New Electronics: Reaction Time

Electronics provide information faster and protect boats and owners better than ever.

Watch It
Using the same GPS and satellite communications as its satellite messenger system, spot has devised a “hybrid universal guardian” ($450, activated with a $150 annual subscription). HUG, as it’s known, sets up a 1,500-foot “geo-fence” around your boat. If the boat crosses this line, HUG notifies you — and the spot call center — by e-mail or text message, then continues to relay the vessel’s position. Up to four sensor cables can be connected to the HUG base-station gateway; typically two of those would connect to a bilge alarm and battery monitor. An owner in Baltimore, for example, would be alerted in case of high water or low voltage on his boat in the Sea of Cortez.The HUG system performs all the same functions as the sPot Messenger. Spot, 866-651-7768;

Sounds Good**
Simrad says that its black-box broadband BSM-2 sounding module ($2,495) works with the latest transducers from Airmar, which incorporate what engineers call “frequency sweeping pulse compression” technology, also known as CHIRP for compressed high-intensity radar pulse. The sounder and transducer continually change frequencies within a single pulse to produce images of what lies beneath the keel in higher resolution, to lower depths with less noise. Simrad, 800-628-4487;; Airmar, 603-673-9570;

Direct Download
Standard Horizon’s Wi-Fi-enabled multifunction displays, the touchscreen CPN 700i ($1,500) and CPN 1010i ($2,300), bring a growing number of web-based features for navigation and weather forecasting, as well as popular streaming music and video. For example, the plotters can overlay XM WX satellite weather with hyperlocal Baron weather service forecast graphics when Wi-Fi is available, as well as receive XM’s satellite weather with an optional separate receiver when out of range. Web browsing and e-mail are also supported, with an optional Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. Standard Horizon, 714-827- 7600;


Smoke Screen
The Gost cloak (starting at $4,000) from Global ocean security technologies (formerly Paradox Marine) is a security system designed to reduce visibility in an enclosed space to befuddle intruders. Triggering the alarm releases a dense cloud of noncorrosive smoke throughout the boat, reducing visibility to less than a foot and deterring would-be criminals. The smoke is made of glycol solution, a component of deodorants and toothpaste, and does no harm to the vessel. GOST, 954-565-9898;

View Finder
Maxsea TimeZero explorer, which integrates with Furuno NavNet 3D systems, can now also work closely with a FLIR night-vision thermal imager. MaxSea lets a user manually control the camera or have it automatically pan and tilt to specific targets clicked on the chart, and even lock onto moving AIS and MARPA targets. The camera’s viewing angle is also shown on the chart. The full result: less confusion about what the camera is doing and safer navigation in challenging conditions. Furuno, 360-834-9300;; FLIR, 877-773-3547;

Ranging Far and Near
Garmin has added two new open-array scanners to its stable of high-definition radars, promising a 72-nautical-mile range, advanced signal processing and presentation of returns. The GMR 404 xHD ($3,700) and GMR 406 xHD ($4,500) measure four and six feet wide respectively, both transmitting at four kilowatts. For optimal situational awareness, the GMRs incorporate a dual-range feature that allows compatible MFDs to display two ranges simultaneously, so a helmsman can see both close and distant targets at once. With an optional heading sensor, these new units also support MARPA (mini automatic radar plotting aid), which tracks the course, speed and predicted closest approach of multiple targets for collision avoidance. Garmin, 800-800-1020;