The Marine Electronics Guide

Stay up-to-date on the latest from brands like Garmin, Raymarine and Furuno.
Garmin’s GPSMAP 7400 and GPSMAP 7600


Garmin’s GPSMAP 7400 and GPSMAP 7600 ($1,499 to $3,499) — as well as the sonar-enabled GPSMAP 7400xsv and GPSMAP 7600xsv ($1,699 to $3,999) — MFDs are pushing the touch-screen trend. These units come in 7-, 8-, 10- and 12-inch models, offer digital switching, Wi-Fi, a built-in 10 Hz GPS, weather and radar, while the xsv series has sonar capabilities. All of the MFDs offer customizable home screens. GPSMAP 7400 models feature Garmin’s worldwide basemap chart package, while the GPSMAP 7600 series includes BlueChart g2 coastal and LakeVü HD inland cartography. Garmin, 913-397-8200;
Seapilot’s Vector compass
PRECISION HEADING Seapilot’s Vector compass is purportedly the world’s smallest GPS compass, clocking in at a svelte 15 ounces and occupying roughly half the volume of other GPS compasses. Its list price ($999) is also roughly half the heft of its competition’s, an af ordable upgrade for yachts up to 40 feet length overall. The Vector compass has a refresh rate of 10 times per second, yielding a heading accuracy within two degrees and GPS position information that’s accurate to about 1 foot, while also playing nicely with any brand of onboard instrumentation. True Heading, 604-992-7335;
Bad Elf GPS Pro+
NAVIGATOR’S HELPER Navigational redundancy is key, but even better is a tool that also offers flexibility and a (relatively) lightweight price tag. If you have an iPhone or iPad, check out the Bad Elf GPS Pro+ ($299). This tidy GPS receiver is roughly the size of a key fob, and it can be paired with an Apple OS X device via Bluetooth to deliver pinpoint navigational accuracy. The GPS Pro+ features the same functionality as its predecessors, plus a high-performance, 66-channel GPS and GLONASS receiver that’s accurate to 9 feet. Bad Elf LLC, 820-233-1526;
Simrad’s Advanced HD radars
ELECTRONIC BIG EYES If you’re in the market for a state-of-the-art, high-definition, open-array radar system, Simrad’s Advanced HD radars are worth consideration. Advanced HD radars are available in three sizes: a 4-foot array ($6,199), a 6-foot unit ($6,799) and a powerful 7-foot model ($11,361), all designed to withstand 100-knot winds with commercial-grade parts, performance and durability. These radars offer a range of 64 to 96 nautical miles (beam resolution varies from 1.0 to 1.8 degrees), model depending, and all three models are designed to track up to 10 MARPA targets simultaneously. With a compatible chart plotter or MFD, Advanced HD radars offer radar overlay onto electronic charts, and — for Android/OS X tablet users who have a networked GoFree wireless module — the radars can be controlled wirelessly. Simrad, 800-628-4487;
Team Italia’s I-Chart table
SCREEN ENVY Team Italia’s I-Chart table (call for pricing) trickled down from the superyacht-sized I-Bridge system. The table is available in different sizes and custom trims, and its big screen can be integrated with a vessel’s helm. Or, it can serve as a standalone chart table. It has two independent modules, meaning it can run navigational software while streaming online content, and the unit’s impressive “screen acreage” is large enough to concurrently display both fun and functionality. Team Italia, +39 0721855234;
Intellian’s newest satellite-communications antenna the GX60
GLOBALLY CONNECTED Staying connected is almost a prerequisite for extended cruising, and Intellian’s newest satellite-communications antenna, the GX60, is designed to keep you online without taking up too much space. The GX60 (call for pricing) pairs a 65-centimeter antenna with Intellian’s GX Below Deck Unit, which combines the unit’s modem with its antenna-control unit for an easier installation, and includes Wi-Fi to allow for wireless connectivity with other onboard devices. The GX60 provides Ka-band VSAT service, and its gyro-free satellite search function allows the system to find — and lock on to — a satellite sans input from the vessel’s gyrocompass. Intellian, 888-201-9223;
NETWORK-FRIENDLY MFD Raymarine’s a9 and a12 MFDs complete the company’s aSeries lineup with some hardware upgrades — including a built-in 10-Hz Fast Acquisition GPS that supports GLONASS, WAAS, EGNOS and MSAS. These MFDs run Raymarine’s latest LightHouse II OS and are network-compatible with all existing Raymarine aSeries, cSeries, eSeries and gS MFDs. The a9 (from $1,899) and a12 (from $2,799) MFDs feature touchscreen interfaces with pinch-to-zoom functionality and can display radar, instrumentation, IP cameras, engine data, fuel levels and custom split-screen views. Additionally, the a9 and a12 are compatible with Raynet Ethernet, SeaTalk NG, NMEA2000, NMEA1083, Analogue Video In and Bluetooth, and they feature built-in Wi-Fi. Raymarine, 603-324-7900;
Raymarine’s a9 and a12 MFDs
ONBOARD IMAGERY Time afloat is precious, but it inevitably slips astern. Thankfully, high-definition video can help make your next boating fix feel close at hand, say, on a Wednesday morning. JVC’s line of Everio marine-specific camcorders ($399 to $499) lets boaters shoot high-quality video in almost any weather. Everio camcorders feature a Konica Minolta HD lens, a 40x optical zoom (plus a 60x Dynamic Zoom), a 2.5 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS image sensor, a battery that delivers 4.5 hours on a single charge and compatibility with third-party video-editing software such as Final Cut Pro X and iMovie. Everio camcorders boast waterproof protection to IPX8 standards too. JVC, 800-252-5722;
Inmarsat’s IsatHub service
AT-SEA CONNECTIVITY Satellite phones provide indispensable at-sea communication, but dedicated units can be expensive and require a subscription plan or prepaid SIM cards. Inmarsat’s IsatHub service (visit website for pricing) allows you to connect your Apple or Android smartphone/tablet to Inmarsat’s global 3G network irrespective of your proximity to a cell tower (excluding polar regions), provided that your wireless device is paired with a Wideye iSavi terminal from AddValue (included). Users can enjoy a dedicated, high-quality voice communications line, Internet access and the ability to send and receive texts. Inmarsat, +44(0) 20 7728 1020;
Furuno’s DRS4W 1st Watch wireless radar
WI-FI RADAR Radar adds a great safety factor, and if you’re interested in a radar with simple installation, Furuno’s DRS4W 1st Watch wireless radar (pricing yet to be released) could be an ideal solution. The 19-inch, 4 kW DRS4W is the world’s first Wi-Fi-enabled radar dome, meaning it wirelessly broadcasts its imagery to app-based smartphones and tablets (both Android- and iOS-friendly). The DRS4W is entirely app-controlled and allows you to zoom, switch between day and night mode, and locate targets up to 24 nautical miles away via your touchscreen device. Furuno, 360-834-9300;
Simrad’s BSM-3 broadband sounder module
UNDERWATER EYES Finding fish the old-fashioned way can be frustrating, especially if you have limited time. Simrad’s BSM-3 broadband sounder module ($1,999) is designed to increase your knowledge of where the fish are lurking. The dual-channel broadband BSM-3 uses compressed high-intensity radar pulse — or CHIRP — technology to provide high-definition imagery down to 10,000 feet. This unit is designed to play nicely with all Simrad NS Series MFDs as well as with a range of Airmar transducers. Simrad, 800-628-4487;
Cruising Solutions’ “My Team Talks” Bluetooth Headsets
CLEAR COMMS The wind is great at garbling communications, but Cruising Solutions’ “My Team Talks” Bluetooth Headsets ($179.95, per pair) can alleviate this issue thanks to its multiplex technology allowing up to four-person conference calls. Wireless and water-resistant earphones feature rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries providing up to 10 hours of talk time and the headphones feature noise-canceling receivers and offer a line-of-sight working range of more than 2,950 feet, however transmitting through bulkheads and metal surfaces and structure will reduce the effective range. Cruising Solutions, 800-460-7451;
Furuno’s NavPilot 711C
SMART STEERING Autopilots make cruising more efficient and pleasurable. Furuno’s NavPilot 711C ($3,695) offers a menu of advanced features including user-selectable “Economy” and “Precision” navigation modes; “safe helm” and “power assist” steering; FishHunter mode, and dedicated day and night graphics. It also offers a cross-track-error accuracy of less than 18 feet. Best yet, the unit features a smart and self-adaptive algorithm, enabling it to “learn” your vessel’s steering characteristics. Furuno, 360-834-9300;
Garmin’s GT30-TH, Transducer
AQUATIC EYES CHIRP-enabled sonar paints a clear picture of everything swimming below your yacht’s keel, provided that the transducers are up to the task. Garmin’s GT30-TH ($699.99) and GT30-THP ($1,249.99) transducers were specifically designed to work with Garmin’s GCV 10 Scanning Sonar Module to provide high-definition underwater imagery. The GT30-TH works with hull deadrises less than 5 degrees, while the GT30-THP is designed for deadrises ranging from five to 25 degrees. They provide an operating depth of 750 feet with 500 feet of side-scanning ability and are bundled with temperature sensors. Garmin, 913-397-8200;
HANDHELD HERO Sketchy navigational situations often require a feature-rich, integrated VHF/GPS/DSC handheld. Standard Horizon’s HX870 fills that niche with an embedded 66-channel WAAS GPS receiver, a built-in Class D DSC radio that constantly scans Channel 70 for incoming DSC calls, six watts of transmit power and group monitoring (GM), which displays the positions of up to nine pre selected nearby vessels. The HX870 ($249) stores up to 200 waypoints and 20 routes, and its compass page provides information such as COG, SOG, bearing and distance to a waypoint. The HX870 sports Standard Horizon’s “easy to operate icon/menu system” with an intuitive graphical user interface, an oversize, full dot-matrix display and a 1,800 mAh lithium-ion battery. The VHF also has a built-in MOB button, an IPX8 waterproof rating and the ability to activate its strobe light automatically, should it hit the drink. Standard Horizon, 714-827-7600;