Yearly Archive: 2019

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SiriusXM and Garmin GXM 54 add Fish Mapping to satellite weather

SiruisXM has expanded on their satellite delivered weather options with their new Fish Mapping plan for anglers. Does Fish Mapping deliver the goods for the offshore angler? With sea temperature, plankton, weed line, sea surface height and fishing recommendations there’s a lot of data to help you find fish and Garmin makes it easy to display on their MFDs.

10

ScanStrut Rokk Wireless phone charging, testing the first generation

The Scanstrut Rokk Wireless charging pad I tested practically disappears under my phone, and obviously there’s no USB charging wire involved either. But that’s the idea, and there’s even a model that I could have completely hidden under that varnished cherry surface, or the similar  counter at Gizmo’s pilothouse helm. Just put the phone down in the right spot and charging happens!..

7

Aqua Map Version 20, fast scrolling and new features

Aqua Map has already established itself as an excellent app for boaters supplying valuable data at your fingertips. But one weakness has been the relatively slow rendering of charts. This made scrolling slower than you would like, but now Aqua Map is out with version 20 and an all new charting engine. The result? Lightning fast scrolling and several nice updates to make one of the leading navigation apps even better.

12

Garmin GPSMap 86sci: inReach, GPS and a plethora of tools for boaters

The Garmin GPSMAp 86 family is a powerhouse of communications and connectivity. The dizzying array of technology inside this handheld provides two-way satellite messaging, GPS chart plotting, and integrations with many onboard electronics, all in a compact, weather-resistant, floating case. The marriage of a marine GPS unit with inReach satellite messaging could be the perfect tool for boaters. Can this many capabilities work in one little package? Read on to find out.

26

Victron Cerbo GX, good AC/DC power monitoring gets better

The existing Victron Venus GX and Color Control GX are both excellent AC/DC power monitoring products in my estimation, but with many boat systems it’s hard to decide which one to use. While the Venus blue box is less expensive with more networking capabilities, none of its display and control abilities are as fast and easy as the CCGX’s screen and button interface. I’m happy to report that this purchasing dilemma will end next year with the new Cerbo GX and GX Touch 50, and valuable new GX features are included…

4

Dometic E-Actuator steering promises better outboard steering with no hydraulics

Dometic’s Optimus Electric Steering Actuator has had quite a successful show season since its early 2019 introduction. It’s won major awards at IBEX, METS Trade and from Boating Industry Magazine. But what captured the attention of those award committees? It’s the promise of more precise handling, reduced weight, easier installations, and reduced maintenance. A few minutes spent with Dometic Marine representatives makes clear the engineering and innovation required to make this system possible.

6

Return Link Service, a major PLB & EPIRB improvement

Many of us carry an EPIRB or PLB satellite distress beacon for worst-case emergencies at sea, and while they’ve earned an excellent success record, they also have a nerve-racking drawback. The rare boater who actually activates one will not know if the distress message was received until the search and rescue heroes actually show up. Or don’t show up! But that intensely tense uncertainty is about to change thanks to a newly revealed technology called the Return Link Service (RLS)…

NOAA will stop updating charts that look like this, paper and electronic, by 2025 or sooner 14

NOAA will sunset traditional nautical charts, sad but inevitable

Things are just things, right, and they don’t really die. But during a recent conference call with NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey, a genuine feeling of grief bubbled up within me. And since I can’t keep my mouth shut, I learned that some of our “Nation’s Nautical Chartmakers” are also feeling the pain. The demise of the traditional chart is going to be sad for many of us, no doubt about it. But please don’t jump to dire conclusions until you know all that NOAA plans…

9

Inside the DAME Design Awards, and a lovely TBS Electronics battery switch

METSTRADE opens next week at the huge RAI Amsterdam Convention Center, which also owns the show. I again look forward to joining a global crowd of marine equipment folks amidst a forest of manufacturer stands and other exhibits. But actually I already spend two October days in a RAI warehouse with fellow jurors carefully examining an interesting selection of new gear, and the goal of this entry is to shed some light on the DAME Design Awards choices that resulted…