Category: Editors’ Blog

NOAA's visual database of ENC "rescheming" progress shows that many large scale (small area) charts in New England are already available ~ Ben E 10

David Burch wants to educate us about Electronic Navigation Charts (ENC)

I’m hard put to name anyone more knowledgeable and passionate about marine navigation than David Burch, long-time director of the Starpath School of Navigation in Seattle. These days, David is especially concerned about the Electronic Navigation Charts rapidly replacing the official paper and RNC charts in the USA and elsewhere. So he recently followed up his comprehensive Introduction to Electronic Chart Navigation with a booklet titled ENC Essentials, whose preface and first chapter are excerpted below…

0

Panbo(at) gets more stable: Seakeeper 1 install in progress

It’s been over six years since I got involved with Ben Ellison and Panbo. When I first started working with Ben E. timelines were one of my biggest struggles. I figured, the longer I do this, the better I’ll get at pacing things out, knowing how long a review and article will take, and scheduling things. Well, six-plus years later, I’m no better. In fact, my current project, the installation and on-boat testing of a Seakeeper 1, might be the longest in the making of any I’ve done.

56

Epoch’s new 460 amp-hour, external communicating battery arrives and testing begins

In a short time, Epoch has made a name for itself producing high-quality batteries at a remarkable value. I first tested their 100 amp-hour batteries and thought they were the best blend of value, features, and quality I have encountered. In fact, there were only two areas I thought Epoch could improve upon. First, higher density, and second, external communications. Epoch seems to have addressed both those issues and more.

3

METS 2023: EPT Technologies solid-state battery destruction demo

You can bet that when a company puts out word that they’re going to destroy a new battery technology on the show floor, both Panbo Bens will be there. Ben Ellison even had the honor of playing Vanna White for the demonstration. EPT Technologies, with permission from show management, pierced a solid-state battery cell with a screwdriver. Not once, but twice. Want to know what happened? Read on, but, spoiler alert, both Bens are fine.

18

Gizmo’s new (though previously owned) compass, thanks to Max Marine Electronics

Perhaps you too remember seeing decent-looking marine electronics peeking out of boatyard dumpsters? While I fear that such waste is probably still happening, thankfully websites like eBay and Craigslist have made it much easier for buyers and sellers of niche gear to find each other. But did you know that a company in South Florida has brought high levels of expertise and professionalism to the used boat electronics market? In fact, the main goal of this entry is a hearty endorsement of Max Marine Electronics…

5

“Practical Navigators” — when olde Salem MA met the paper(chart)less future

The Navigator of the United States Navy does not mess around. Addressing a bow-tie-speckled crowd of New England yachtsmen and nautical history buffs, Rear Admiral Richard West passionately described the “technological explosion” that is blowing apart the grand traditions of marine navigation, and his commitment to an all-digital future. When asked the inevitable question about paper charts, he grinned mischievously and said, “We’re going to throw them all overboard!” 

Extensive NMEA 2000 Alert messages have long been available, but Garmin is still one of the few manufacturers to support them 13

NMEA 2000 network Alert PGNs seem great, so why are they hardly used?

Most of us get to see the NMEA 2000 data sharing standard doing good on our boats, like how the N2K output of a GPS receiver — or heading sensor, or AIS transponder, etc. — can be seen and used by almost any network display regardless of brand. But I’m sorry to report that most of us have also been missing out on a valuable NMEA 2000 feature that’s been available for over a decade. I’m talking about the set of Alert PGNs — i.e. bundles of subject-specific data and command fields known by their Parameter Group Numbers — that theoretically permit any N2K device to send standard or custom alerts to any display, which…

67

Are tablets ready to replace chart plotters?

Apple’s Steve Jobs introduced the iPad in April 2010. At the time, I was working in financial services technology. The day it was introduced, I ordered a half dozen of them so we could try them out and see what this new-fangled computer without a keyboard might do well. That original iPad, with 256 megabytes of RAM, 16 gigabytes of storage, and a tiny app store was pretty limited. But, we’ve come a long way in the last 13 years and tablets can do an awful lot. But, are they a replacement for dedicated navigation electronics? Let’s take a look at the capabilities they offer and some of the remaining limitations.

7

MIBS 2023 – Battle Born with Dragonfly IntelLigence

Battle Born is possibly the most recognizable brand of lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries in the market today. They’ve built a strong brand around their tagline of “Get out there, stay out there” and the concept that their batteries will help you enjoy your adventure. Their marketing concentrates on what their batteries can help you enjoy, not on the nitty-gritty of their batteries. That strategy has worked for them, even as others have advanced the capabilities of their batteries past Battle Born’s position.

The Fort Myers Beach shrimp fleet is back in the water and some boats are fishing 25

Moving forward after Ian, and a boat search

It’s been just over six months since Ian ravaged Southwest Florida and, with it, the life my family and I built in Fort Myers. Ian sunk our home on the water, Have Another Day, and destroyed the marina we’d called home for three and a half years. Our lives have continued. We are settled in our house, we’ve found a place to keep our center console, Panbo(at), and overall we don’t have much to complain about, but boy do we miss living on the water.