|Electronics — October 2004
By Ben Ellison
Garmin Marine Network
This gear may be wicked overkill on a 14-foot skiff, even if just for testing, but check out the goodies on the Garmin networked system, which I profiled in my “Electronics” column in July and which is now shipping. Showing on the 3010 is the dual-frequency fishfinder, video input (two cameras possible, as is color), a zoomed-in Blue Chart of my harbor, and a zoomed-out one that’s animating a rain- and lightning-laden cold front headed my way later in the day. On the 3006 is text weather for a local airport indicating that the fog I’m seeing outside the harbor is widespread (XM satellite radio doesn’t have marine forecasts yet), and adding to the high-tech ambiance is an XM satellite music station playing in the background!
The system tested—which retails for about $7,035, not including stereo, camera, or weather and audio subscriptions—seemed quite stable but subject to “version 1.0” limitations. Charts and routes are not yet sharable across the network without card swapping, and control of weather layers and tunes needs a lot of improvement. Garmin is working on these issues and has already included a neat ability to graphically customize any display page. But I was struck by how challenging it is to design multifunction display interfaces as more and more functions are added. I also surmised that users with all these integrated goodies at hand (and Garmin’s adding radar next year) will want multiple and/or bigger displays at each helm station.
Garmin Phone: (800) 800-1020. www.garmin.com.
This article originally appeared in the September 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.