MIBS 2015: Ocean Signal, ACR, C-Map, Garmin GNX, Lumitec and Veethree

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

15 Responses

  1. Dan Corcoran (b393capt) says:

    A whole bunch of products at once. Great read Ben.
    Are those the kind of flares that don’t drop hot slag, potentially puncturing inflatable RIBS?
    That Garmin display is incredibly bright for such low power. Are there fixed segments making each number, or is it a high resolution display that just looks really crisp?

  2. Dan Corcoran (b393capt) says:

    Attn Painewessex, there is a major typo in the word “sale” in the first paragraph.

  3. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    The ACR Aurora Flare details are online now, Dan, and I see this: “Unlike some flares, which emit dangerous sparks and ash, the Aurora’s unique design minimizes emission of smoldering debris.”
    The Garmin GNX displays are actually a three-screen hybrid: segmented on top, pixels in the middle, and a touchscreen control strip on the bottom. The top two seem to be partially transflective, as shown in the photo. More here:

  4. Derek says:

    Hi Ben,
    did ACR mention when the SARLink might get approvals?

  5. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks, Derek. I didn’t even know about the SARLink and it looks very interesting — dual sat systems, dual batteries, touch screen, wow! — though probably high end. They did not mention it during the demo cruise but I’ll ask about status.

  6. ValkyrieYachts says:

    Hi Ben,
    Do you think by adding the C-Map, that this is a sign Raymarine is moving away from Navionics?
    Also, have you seen, or done, any comparisons between Navionics and C-Map??

  7. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Valkyrie, I don’t think that any of the plotter manufacturers ever liked being dependent on one electronic chart source, both for their own business reasons and on behalf of their users. I think it’s great that all the manufacturers now support multiple sources (with the exception of Garmin, but they make their own charts, which is great for feature integration, and they license data from C-Map and others). At any rate, Navionics, C-Map and the others don’t have captive markets anymore and I believe it’s good for all.
    Comparisons, by the way, are very tough, largely because what you get on the plotter is a combination of data and features provided by the chart company and the display abilities and controls built by the MFD company. The end results also vary regionally according to the HO and private data sources the chart company has access to, and then there’s significant user subjectivity. I happen to like raster charts quite a lot, but some navigators could care less.

  8. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Derek, I had to leave the ACR cruise early to get over to the FLIR cruise (by fast boat in the dark ;-), so I missed a presentation on SARlink. But here’s the gist:
    “This is one of our next generation military beacons, so it will not be available to the general public for some time. But it combines all the features and benefits of the iridium satellite system including GPS tracking, and 2 way texting (canned or free form) to cell phones, sat phones, the backend messaging center and other SARLinks. Also, SARLink will use the Iridium SOS messaging for 2 way. All of the iridum satellite communications are powered by a rechargeable lithium battery. The combined 406 MHz PLB is built into the device and shares the same GPS data but powers all of the 406 MHz emergency signal bursts from a secondary dedicated lithium battery. The dual battery system ensures that you cannot over use the communication features and leave yourself stranded with an emergency beacon with no battery power left.
    No price point of this product yet as it will only be for military purposes at the launch.”

  9. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    So a four pack of ACR Aurora Red Hand Flares will retail at $38 as compared to Orion at $35. An Orion flare does last 3 minutes versus the Aurora’s one minute, but I think I prefer the shorter burst of 21x candle power, plus the metal body, better ignition system, etc.

  10. Dan Corcoran (b393capt) says:

    I am ready to buy those flares for this season.

  11. Raul says:

    Another thing to consider when choosing a mapping data supplier is the ease of use of their planning software. I haven’t used the Navionics one, but I’ve used the C-map and the Garmin planning software. There are many differences in the way they each work, their user interface, and the way the handle files. Personally I give the nod to C-map’s PC Planner, but I’m sure that others may prefer Garmin.

  12. Lisa Rose says:

    Ready to give one arm to get those flares. Though i missed the presentation on SARlink.

  13. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Wow! ACR just acquired Ocean Signal, which means it now has one heck of an EPIRB/PLB line plus an outstanding AIS MoB device that will now get wider marketing and distribution.

  14. Chain Plate says:

    I work at a small chandlery that just started carrying the AIS MOB from Spinlock. My brief research shows that it actually is made by Ocean Signal. Does Ocean Signal also make them for ACR?

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      As discussed in the review below, I’m fairly certain that the Ocean Signal design team at least helped ACR with its AISLink MOB:


      But I think that both companies were doing great work even before they became corporate siblings. And note that both are now siblings of UK inflator manufacturer United Moulders. I don’t know if that has to do with the Spinlock version of the OS AIS MOB1, but reliable integration with a life vest’s inflation system is key to automatic activation of these devices, and tricky to design as a universal feature. Having Spinlock offer an AIS Mob specific to their vests is confidence building 😉

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