As we dive headlong into 2022, there are a slew of new products to make our boating and fishing easier, safer, and more productive.
Garmin Surround View
No matter how good a captain you are, this system will make you better. Six low-profile, polished-stainless-steel, 1080p wide-angle cameras are arranged around the boat to give a bird’s-eye view of nearly every linear inch of its perimeter in real time. The perspective is unique, like watching yourself from above. The Surround View system stitches together live video from a pair of cameras on the starboard beam and a pair on the port beam with the ones at the bow and stern. A tap of any individual cam in the display menu bar will make it appear full screen for a closer look. You can predesignate fender boundaries to warn of possible collisions with docks or other objects. Distance markers can be set to desired margins so you always have your perspective on surroundings. You might not think you need it, but if you try it, you’ll want it. The system works on select Garmin GPSMap displays and Volvo Penta Glass Cockpits. At this time, it’s a dealer-installed option only.
Ideally, your battlewagon would never go unattended. With Siren 3 Pro, it will always be virtually manned. The system communicates directly—and immediately—with you and as many recipients as you name via cellular service or a Globalstar satellite module, sold separately. As your boat leaves cellular range, the satellite module kicks in. When it returns, the system automatically reconnects to the cellular signal and deactivates the satellite. Should the location of your boat move outside your selected geofence, if anyone tampers with an entry point, or if motion is detected on board, a text and email are sent. The shore-power sensor will let you know if someone unplugs the power, while battery sensors will keep you apprised of voltage. Bilge-water levels are watched like a hawk, and pump-cycle counters will let you know if your system is handling a leak. Once you have connected the system to the same N2K network the engines are on, Siren will record all engine metrics to simplify maintenance and troubleshooting. Relays can turn off and on lights, batteries and more. The whole system is app-based, and the wireless sensors can be activated via the app. Installation is easy for the Siren Pro with minimal tools and time.
Raymarine Cyclone Radar
Today’s large sport-fishers are pushing 50 knots, and some center-consoles are hitting 70 mph, so it’s no wonder Raymarine found a market for its 100-knot wind-rated Cyclone radar. These solid-state, chirp-pulse compression arrays come in 3-, 4-, and 6-foot models with 55- or 110-watt outputs. They are packed with useful tech such as a 60 rpm speed for ultimate detail. Known for their accurate bird-mode setting, these digital radars put plenty of energy on the target for a clear picture. Another cool feature is Range Fusion, which gives long-range capability without disrupting closer targets that impact navigation. For example, skippers can set the radar to bird mode and track birds at long range while maintaining view of closer targets important to safe navigation. It can track 100 targets with crisp detail even at high speeds. Cyclone radar works well with select Raymarine displays.
Icom M510 VHF
This Class-D VHF radio puts out 25 watts of power and is available with or without automatic identification system. The 3-inch full-color screen can be set to night mode with a red screen. The screen gives AIS information—if you choose that model—tracking other AIS-transponding vessels. While the face of the VHF gives plenty of real estate for the big screen and tactile controls, it extends only 2 inches behind the dash panel. It features Icom’s renowned AquaQuake function to clear water from the speaker, as well as active noise canceling for clear sound over motor and sea background noise. The supplied mic is a fully functioning controller with microphone and speaker, but adding the optional HM-195GB Command Mic provides a second station when combined with an extension cable. There’s a second mic port on the back of the unit. Icom’s exclusive free RS-M500 app lets smartphones connect and function as a remote mic, with full touchscreen capabilities, including data entry and direct hailing via digital selective calling numbers. For NMEA connectivity, add the N2K Interface and hailer/PA function.
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This free app from Simrad works like a handheld chart plotter. The details are extremely sharp, contours precise, and it includes auto-routing, which allows you to select a starting point and a destination, and then let the app set the preferred route. A trip from Fort Myers, Florida, up to the Vinoy Renaissance in Saint Petersburg took me inside the Intracoastal Waterway for a majority of the way. To run outside in the Gulf, I simply selected manual planning, and then tapped and set my preferred waypoints. To adjust, long-touch and then drag them one by one. Routes, waypoints and even current location can be shared at an individual’s discretion. Tides and weather forecasts are included, and current weather conditions—such as rain, wind, gusts, air temperature and pressure—are overlaid on the chart. AIS traffic can also be overlaid. For a $15 upcharge, depth shading, AIS traffic and actual navigation are available in the “premium mode.” It works on iOS and Android devices.
This article originally appeared in the February 2022 print issue of Marlin.