All the Angles

Want to see what's under the surface? Recent developments in sonar put real-time images right on your helm display.

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Digital Difference Interphase Technologies has rolled out Ultrascan PC90 ($4,999), a forward-scanning sonar that instantly updates images of the water column and sea floor ahead of the vessel. The PC90 works with onboard PC systems via an Ethernet connection, using a single ping and processing the soundwaves returning from multiple directions simultaneously. Interphase says the unit does eight 90-degree sweeps each second, giving real-time updates of bottom structure and obstacles, and even schools of bait fish (shown). The company hopes to release plug-and-play versions to work with systems from Furuno, Raymarine, Garmin, and others. Interphase Technologies, (831) 477-4944; www.interphase-tech.com

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The Shadow ShowsThe Lowrance Structure-Scan LSS-1 ($699) creates photo-like images of bottom structure in a swath more than 900 feet wide, even at cruising speed. Combining right- and left-side scans with the company's new DownScan view, the image depicts structure and even fish, all with sonar "shadows" that give scale and texture to the image, and make it easier to understand. The image from the LSS-1 works in conjunction with the Navico HDS operating system to allow the user to place a cursor on a target on the screen and get depth and distance information. The operating system can also show the image in split-screen with the fishfinder and navigation data (shown). The black-box unit comes with a low-profile, dual-frequency transducer. Lowrance, (800) 324-1356; www.lowrance.com

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Depth of Field EchoPilot says its 3-Dimensional Forward-Looking Sonar ($10,000) uses twin retractable transducers to create a complete picture of what's ahead. With a range of up to 200 meters, the sonar gives a view of the bottom, color-coded with a depth scale, according to manufacturer imagery (shown), and updates the screen every one to two seconds depending on range settings. The black-box unit plugs into a multifunction display via video input. EchoPilot; www.echopilot.com; U.S. distributor: Ocean Equipment, (949) 588-1470; www.oceanequipment.com