MIBS 2023 – Raymarine Axiom Pro 2, Axiom XL 2, and more

Ben Stein

Ben Stein

Publisher of Panbo.com, passionate marine electronics enthusiast, 100-ton USCG master.

6 Responses

  1. Hank says:

    Exactly what are your reservations about the utility of forward looking sonar? I really want to hear this, as it seems to be a common thread among a lot of people that are not anchoring and exploring islands that are not charted well. Please do tell.

  2. Ben Stein Ben Stein says:

    My reservations are simple. The shallower the water, the less range forward looking sonar can achieve. The forward looking range of sonar is usually quoted as a multiple of depth at 8-10 times depth. That means, in 8 feet of water, your best range is 80 feet and it could easily be as little as 64 feet. So, if you’re picking your way through an anchorage at 0.5 kts, you can probably put the information from FLS to good use and avoid an obstruction. But, if you’re moving even at a 2 kts, it’s going to be difficult to impossible to get the boat stopped in that kind of range.

    In essence, when you need it most, it offers the shortest range. I’ve talked to too many people who believe FLS is going to be a cruising safety tool to keep them out of trouble. I believe the reality is, it will only help you if you already know you may be in trouble.

    -Ben S.

    • Fergus says:

      So are you suggesting that hitting an underwater rock at 2 kts is the same as hitting it at 0.5 kts? Besides when I am surveying and anchorage a location I would not be doing 2 kts. I have up to 5m of tide at springs here so would anchor in 9m. 2 for the keel and 2 and for a good nights sleep. That for me is 9m plus 1.5 to the bow roller or 10.5m total so all my 50m of chain is out. That is a few metres less than the chain and boat length combined of 64m. So say 60 m and that gives a circle diameter of 120m or about 400 feet. A quick survey with forward looking scan is just the job..

      • Ben Stein Ben Stein says:

        Not at all. I’m suggesting that use cases for FLS are more limited than many consumers understand. I’m suggesting that even at 2 kts, you may not have enough time to stop the vessel. I’d say that hitting a rock at any speed is a bad outcome and one to be avoided.

        -Ben S.

  3. An observation – one of the details of the Axiom 2 Pro is that RayMarine has dropped NMEA0183 support in their chartplotter. I was doing some noodling about NMEA 2000 last night and I found a comment in a Panbo thread in 2007 worrying about manufacturers dropping 0183 support in favor of N2K – well, they finally did – 16 years later! Ben Ellison assured that commenter that manufacturers wouldn’t be dropping 0183 support anytime soon – looks like he got that right.
    Now Ray has a workaround if you still need 0183 – they even have the required Actisense converter in their accessories list – but it doesn’t come native anymore.
    We are seriously looking at the Axiom 2 Pro because it will fit in our Helm Pod to replace the e95 we have now – and our e95 a) leaks in the rain and goes coo-coo if it gets wet with saltwater and b) is no longer supported 🙁

    S/V Atsa

  4. Keth says:

    Agreed on forward looking. One would think if the tech is good enough to look down 60m or so, you could change the pitch to look forward 60m in shallow waters to find coral heads. I’m guessing it’d take some signal tuning dealing with the water surface, but it’d be worth it. I’d pay for it.

    We don’t care about 10m below the boat, we care about 2m below the boat!

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