Electronics

Garmin 6000 and 7000 MFDs

There are new models at the top of the Garmin series, as well, in the form of two new ranges of large-format multifunction displays known as the GPSMAP 6000 and GPSMAP 7000 series. Like the 4000 and 5000 series, they offer a choice between touchscreen control (in the 7000 series at right) and more conventional soft-key and cursor operation in the 6000s.

Garmin 700 series

A recent addition to Garmin’s range is a series of touchscreen plotters whose size and price slot them neatly into the significant gap between five-inch GPSMap 600 series, whose prices start at about $1,000, and the 8.4-inch GPSMap 5008, which has a list price of $2,899.

At $1,499.99, the GPSMAP 740 (right) is pre-loaded with navigation-quality charts for

Stay Safe WITH AIS

Why a collision-avoidance system is must-have technology.

Vesper Marine’s AIS Watchmate RX displays data from its built-in receiver on a simple, radar-like display or as a prioritized list. ($700; www.vesper marine.com)

Every year, the U.S. Coast Guard publishes its Recreational Boating Statistics—70-odd pages of

Ultrascan PC90

One of the drawbacks of forward-looking sonar has always been that sound travels much more slowly through water than radar waves travel through air. At a sluggish 5,000 feet per second, it takes half a second for a sonar “ping” to travel out and back to an object a quarter of a mile away. So for a scanning sonar to build up even a crude picture of what's ahead can easily take several seconds.

Jotron AIS SART

Jotron's Automatic Identification System (AIS) SART is a search-and-rescue beacon based on AIS technology; it transmits a dedicated identity code and GPS position to produce a distinctive red cross icon on the bridge display of every AIS-equipped ship within range, marking the position of a liferaft or a vessel in distress.

Jotron was instrumental in carrying

Follow the Birds

What's the secret to piscatorial success?
Simple. Just follow the birds!

Terns and pelicans don't go fishing for fun. They do it because of their need to survive. And because they do it almost all day, every day, it stands to reason that they get pretty darn good at it.

Okay, I've never heard of a bird tackling a marlin or tuna—they're

Game Changer?

Twin Disc challenges pod drives with a smooth, quick joystick system for shaft-drive boats.


Most likely, it was the eyebrow that got me. I was winding up a pleasant dinner with a boatbuilding friend at the recent Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show and gabbing about one of my favorite topics—the super-sophistication of

Sea-Me Dual Band

Sea-Me, the popular RTE (Radar Target Enhancer) or “active radar reflector” has been dramatically improved. The new Sea-Me Dual Band does exactly what its name suggests: it responds to both of the frequencies that are used by ships’ radars.

Until now, commercially available RTEs responded only to X-band radar transmissions. This meant

ACR EMERGENCY BEACONS

ACR Electronics has introduced what it describes as the newest generation of Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) in the shape of the AquaLink PLB. Although less than six inches long and thus truly pocket-size, the newly approved AquaLink features an integral 66-channel GPS. Once the unit is triggered, the lat and lon provided by its GPS should guide rescuers to

When To Go Manual

Most of the time fishfinders work great on auto mode. But not always.

Fishfinders don’t just find fish; they also find the places fish are likely to be, like reefs, wrecks, and drop-offs where baitfish and predators gather. But sometimes they need a little help to do their job.

Fishfinders produce short pulses of high-frequency sound that

Make A Call, Save Some Cash

Onboard satcom is now cheaper than cellphone service.


Did you know that it is now cheaper to phone home from the Bahamas or the Virgin Islands through a shipboard satellite terminal than it is through a cellphone?

Verizon, for instance, charges $1.99 per minute for calls from the Caribbean to the United

Night Eyes

Eat all the carrots you want. Your eyes still can’t match the power of thermal imaging.

Need proof of how well FLIR’s infrared technology works? Compare the views of the same bridge abutment (above): on the left as viewed with the naked eye, on the right using infrared technology.

We’ve all brought a flashlight up on

Avoiding Disaster

True Motion displays like this one have come down from the big-ship world. For collision avoidance, switch to the unit’s relative-motion mode.

One foggy May morning, a few years ago, a 900-foot container ship heading westwards at 25 knots collided with a 40-foot yacht called Wahkuna, which until a few minutes before the collision,

DeLorme Handheld Charting

DeLorme launched its first handheld unit less than two years ago, but has already followed up with two more.The most recent is the midrange Earthmate PN-30.

Like last year's range-topping PN40, the new model has a 32-channel GPS chipset for quick and reliable lock-on,and a dual-core processor to minimize the time it takes to redraw charts or aerial

Electronic Sentinel

Ever get the offshore heebie-jeebieies? I used to, back when I was running oceangoing tugs. The malady typically started with an imaginary change in engine pitch while we were underway after dark. Then a series of equally imaginary doomsday scenarios would ensue, usually featuring collisions (resulting from burnt-out running lights), oil spills (caused by pump problems), and sinkings (due to

KVH Tracphone FB150

KVH has joined the growing list of suppliers that are offering phone and Internet services through Inmarsat's new Fleet Broadband 150. With a dome that is just 13.5" in diameter and that weighs a little over 11 pounds, the Tracphone FB150 is the smallest and lightest of KVH's family of Inmarsat satellite broadband systems.

Described by the company as

Upgrade or Download?

It’s always nice to buy presents for the one you love—even if it is difficult, sometimes, to persuade your wife that the boat needs a new plotter more than she needs that designer purse.

But maybe you figure that now isn’t the best time to be spending big money on electronics upgrades. Well, the good news is that you can often significantly improve your

Apollo II HD and Standard Horizon’s Plotter/Fishfinders

Apollo II HD

OceanView Technologies has added a new dual-sensor camera to its line-up of night-vision systems.

As the name suggests, the Apollo II HD is a high-definition version of the company’s popular Apollo II. Like the Apollo II, the HD combines a thermal-imaging camera with a highly sensitive low-light camera that is capable of

Iridium Openport

After conducting extensive beta-testing that included sending five terminals around the world in boats competing in the Vendee Globe single-handed sailboat race, Iridium has launched the world’s only global broadband service.

Called OpenPort, the new service provides three independent phone lines and an Internet connection at anything up to 128 kilobytes

GPS Ailing and Failing?

Garmin Colorado 400C still better than a sextant even if the GPS is getting old ($599.99 MSRP; www.garmin.com)


There is growing concern that GPS performance may soon start to degrade, as the Air Force struggles to keep its constellation of aging satellites in operation.

It’s been more than 30 years since

A Fatal Error

The ill-fated fishing vessel Lady Mary, docked at her home port of Cape May, New Jersey, before the incident.

EPIRB manufacturers around the world are urging owners to make sure their distress beacons are properly registered. The warning follows the loss of the scallop dredger

Sunny Days

In this enviro-conscious age, everybody’s aware that the sun is a great source of free, clean energy. Which is why there are scads of handy chargers out there, from small multi-purpose versions to laptop-friendly models, that let you power your personal electronics using only solar rays. Rather not fire up the genset? Then why not embrace the end of outlet dependency?

ICOM IC-M36

The latest addition to Icom’s lineup of handheld VHFs is the IC-M36, a waterproof, floating radio with a couple of extra features specifically intended to minimize the effect of background noise. One is a noise-cancellation system similar to those found on headphones from Sony and Bose. A second microphone on the back of the radio picks up background noise, which

Hazardous to Your Health?

Garmin pulsed radar


The microwaves that reheat your coffee are very much the same as those transmitted by marine radars, so it isn’t too far-fetched to believe that they could “cook” anyone who gets in their way. And we all know that some types of radiation can produce deformities in unborn children or trigger the

Water-Ready

Ask anyone who’s ever dropped their cellphone in the drink: Water and electronics do not mix. But before you’re forced to replace yet another waterlogged gizmo, take a gander at these splash-proof personal electronics. From a wireless MP3 player that works when totally submerged to a protective pack that’ll help keep your iPhone safe, we’ve got the goods on the newest waterproof technology. Why