By Ben Ellison
A Radar-Assisted Collision
I’m frustrated about getting to know my new Furuno NavNet, even just trying to plot a route, and wonder if there’s a better tutorial than the manuals. K.K., via PMY Electronics forum
I don’t know of any specific NavNet training aids beyond the manuals, which I agree are rather dry and daunting. But let me suggest a plan. First—and this applies to most all the integrated marine electronics out there—you have to acknowledge that you’ve got a very powerful system, but it’s not pure magic, and, in fact, its power to do so much necessitates a complex interface. It can help you navigate easily and safely, but only in relation to the effort you apply mastering it.
So find some quiet time to study your NavNet system. Put aside the Installation Manual, the Quick Setup Guide, even the Quick Operations Card, which seems best suited for reminding yourself about functions already somewhat familiar. Look through the Operator’s Manual table of contents to get an idea of how it’s organized, but don’t panic; you’ll never need to know everything listed on those seven pages. Then go to chapter 1, Operational Overview, for an explanation of the key layout and several important basics like how to select the display mode. You’ll want a single, all-chart screen for creating a route. Then skip to the Routes section of the Plotter Operation chapter to learn how to lay a route right on the chart with the trackball and enter key. If you approach NavNet on a task-by-task basis like this, I think the system’s magic, even the manual’s thoroughness, will reveal themselves.
It’s noteworthy that some manufacturers are experimenting with supplementary learning aids designed with a how-to—instead of a conventional function-by-function—point of view. For instance, Raymarine’s C-Series machines include an 18-page Operating Guide with topics like “How do I build a route by placing waypoints on screen?” The half page explains the task with simple button-by-button graphics. It’s also useful for both owners and shoppers to know that companies like Furuno and Raymarine make all their manuals available for free downloading on their Web sites.
Got a marine electronics question? Write to Electronics Q&A, Power & Motoryacht, 260 Madison Ave., 8th Fl., New York, NY 10016. Fax: (917) 256-2282. e-mail: PMYElectronics@primedia.com. For fastest response, visit the Electronics forum at www.powerandmotoryacht.com. No phone calls, please.
This article originally appeared in the November 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.