— July 2001
By Tim Clark
|Part 2: A PC at the Helm|
What's the point, that is, until you get a boat. "We get a lot of customers who have never had a computer in their home and have never used one at their office," says Jeff Mobley, director of sales and marketing at OceanPC, one of the first companies to market marinized computers. "These are people who pay other people good money to run their computers for them. But their views change when they get in the wheelhouse." After they see the advantages of having a PC at the helm, says Mobley, they finally give in and get literate. George Kioutis, CEO of Argonaut Computer, which supplies "ruggedized" computer products to both commercial and recreational mariners, concurs. "Once you start using this kind of equipment, you'll never go back," he says. But he admits that for many boaters the attitude is "If it's a computer, I don't want to know about it."
the irony in this, just step to the helm on almost any powerboat larger
than 40 feet LOA. The odds are that two or three computers will be staring
you right in the face, only they go by other names: chartplotter, echosounder,
radar. A chartplotter, for instance, includes an operating system, silicon
chips, circuit board, memory, and monitor, just like a PC. But because
its appearance is hardly reminiscent of that box and keyboard at the office
(with its legacy of unreliability and frustration, its odor of pierced-tongued
hackers invading the Pentagon, and its clickety-clackety connotations
of lines at airport ticket counters), boaters aren't put off by
them. Skippers who would sooner jump from a window than learn Windows
2000 master the intricacies of their dedicated navigational electronics
This article originally appeared in the May 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.