Category: Editors’ Blog

9

FloatHub 2020: LTE cellular, web widgets & more

For me, the boat monitoring features of FloatHub started well and have continually improved since I first reviewed the relatively inexpensive hardware/service system when it was a 2017 Kickstarter campaign. So when I stripped the chaos of redundant test electronics off Gizmo last fall with a plan to put together a more normal “pick of the litter” system, FloatHub was going to part of it. But actually I just installed a new LTE cellular model and that, along with some nifty new sharing features, prompted this update…

6

Panbo adds a land yacht to our test fleet

There’s been a lot written recently about the strength of the boat and RV markets. I’ve struggled at times to understand why, especially with the uncertainty looming around all of us. But, I also understand the escape that a recreational vessel or vehicle can bring. In fact, I understand it so well that my wife Laura and I decided to add an RV to our fleet of mobile residences — the fleet now sits at two with the RV.

1

Solar-powered dinghy bilge pumps, the Sea Joule

A solar-powered bilge pump is often a beloved accessory for a small boat that stays in the water a lot and doesn’t have its own electrical system. But when they fail, the disappointment and repair hassle can add up to more pain than the manual pumping you hoped to avoid. Which is why the exceptionally rugged-looking pump above got my attention…

10

A dry bilge for $50

Water in the bilge, even small quantities, is a recipe for bad smells and generally unpleasant results. Every boat I’ve owned accumulated water somewhere that a traditional bilge pump couldn’t entirely remove. I’ve long been aware of commercial kits designed to completely dry bilges, but the problem never got high enough on my list to spend the money. Recently I came across an article on how to build your own dry bilge system and decided to give it a try. The results are impressive and the cost low.

9

Why marine VHF, and the call you never want to make

Recreational boaters are using marine VHF radio less and less, which seems worrisome because VHF channel 16 is often the quickest and best way to ask for help. And, wow, can I offer a vivid example! Imagine the sheer terror of suddenly finding yourself without propulsion while right in front of the unrelenting wall of steel that is the bow of a commercial barge being pushed at about six knots, no brakes. I not only heard the unforgettable VHF call — and the following calls from the successful rescue boat, thank goodness — but also recorded most of them thanks to a great Icom radio feature…

3

Propspeed Foulfree transducer protection, first impressions

When Ben Stein wrote about the new Foulfree transducer “paint” last November, I wondered how much coverage came out of that little $35 tube. I can answer that question now. In the scene above, I’m about to apply Foulfree to six transducers — the two loose and four already fixed to Gizmo’s bottom — and to my amazement, I only used about a third of the tube. So if the stuff really…

3

Getting the decals off, and why

Alas, the old Maritime 20 I bought last fall is still a driveway boat, but I’d like to think that Junior will look sharp when it does launch. I extended the black trim paint to the dash — and have almost finished all new wiring and electronics (and am excited about testing that Humminbird Solix 10) — but to my eye, the good looks of the Maritime and Evenrude E-Tec designs really popped when the branding decals came off. Getting some of them off wasn’t easy, however, so I’ll share what I learned…

2

Aqua Map 10 for Android & Master 2.0 with USCG LNMs, Buoys, and routes from tracks released

Aqua Map version 10 is now available for Android while Aqua Map Master 2.0 is available for both Android and iOS with several new features. The new Android version brings the same speedy map performance released to iOS the end of last year. The new features in Master 2.0 add even more features to the already feature-packed $10 per year add-on package.

6

Dometic Optimus All-Electric Steering system installed and testing under way

About two weeks ago I wrapped up the installation of Dometic’s Optimus All Electric Steering System. I first wrote about this system the end of last year as it collected several major innovation and design awards. At the time I was intrigued by what it promised and the improvements it could bring to the installation and operation of outboard steering systems.

1

Songo River Guide Service: learn fishing & electronics from Dan

The late September day when Dan Hillier took me fishing in western Maine turned out wet and windy. So instead of exercising his deep trolling expertise on wide-open Lake Sebago, we launched from a crude dirt ramp into a hideaway pond so that I could at least enjoy another of Dan’s skills — explaining his extensive system of Humminbird electronics and integrated gear…