Boating is booming! With indoor activities severely limited this year due to social distancing guidelines, many families have turned to the outdoors to take advantage of recreational activities like fishing and boating. I can personally attest to this, seeing just how busy Lake Boca got during the sweltering summer months.
One fun aspect of boating — something has to offset the annoyance of maintenance, of course — is all the new technology, gear, toys, and tenders on offer. And we are at the cusp of some truly integrated technology, from automatic docking to comprehensive smart controls.
Let’s take a break from our usual finance focus to talk about some new boat tech that can make your on-water experience more seamless and more enjoyable.
Navigation & Fishfinding
Integrated navigation systems, complete with advanced SONAR and GPS chartplotting capabilities, are the new standard in navigation.
Raymarine Axiom+ is a new series of multifunctional displays that bring some of the power seen in their more advanced Axiom Pro and Axiom XL series to smaller boats. The Axiom+ series offers a big boost in screen resolution and brightness over the base Axiom models, helping reduce the impact of direct overhead sunlight and polarized sunglasses when viewing the screens.
Axiom+ includes Raymarine’s signature Realvision 3D, a down-scanning sonar. Axiom+ increased the RAM of the technology appreciably in order to allow for dynamic screen adjustments, even reducing lag when running split-screens.
You can find out more about the Raymarine Axiom+ series here.
Simrad NSS evo3S
With double the CPU power and the ability to split screens six ways (say that five times fast), the Simrad NSS evo3S takes a big step forward from its predecessors.
The NSS evo3S uses IPD HD technology to increase clarity when wearing polarized glasses (similar to the Raymarine Axiom+). The touchscreen technology is also considerably improved, offering a faster and more responsive screen. Further, displays can be mirrored to your phone for easy access to charts, radar, sonar, and engine performance.
You can find out more about the Simrad NSS evo3S here.
Furuno TZtouch3 & Deep Impact
For those who want an MFD with a little more focus on deep-sea fishing, Furuno’s Deep Impact fishfinding technology is without peer. Available with the Furuno TZtouch3 multifunction display, the Deep Impact DI-FFAMP power amplifier can boost fishfinding capabilities by up to 300 percent, allowing anglers to view depths of up to 10,000 feet.
The TZtouch3 MFD, unveiled at the 2020 Miami International Boat Show, provides the additional processing power needed to handle 1-kilowatt chirp fishfinders.
You can find out more about the Furuno TZtouch3 and Deep Impact amplifiers here.
Boat communication systems have come a long way from simple two-way radios. Integration remains the name of the game, with several systems combining radio and networking technology to offer a single point of communication, wherever you are.
Vesper Marine Cortex VHF
The Vesper Marine Cortex VHF is the first system to combine VHF radio and AIS transponders, making sure your vessel is visible to others. Cortex also offers collision avoidance technology, sounding the alarm with clear voiced alerts (as opposed to the annoying and ambiguous alarm bell).
Another interesting feature of the Cortex system is Anchor Watch, which combines your positioning and heading to determine if your boat is moving out of your anchor swing radius. You can also receive alerts while onshore via the Cortex Monitor App.
You can find out more about the Vesper Marine Cortex VHF here.
Garmin inReach Mini Marine Bundle
Want to make sure you are within reach at all times but don’t want to go overboard, no pun intended, with additional systems and screens that take up precious space? The Garmin inReach Mini marine bundle may be your best option.
The inReach Mini marine bundle offers interactive SOS, two-way messaging, and basic navigation via the global Iridium satellite network. All you need is a small mount with a 12-volt power cable and wireless connectivity.
You can find out more about the Garmin inReach Mini marine bundle here.
Safety & Security
This category has expanded over the years to include novel technology like joystick docking, personal locator beacons (PLBs), thermal imaging, and virtual distress signals.
FLIR, the industry standard for thermal imaging, introduced the M300 series to set a new standard for safe marine navigation and situational awareness.
The FLIR M300C combines a high-definition visible-light camera with a long-range optical zoom of up-to 30x. The M300C also has built-in gyrostabilization, providing a steady view even in low-light and heavy-sea conditions.
The FLIR M300C can also be combined with Raymarine Axiom displays, enhancing the Raymarine ClearCruise augmented reality view.
You can find out more about the FLIR M300C here.
Siren 3 Pro
Finally, a system that monitors anything and everything about your boat. The Siren 3 Pro allows you to remotely track your boat’s location, engine, temperature, bilge pump activity, battery levels, water levels, and shore power status, among others.
The Siren 3 Pro utilizes Connected Boat® technology, in tandem with your MFD, to push all the monitoring data you may need right to their app. You can control your boat’s lights and digital switching systems right from your phone.
You can find out more about the Siren 3 Pro here.
While many of the systems listed above have their own smartphone capabilities, there are several new boating apps to complement your experience out on the water.
The MarineMax app is a platform to the MarineMax network, allowing you to request services such as routine maintenance to full repairs. You can also access a full lineup of boats for sale and a list of upcoming classes and events.
You can find out more about the MarineMax app here.
Boat Rental Apps
Have a center console but want to take out a pontoon for an afternoon of sun and swimming? Or want to charter a sportfisher for a weekend on the water? We can now say “There’s an app for that.”
We chronicled the pros and cons of boat ownership versus boat-sharing in an earlier blog post. The two largest boat-sharing apps, BoatSetter and GetMyBoat, have only gotten better, with expanded offerings and locations.
Financial Planning with Harbor Crest Wealth Advisors
While we couldn’t cover every new option available to boaters, these technologies are another step closer to a fully integrated, and eventually automated, boating experience. I personally can’t wait for the docking technology to become ubiquitous!
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