What’s New in Marine Electronics

No longer do mariners need to send a message in a bottle to communicate and more on the high seas. Marine electronics are a huge market, expected to grow from US $4.1 to US $7.7 billion over the next decade, according to a report by London, UK-based market intelligence firm, Future Market Insights. It’s no wonder there are so many new, innovative marine electronic products coming to market. Here are just a few:

SAFETY & SECURITY
Boaters today want reliable technology that provides information and let them take swift action in the event of an emergency whether they are on their vessels or not. Two excellent examples of new products in this arena are the mazu Sentry Boat Monitoring system and the latest of GOST’s (Global Ocean Security Technologies) Apparition system.

“The mazu Sentry takes advantage of satellite technology rather than wireless or cellular technology to give users global coverage that isn’t dependent on local conditions or weather,” says Craig Myers, product manager of the Mississauga, Ontario-headquartered company. “Owners are able to maintain a constant connection to their boat with features that include the ability to connect to up to 16 wired sensors that alert owners and provide remote functionality.” 

Boat owners can customize what sensors are important to them, where they install the sensors, and what aspects of their vessels they want to control remotely.

“The next generation of our GOST Apparition system is equipped with a new ‘All in One’ Universal Control Unit, making it a highly advanced marine security system,” explains Jay Keenan, president and chief executive officer, of the Fort Lauderdale, FL-based company. “This flexible system will securely communicate with onboard wireless sensors and relays and is capable of notifying users of security events over both Inmarsat Geostationary Satellite and 4G/3G Cellular, and whether the boat is sitting at the dock or 300 miles offshore.”

Another dimension to safety and security are upgrades in AIS (automatic identification system) transponders. This includes Vesper Marine’s Vision2, which combines navigation sensor data, GPS and AIS information with intelligent alert logic and triggers alarms in the event of hazardous situations

“Our smartAIS units continuously calculate crossing situations and generate collision alarms for critical navigation action; alert the crew of an anchor dragging as well as changes in wind speed, wind direction and water depth while at anchor; and activate alarms in case of a man overboard with continuously updated positions for quick retrieval,” says Jeff Robbins, chief executive officer of Auckland, New Zealand headquartered Vesper Marine, with US offices in West Creek, NJ. “These capabilities are built right into the transponder itself.”

EASY-TO-USE
Just about everyone today owns a Smartphone and expects that all their other devices will be just as simple, fast and responsive to operate. Screen visibility is also critical for marine electronics. Raymarine’s newest line, Axiom XL, adds big-screen options to its lineup with 16, 19, 22 and 24-inch models.

“Axiom XL are designed to be the centerpiece of a flagship-level navigation system,” says Jim McGowan, the Nashua, NH-based marketing manager for FLIR Maritime and Raymarine Electronics. “In addition to acting as big-screen multifunction displays the Axiom XL models also offer HDMI digital video input and output with touchscreen pass-through. This lets the Axiom XL act as a touchscreen monitor for other onboard systems and let its own information be displayed on remote screens like televisions, marine monitors and touch displays.” 

COMMUNICATIONS & RECREATION
Many boaters today want to stay in touch rather than get away from it all. That’s where satellite communications come in. Yet at the same time, a vessel is the perfect place to relax and marine stereos that rival the crisp, undisturbed streaming capability of home systems can certainly help. Two new products, one from Ocens Systems, in Des Moines, WA, and the other from New Zealand-based Fusion Entertainment, fill both bills.

“Most people want satellite communications to check email while away from cellular or land-based Wi-Fi internet connections,” says Jeff Thomassen, chief technical officer at Ocens. “Since Smartphones are usually handy, the ability to use a Wi-Fi hotspot connection is key. Newer products like the Iridium GO, which provides a Wi-Fi Hotspot using the Iridium satellite network as the internet connection, can easily connect a Smartphone to apps like OCENS OneMail, which is designed to compress email and optimize data transfers via the slower satellite connections.”

Finally, as for sounds at sea, Fusion Entertainment’s new Apollo stereo systems RA770 and SRX400 create a superb listening experience because the audio onboard is optimized. 

“Speakers can be installed in different zones of the boat and with our PartyBus system, boaters can play different types of music in different zones, adjust the volume and track remotely, and switch between individual and party mode so everyone on the boat is happy,” says Chris Baird, managing director.

Carol_Bareuther
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.