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Technology for the Win

The marine industry’s latest emerging tech for your vessel

September 21, 2021
A sport-fishing boat on the water.
Racing ahead to the new year, armed with the latest in technology. Austin Coit

Technology is changing more rapidly than ever before in the marine industry. Diesel-electric hybrid engines. Thumb-size ­satellite communications devices. Cool new anodized coatings. More power and more control are now standard, not optional. We examined a cross-section of the industry, from propulsion, electronics and systems to tackle and gear, for some of the most ­significant advances to hit the water in 2021—and well beyond.

Propulsion

Caterpillar C32B

Caterpillar C32B
Caterpillar C32B Caterpillar

The much-anticipated new high-performance ­offering from Caterpillar is now ­available with a roaring 2,433 metric horsepower power ­rating, plus the reliability and near-worldwide support that legions of Cat fans have come to expect from the brand. All new from the block up, it’s built on the reliable C32 platform, which also makes it a perfect option for repowers because it’s a drop-in replacement for previous versions, while delivering a 20 percent increase in power. It’s also 25 percent quieter at trolling speeds, thanks to an advanced unit injection fuel system that fires multiple injections of fuel per power stroke to keep the noise down.

“We are extremely excited to build on our recent introduction of the C32B by bringing even more power density to the industry with our best-in-class V-12 engine,” says Allen Bowman, Caterpillar marine product strategy lead for the C32. “This engine will be a difference-maker for the high-performance marine segment, both in power and performance.”

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MAN Smart Hybrid Engines

MAN Smart Hybrid
MAN Smart Hybrid MAN

The concept of a hybrid engine—combining conventional diesel propulsion with electric motors and batteries —is on the horizon for the marine industry. The modular MAN Smart Hybrid is specifically configured with this in mind. The new hybrid engine utilizes different operating modes to configure the best operating profiles, ranging from battery-electric and diesel-electric modes to crossover mode, hotel mode and boost mode. Numerous operating profiles can be set up for the most efficient configuration, whether it’s long-range cruising at low speeds or calling up more power in boost mode. The groundbreaking MAN Smart Hybrid combines all the advantages of a conventional drive system with the latest possibilities afforded by electric motors and batteries. In addition to improving efficiency and extending range, noise emissions can also be greatly reduced, or even completely eliminated. “MAN Engines offers each customer a tailored solution for their specific hybrid needs,” says Dr. Matthias Schreiber, CEO of MAN. “The Smart Hybrid experience represents the next level of mobility, building upon the familiar reliability and sustainability that MAN Engines is known for.”

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ZF Marine TotalCommand

For 2021, TotalCommand is the latest addition to ZF’s marine-propulsion-­controls family. With a 60-year ­tradition of innovation, TotalCommand is designed as a reliable and customizable solution with a series of features that fully utilizes the brand’s industry-­leading transmission technology. It also provides detailed telematics data for temperature, pressure, and output speed for a complete overview of the health of the vessel’s propulsion systems, in addition to velvety-smooth shifting and seamless transition between operating modes.

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The system is also future-proofed by being Wi-Fi ready, complete with electronic manuals, diagnostics, and maintenance data available via smartphone, with smart-transmission predictive maintenance also enabled.

Mercury Marine Verado

A boat with four outboard motors.
Mercury 600-hp Verado Austin Coit

Enhancing the legacy of the Verado series, Mercury Marine threw away the rulebook when they looked at a new high-horsepower outboard engine. The new 600 hp Verado has several industry firsts, including a unique steerable gear case, which pivots independently while the engine’s powerhead remains in a fixed position on the ­transom. This provides more room for multiengine configurations and a wider steering angle for agile handling.

A whopping 7.6 liters of ­displacement and a ­naturally aspirated quad-cam V-12 design add to the allure, especially for the latest breed of big, heavy center-consoles. The innovative cowl design isolates vibration and noise, making it the quietest high-performance outboard on the market. A slew of additional features is also available, such as next-generation digital throttle and shifting, joystick piloting, VesselView digital displays, and Skyhook digital anchoring. A three-year ­warranty is standard as well.

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Systems

Smartgyro Gyrostabilizers

Smartgyro SG80
Smartgyro SG80 Smartgyro

Gyroscopic-stabilization specialist Smartgyro has a new collection of technologically advanced gyros directed at the worldwide sport-fishing market. Among many benefits, they can be maintained and serviced without the need to remove them from the vessel, thanks to a unique modular design consisting of a seven-part sphere. They can even be assembled on board, which opens up new design opportunities for builders and increases the potential for a gyrostabilizer in boats with small access spaces. The gyro’s operation is monitored on the boat’s multifunction display via NMEA 2000 protocol or through a 5-inch touchscreen, which comes standard with the gyro.

The interior of the ball is cooled with glycol and seawater, including the motor and bearing pack: The closed inner circuit is filled with glycol, while the outer circuit provides seawater circulation in the heat exchanger using a small, high-efficiency brushless pump. Hybrid ceramic ball bearings minimize friction during flywheel rotation, which occurs in a sealed vacuum to minimize air drag, increase performance, and reduce heat and power consumption. A built-in ­pressure pump ­automatically restores the vacuum after detecting a leak or after performing maintenance on the sphere. Smartgyro’s current models—the SG40, for boats from 50 to 60 feet, and the SG80, for boats from 60 to 70 feet—will be introduced at the 2021 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

Parker Hannifin Water Filtration

Parker Hannifin H20 Eco
Parker Hannifin H20 Eco Parker

New from the water-purification division of Parker Hannifin, a global leader in motion and control technologies, is the H20 Eco watermaker. This is an extremely quiet, compact unit that’s a great option for anyone seeking a low-power-consumption watermaker. The compact design enables builders and current boat owners to now fit a watermaker into tight spaces, making the H2O Eco a good choice for small to ­midsize vessels. The H20 Eco is available in 400- to 600- gallon-per-day capacities.

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“The new H2O Eco uses patent-pending energy-recovery technology that can provide up to 14.2 percent potable-water ­production from any feed source,” says Paul Kamel, product manager of Parker’s water-purification division. “We are excited to add this new, highly reliable technology to our family of watermakers.”

Spot Zero Watermaker and Purifier System

Fresh water is a must-have on board. Combining the elements of the SeaXchange watermaker and Spot Zero freshwater purification system, Spot Zero redefines onboard water by transforming seawater and dock-water sources into high-purity, spot-free water. With a new look and technologies such as TDS creep and pump-cycling elimination, the XZII is the industry’s most compact, powerful, and efficient double-pass system. This is a fully automated purification system that can help keep your vessel looking better with less effort, while providing the purest water virtually anywhere in the world.

Antifouling Products

ElectroSea Antifouling System

ElectroSea Antifouling System
ElectroSea Antifouling System ElectroSea

Keeping your vessel’s ­raw-water lines flowing at optimal pressures is critically important for a variety of onboard systems. One option is ElectroSea, which has announced the introduction of a new flow sensor for its ClearLine antifouling systems. ClearVis measures the velocity of seawater ­flowing through the system using speed-of-sound technology. By comparison, traditional mechanical flow meters utilize rotors that are subject to wear as well as interference from debris that makes its way past the sea strainer. The ClearVis sensor eliminates these issues—one less thing for a busy captain or owner to worry about.

Interlux Micron Navigator

Sustainability and a reduction in the environmental impact of antifouling products is the name of the game with Interlux’s newest product, Micron Navigator. It was specifically developed to meet the challenges of high-performance sport-fishing vessels by utilizing all the benefits of the brand’s well-known Micron technology but in a water-based formulation that is better for the environment. It’s a multiseason product that’s suitable for use on fiberglass, aluminum, steel, and underwater metals such as running gear and drives, eliminating the need for two separate ­antifoulings. Its polishing technology ­creates a smoother ­surface over time, resulting in improved efficiency and a ­reduction in paint buildup. Matt Anzardo, global yacht segment manager, says: “Our aim is to develop antifoulings that offer the ultimate levels of performance alongside the highest standards of sustainability and color customization. And with Micron Navigator, we’re confident that we’ve achieved both of these ambitions by producing our most sustainable and environmentally conscious antifouling to date.”

Petit Odyssey Triton

A boat on the water.
New paints from Interlux and Pettit keep things clean below the waterline. Austin Coit

New in the lineup from Petit is the Odyssey Triton antifouling paint, which delivers impressive tri-biocide performance by combining the proven reliability of copper thiocyanate, the strength of Econea, and the versatility of organic boosting biocide zinc madine. This combination makes Odyssey Triton ­effective over multiple ­seasons against all types of fouling found in the harshest of marine environments. It’s also covered by the enhanced hull-defense 24-month ­limited warranty.

Electronics

SiriusXM Marine Fish Mapping

SiriusXM Marine Fish
SiriusXM Marine Fish SiriusXM

The big news this season from SiriusXM Marine is that its Fish Mapping service is now available on Simrad, Lowrance and Furuno products. Fish Mapping provides ­regularly updated, science-­based fishing data directly to compatible Simrad Evo3 displays using the WM-4 SiriusXM satellite weather receiver and running Simrad’s new ­version 20.2 software. The WM-4 receiver also provides Lowrance Elite FS, HDS Live and HDS Carbon displays with the Fish Mapping service. On the Furuno side, Fish Mapping runs on the NavNet TZtouch3 line of multifunction displays using the BBWX-4 SiriusXM ­satellite weather receiver and ­running Furuno’s new ­version 2.01 software.

SiriusXM Marine Fish Mapping provides a host of features that are beneficial in the hunt for pelagic species, including locations of weed lines, sea-surface height anomalies representing upwellings and convergence zones, sea-surface water temperatures, temperature contour lines and temperature fronts, plankton concentrations and fronts, and even fishing recommendations for specific areas.

Garmin Fusion Stereo

Fusion MS-RA60
Fusion MS-RA60 Fusion

Marine audio is definitely one area of constant change, with new products emerging each season aimed squarely at the maritime audiophile. Garmin International has introduced the MS-RA60 marine stereo from Fusion Entertainment, a Garmin brand, which features an antifogging display and a compact design in an affordable package. Notable features include wireless connectivity for Bluetooth streaming via the Fusion-Link app, ­multizone control, wireless control via ANT-compatible smartwatches or the ARX70 remote, and weather resistance, with IPX6 and IPX7 water-ingress protection.

“We are thrilled to introduce this fresh take on the existing Fusion MS-RA55 and RA50 marine stereos,” says Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of global consumer sales. “With the new MS-RA60 on board, boaters can enjoy the look and feel of a premium marine stereo without breaking the bank. The conveniently small form factor and ability to reproduce powerful, high-quality audio make the MS-RA60 a perfect fit for nearly any boat.”

Kicker Marine Amplifiers

Kicker KMA600.6
Kicker KMA600.6 Kicker

There’s no question that the marine environment is harsh, especially on electronics. To withstand that kind of punishment, Kicker Marine Audio has introduced a new line of amplifiers featuring marine-grade speaker terminals, 316L stainless-steel hardware, gasket-sealed input connectors, and ABYC/NMMA-compliant power connections. Kicker also seals its circuit boards with a conformal coating, adding years to a sound system’s life.

The KMA800.1 mono model has 800 watts of peak power and is geared to one subwoofer channel. The level of the amp can be controlled with a wired remote bass-level controller and has a fixed, 25 Hz subsonic filter that actively filters out damaging ultralow frequencies. The KMA600.6 is for more than one channel or for sending sound out to ­different areas of the vessel. This amp powers up to three ­independent zones and up to 12 speakers ­simultaneously, with up to 750 watts of dynamic power.

ACR Electronics Bivy Stick

ACR Bivy Stick
ACR Bivy Stick ACR

The safety and survival specialists at ACR Electronics have introduced the world’s smallest and simplest satellite-communication device: the ACR Bivy Stick. This is a two-way satellite messenger and app with a host of great features. It’s an innovative and affordable option for sending SMS messages, accessing GPS information, viewing live weather forecasts, and initiating distress calls in emergencies. It’s a subscriber-based service that works with the user’s smartphone, giving them an efficient way to communicate while out of range of other methods. Working anywhere with a view of the sky and with 100 percent global satellite coverage, the 4.5-by-1.8-inch Bivy Stick features a high-power antenna for reliable connectivity and frequent use, with two-way-text satellite communication that enables users to send text messages to phone numbers or email addresses, as well as to share and track their location anywhere in the world. The Bivy Stick also offers a more flexible pricing structure than similar products, ­allowing users to pay for only the months they use the device, with no annual contract or activation fee required.

Icom M510 VHF

Icom M510 VH
Icom M510 VH Icom

With many electronics moving toward wireless capabilities, Icom has joined the fray with the new M510, a Class-D DSC VHF marine transceiver with wireless capabilities. With the accompanying RS-M500 app, you can use your smartphone as a receiver and control the M510 through its built-in WLAN transmitter. Up to three smart devices can be programmed into the onboard system. The 3.5-inch color LCD screen provides a wide viewing angle and ­high-resolution ­characters and icons for excellent readability, even in low light with night mode. Front and back connection ports allow an additional wired station using a CommandMic. The AIS version has the ability to see surrounding vessels in real time and make direct, individual DSC calls to selected targets.

Accessories

Pelican Air Case

Pelican Air Case
Pelican Air Case Pelican

For anyone who’s ever traveled with reels, cameras or any other kind of expensive gear, it’s hard to understate the necessity of a quality hard case. In my opinion—and after years of use and abuse over hundreds of thousands of miles on land, sea and air—Pelican stands up to the challenge. The company has introduced the new Air 1646, the largest in its Air case lineup. It has more than 6,800 cubic inches of usable space in a configuration that’s longer and deeper than previous versions. It’s also about 40 percent lighter than the standard Pelican Protector case, while still offering critical design features such as a watertight O-ring gasket, crush-proof exterior, stainless-steel hasp protectors, overmolded handles, and tough ­push-button latches. Pelican’s Pick N Pluck foam configuration has pre-scored foam for fast and simple customized protection for almost any equipment, and the case is also backed by a lifetime guarantee.

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Tackle

Shimano Terez BW Rods

With guidance from a cadre of tournament-winning captains, Shimano engineered its flagship Terez BW rods to rival those of custom builders, with models designed specifically for high-speed trolling, slow-trolling, live-bait fishing, swordfishing, bottomfishing and deep-dropping. The blanks utilize premium rod ­technologies, including Hi-Power X, Spiral X and UD Glass blank construction, to create best-in-class durability and feel while increasing the structural rigidity of the rods so that they remain true under load. This enables the angler to efficiently transfer power through the blank for improved performance. The new series also features ­premium components from Fuji, AFTCO and Winthrop, among others.

Alutecnos Gorilla 30W

Alutecnos Gorilla 30W
Alutecnos Gorilla 30W Alutecnos

Every once in a while, ­something comes along that’s truly eye-catching—which is definitely the case with the Gorilla Smoked Black two-speed 30W reel from Alutecnos. That striking ­finish is inspired by a ­special seven-stage carbon-black anodizing process that produces a unique opaque color that also reflects light, similar in appearance to black velvet. With a production run of just 100 individually numbered reels, a certificate of authenticity will accompany each one. It’s a unique combination of tradition and innovation from the ­well-known Italian brand.

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