new M510 fixed mount VHF. What sets this ICOM apart from her sister marine radios in the lineup is a reduced exterior footprint for easier mounting options, plus a neat wireless smart device operation. The M510 is nearly half the depth of the M506, allowing installation in more confined spaces. The large color display has a simple user interface allowing casual and serious boaters alike with plenty of options to communicate. Additionally, command and control are possible using iOS and Android smart devices, with class-leading features such as wireless calling.
The M510 includes a full-color 3.5-inch TFT LCD screen with generous super-wide viewing angles approaching 180 degrees. The standard marine user interface is enhanced with animated functions and night mode for optimal viewing in the dark. Boaters can upgrade to the M510 AIS version to access real-time vessel traffic information to stay up to date on travel information or find the offshore daggers’ locations that attract schools of hungry tuna. Operators can call an AIS target directly when using an individual DSC call, reducing the amount of marine hardware with a combo AIS and VHF two-in-one that share the same VHF antenna.
Other features on the new ICOM M510 include an output power of 25W, an IP68 waterproof rating and a built-in GPS, plus an NMEA 0183 output jack. The RS-M500 app allows owners to connect three iOS or Android smart devices to function as a wireless intra-ship command speaker/microphone. Use the push-to-talk features, scroll/scan channels, or engage the M510’s intercom function from the comfort of the captain’s seat. You can connect to your onboard NMEA 2000 network with the optional CT-M500 wireless interface box. If the NMEA connection is in a different part of the boat, the CT-M500 can wirelessly connect with the M510, providing flexibility on placement.
Additionally, with the optional SP-37 horn speaker, the CT-M500 can access the two-way hailer/PA functions. The standard features list continues with an MMSI reset dongle; hand microphone with AquaQuake; front and back microphone connection ports; optional voice scrambler; external speaker connection; plus the option to connect to an external GPS. For more information, visit www.icomamerica.com.
With the introduction of their new NSS evo3S, Simrad’s proven family of multifunction displays took a giant step forward. Improvements include faster chart rendering (twice the speed of the prior generation of NSS evo3), quicker boot-up times and faster page transitions. With page loading times cut in half, operators can choose between split-screen combinations, with smoother transitions for on-screen movements like chart rotation and panning/zooming and faster viewing of high-resolution graphics. Other improvements that the NSS evo3S family of 9-inch, 12-inch and 16-inch MFDs bring to the party are increased monitoring and control within the existing page, instant chart orientation changes at the touch of a button, expandable audio sidebar and a handy tide graph in the instrument bar.
The NSS evo3S SolarMAX IPS display ensures clear views in any conditions, even with polarized sunglasses. These screens combine an all-weather touchscreen and keypad operation for total control in all conditions. These next-gen NSS evo3S MFDs offer fast and straightforward networking with better connectivity, extensive system expansion and real-time monitoring and control delivered through an iMX 8 high-performance processor. Users can integrate with third party technologies, such as CZone digital switching and Mercury VesselView Link, for easy boat and engine performance data access. The Simrad App includes a wide range of features, from device registration and manual downloads to saving waypoints and favorite fishing spots, providing accessibility both on and off the water.
The new NSS evo3S MFDs feature a built-in, high-performance echo sounder with a 1kW CHIRP sonar that’s capable of exceptional bottom-tracking and fish-finding performance, including support for dual-channel CHIRP transducers that deliver multiple depth range coverage from a single unit. Dual transducer ports offer the convenience of connecting numerous transducers to a single display. Depending on your choice of transducers, other sonar features include ActiveTarget high-resolution live sonar, SideScan and DownScan Imaging boosted by StructureScan 3D, ActiveImaging for picture-like views of fish-holding structure. It also has crystal clear views of the bottom ahead using ForwardScan sonar; or performance sportfishing with the added deep-water S5100 sonar.
The NSS evo3S color displays deliver big-picture views of charts, radar, sonar and more under all conditions, with superfast response times, increased functionality, ultra-wide viewing angles and reliable touch or keypad operation, all preloaded with C-MAP charts. A new menu structure also allows easier access to commonly used controls and features. For more information, visit www.simrad-yachting.com.
Humminbird’s MEGA Live recently received the award for best electronics at the ICAST 2021 New Product Showcase. This new sonar technology, which rounds out the One-Boat Network, delivers unparalleled clarity and detail of MEGA Imaging in live-action. MEGA Live Imaging technology allows anglers to see fish and structure in real-time, even watching fish on screen as they move around or attack an angler’s lure. Now with the addition of MEGA Live, anglers will have access to a complete package of next-gen technology to help them catch more fish.
The MEGA Live Imaging transducer comes with a multi-position bracket that provides three sonar views, each suited for different fishing applications and techniques. MEGA Live imaging views include a Down Mode, with live imaging looking directly below the transducer; Forward Mode, with live imaging looking out and away from the transducer, steered using the trolling motor’s foot pedal or remote. Also included is Landscape Mode, which is live imaging from a wide, bird’s eye view looking out and around the boat. In addition, an optimized sonar cone angle provides ample coverage area to easily keep both fish and lure within sight while maintaining precision and the ability to target individual fish. No matter the fishing scenario, the versatility and performance of MEGA Live Imaging make it easy to see and catch fish in real-time on the Humminbird display.
MEGA Live Imaging transducers are compatible with all Humminbird APEX and SOLIX models, as well as HELIX 8-15 G3N/G4N models with MEGA Imaging. For optimal performance, the MEGA Live Imaging transducer is designed to be paired with a Minn Kota Ultrex trolling motor, mounted on the shaft, providing rapid deployment into the water and easy steering control of the live sonar views. The MEGA Live Imaging transducer is offered as an accessory. It comes with everything needed to install on a trolling motor, including a 20-foot Ethernet cable, 10-foot power cable and trolling motor mounting bracket and hardware. Also new for 2022, Humminbird has introduced new generations of the popular HELIX 5 and HELIX 7 Series with the introductions of HELIX 5 G3, HELIX 7 G4 and HELIX 7 G4N models. For more information, visit www.humminbird.com.
We have included Seakeeper in this year’s Electronics Buyers Guide since they are becoming more prevalent at coastal marinas as their product line expands to fit smaller-sized coastal craft.
A Seakeeper is a computer-controlled gyroscope that eliminates up to 95 percent of boat roll. Its proprietary design, inspired by aerospace technology, centers on a powerful steel flywheel that spins at high speeds in a near vacuum, eliminating air friction and allowing weight, heat generation, and power consumption to be minimized.
The technology works in all sea conditions, both at rest and underway. Completely self-contained, the Seakeeper produces no drag and unlike fin stabilizers, has no risk of damage from external outside-the-hull impact or snag. A Seakeeper can be installed as a new build feature or can be retrofitted to virtually anywhere on the boat.
Their latest made in USA gyro-stabilizer, the Seakeeper 1, is designed to virtually eliminate boat roll on vessels from 23 to 30 feet. Weighing only 385 pounds, requiring modest amounts of 12V power, and measuring less than 23 by 24 by 16 inches, the Seakeeper 1 can be installed virtually anywhere on board. Its computerized control and vacuum technology make it the first truly practical and only modern, anti-roll gyro. The Dashboard Display’s intuitive operator interface allows you to simply turn it on and forget about it. No complex settings or adjustments are required of the operator; Seakeeper does all of this automatically. You simply enjoy the ride.
Sitting inside a vacuum encapsulation, the Seakeeper’s flywheel spins at speeds
up to 9,700 rpm. The gyro’s frame tilts fore and aft when the boat rolls, producing a powerful gyroscopic torque to port and starboard that counteracts the boat’s roll. The patented cooling system enables the flywheel to spin at high speeds inside of the vacuum containment.
Seakeeper’s vacuum encapsulation enables the flywheel to spin roughly three times faster, cuts flywheel weight by two-thirds, and halves the operational power requirements. Moreover, because the critical components (flywheel, bearings, and motor) are sealed in a vacuum, they are isolated from the harsh marine environment. Seakeeper’s “active control” optimizes gyro torque, providing an unsurpassed level of performance. Unlike a passively controlled gyro, which must be turned off in the roughest conditions and/or at higher speeds, the Seakeeper 1 and all the larger siblings are effective at any speeds and can be used in all sea conditions. For more information, visit www.seakeeper.com.