Category: The future

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Return Link Service, a major PLB & EPIRB improvement

Many of us carry an EPIRB or PLB satellite distress beacon for worst-case emergencies at sea, and while they’ve earned an excellent success record, they also have a nerve-racking drawback. The rare boater who actually activates one will not know if the distress message was received until the search and rescue heroes actually show up. Or don’t show up! But that intensely tense uncertainty is about to change thanks to a newly revealed technology called the Return Link Service (RLS)…

NOAA will stop updating charts that look like this, paper and electronic, by 2025 or sooner 13

NOAA will sunset traditional nautical charts, sad but inevitable

Things are just things, right, and they don’t really die. But during a recent conference call with NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey, a genuine feeling of grief bubbled up within me. And since I can’t keep my mouth shut, I learned that some of our “Nation’s Nautical Chartmakers” are also feeling the pain. The demise of the traditional chart is going to be sad for many of us, no doubt about it. But please don’t jump to dire conclusions until you know all that NOAA plans…

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Bliss: 100hp diesel powers trawler, Seakeeper, and huge battery bank

The goal of the makeover certainly sounded like cruising bliss, but could a 100hp Yanmar diesel really propel a 39-foot trawler while also producing gobs of 12 volt DC to feed both SeaKeeper gyrostabilization and a huge battery bank? I’m pleased to report that the dual MGDC 250 amp alternator setup seen above on the actual trawler Bliss has proven my skepticism unwarranted, and an already beloved cruiser became a “new boat” in the process.

Siren Marine, Boat Command, Nautic-On and BoatFix's apps 1

Monitored boats, connected boats and smart boats, what does it all mean?

If you’ve been reading Panbo, boating magazines, or spent any time at a boat show you’ve likely seen boat monitors, connected boat products and smart boat products. But, you may well not know what these things are or how they’re different from each other. Hopefully, I can help shed some clarity on this latest collection of buzzwords.

3

Flir thermal cameras get Raymarine ClearCruise Augmented Reality

Raymarine’s ClearCruise AR (augmented reality) is very cool technology and it’s getting even cooler with support for pan and tilt thermal cameras. Clear Cruise AR overlays information about chart objects, AIS targets, and waypoints over a camera image displayed on Raymarine MFDs. Though the first version — unveiled at IBEX in the fall of 2018 — only supported fixed visible light cameras, I’ve thought its greatest value would come when overlayed on thermal images.

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Electronic visual distress signals: Sirius Signal (Weems & Plath) versus Orion, plus a new option

In 2015 I enjoyed testing, and then enthusing about, the first electronic distress signal that could effectively and legally replace the flares required on most of our boats by the US Coast Guard. Now there’s competition from the pyrotechnic flare company that originally denigrated the electronic “flare” and also an interesting expansion of the USCG standard in the works…

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VIKING’s remarkable 800+ person LifeCraft system, Torqeedo powered

Viking Life-Saving Equipment has designed an almost frightening number of innovations into its LifeCraft system, so it’s good to see that it apparently tested fine in North Sea waves ranging from 12 to 15 feet with 33-foot peaks. The system may soon make big cruise ships safer, and perhaps some of the technology will work its way down to recreational vessels…

The Simrad ID display from the Sea Ray SLX 350-R 17

Information display and Ship Control, hands on with next generation boat management interfaces

Controlling the multitude of systems on modern boats can be complex and many modern boaters expect the same level of automation and convenience they find in their cars.   It’s clear the industry has realized this and is working hard to develop systems that make controlling your boat simpler and more intuitive.  I had the opportunity to try out two such systems at the Miami International Boat Show…