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Installation Advice

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Three electronics installers share their methods for encouraging you to think your way down the right path on your helm refit.

“Our average client is fortunate when they get to use their system once a month,” says Greg Allen of Yachtmasters NW in Seattle, Washington ( “When you don’t operate something more often than once a month it has to be ‘iPhone simple’ to walk on and be able to use it. That’s kind of a litmus test we use for all the systems we put together—it’s got to be iPhone simple. Garmin does a very good job of that.”

“Ask yourself: What are you expecting to get out of it?” says Tim Killam of Dockside Electronics in Mystic, Connecticut ( “That helps them make the decision I think on what manufacturer and route they’re going to go. I try to talk them out of coming in headstrong on a brand and just say, ‘Let’s talk about what you want out of it and then we can show you what can do what you want.’ The guy this morning came to us with Furuno three months ago, this morning he walked in here on Garmin and I think he left here going with Raymarine, so it was a full circle. It was just a matter of what he realized he could and couldn’t get out it, it made a big change.”

“I’ve been doing this for like 25 years, and I find my best technique with a guy is to be straight with him and say look, you can do that, or you can do this,” says Robert Kinney of Alcom Marine Electronics in Costa Mesa, California ( “What I try to do is, If I’m going to sell him a single piece, I try to make it a building block on something they can add on later. I also try to make sure that they just don’t go out and buy the ‘Oh, that’s just such a cool whizbang.’ Is that really the direction that you want to go? When we redo this properly are we going to have a nice system here or are we going to end up with the same cherry-picked setup that you had before, with modern stuff?”