As we all know, the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show--FLIBS--was a much smaller version of its usual self due to the continuing pandemic. Most manufacturers I talked to that exhibited at the late October show reported seeing fewer buyers but said those who attended were serious and appreciated the opportunity to get a hands-on look at new electronics. Some of the manufacturers that didn’t attend in person offered virtual online presentations of their products. Whether equipment makers were at FLIBS or not, they pumped out lots of press releases and webinars to spread the word about their latest lineups. Below are several of those products. We’ll tell you about others in the weeks to come.
Garmin launches GPSMAP X3 chartplotters with more power, higher-res displays
Garmin showed off its new GPSMAP 7x3, GPSMAP 9x3 and GPSMAP 12x3 series of mid-sized chartplotters and combination units that offer a streamlined design, improved display optics and a feature set that seamlessly integrates into a Garmin marine system. They are available with and without built-in sonar.
Designed for a wide range of dash configurations, the GPSMAP x3 series features slimline borders with edge-to-edge glass displays. The maximized glass design can be bail-, flush- or flat-mounted and offers a reduced footprint. For superior clarity and sunlight readability, the GPSMAP 12x3 and 9x3 models offer high-resolution in-plane switching (IPS) touchscreens that provide consistent, accurate colors that can be seen from all viewing angles, even with polarized sunglasses. Additionally, the GPSMAP 9x3 and 7x3 models offer 50% and 60% more display pixels, respectively, compared to previous models. For existing Garmin customers who want to upgrade to the new GPSMAP x3 series, a retrofit kit is available for easy installation.
Offering nearly double the processing power of the previous generation, the premium power found in the GPSMAP x3 series significantly benefits all onboard sensors like sonar, radar, cameras, video and digital switching, and enhances the user experience across the entire network. Fast and responsive, these systems reference 10Hz GNSS (GPS, GLONASS and Galileo) for accurate positioning and smooth speed as well as course over ground (COG) data. The increase in processing power also delivers Garmin’s fastest mapping capabilities, so there’s hardly ever a delay, even at high speeds.
The sonar combo versions (xsv series) offer built-in support for 1kW traditional CHIRP sonar so anglers can see superior target separation up to 1,000 feet below the boat. These new combos also have built-in support for ultra high-definition SideVü and ClearVü scanning sonars featuring Garmin’s new high-contrast vivid color palettes, making it easier for anglers to distinguish fish from structure. The xsv models support the full Garmin Panoptix all-seeing sonar product line, including the Panoptix LiveScope real-time live scanning sonar.
Navigate with confidence thanks to Garmin’s preloaded exclusive BlueChart g3 coastal charts and LakeVü g3 inland maps with integrated Navionics data and Auto Guidance technology.
Like all other GPSMAP units, the GPSMAP x3 series is fully network capable with NMEA 2000® and the Garmin Marine Network, making it easy to build a customized electronics suite, including sonar, radar, autopilots, instruments, cameras and more.
Featuring J1939 engine connectivity for engine integration, including select Yamaha engines, they’re also compatible with OneHelm, an exclusive feature that brings together all the operations and capabilities of third-party devices like EmpirBus digital switching on one screen.
Built-in Wi-Fi let’s you take advantage of the free all-in-one Garmin ActiveCaptain mobile app for access to the OneChart feature, Quickdraw and ActiveCaptain Community data and more.
The sonar versions (xsv series) have suggested retail prices ranging from $1100 to $2900, while the non-sonar versions have suggested retail prices of $1000 to $2700.
GOST’s new tracking interface ramps up security system functionality
GOST announced the launch of its next-generation vessel tracking interface, the GOST Specter. The intuitive website works on mobile and desktop browsers on any device. The secure Specter interface is streamlined and user-friendly and allows geo-fence control and alerts, remote arm/disarm functionality, as well as real-time GPS tracking of a vessel anywhere in the world.
Designed to take full advantage of Inmarsat’s new constellation of satellites, the new interface offers users almost real-time satellite control. Specter retains a 90-day tracking history and text/email alerts. It is also capable of monitoring multiple vessels for fleet management. Created specifically for private tracking and alerting of events, the GOST IDP Series vessel tracking and monitoring devices also allows family and friends to provide support if a boat is in peril or notify maritime authorities if there is a deviation from the float plan.
"The latest generation of Inmarsat satellite technology provides vastly improved communication speeds,” said Jay Keenan, president/CEO, GOST. "Our new IDP antennas are designed to take full advantage of this powerful functionality.”
Specter allows boat owners to link to vessel data from a corresponding Nav-Tracker IDP device. Once users log in, Specter displays a global map with icons showing locations of all vessels in the user’s fleet, anywhere on Earth except the extreme poles. Each icon can be clicked to review expanded details.
When a vessel is selected, the date and time of the last report received is displayed, which can be adjusted to the user’s preference. It also shows the most recent latitude and longitude, boat speed, heading, status of whether security system is armed or disarmed, nearby points-of-interest, as well as antenna input voltage and signal strength.
From this screen the vessel can be polled for its current location and the geo-fence or full system can be remotely armed/disarmed, depending on which version of the IDP GOST system is installed. An armed system will provide immediate notification of any movement or, for users with a full security system, an audible alarm if triggered. Tracking history can also be displayed on a map, which is embedded in the interface. Users can customize their screen, to overlay satellite imagery or set it to Night Mode for easy viewing.
Simrad black box VHFs drive up to eight handsets
Simrad Yachting is marketing a pair of premium multi-station black box marine radio systems, the RS100 and RS100-B. The RS100-B is integrated with a Class-B AIS transceiver and GPS. These systems are expandable and customizable to suit any boat.
The RS100 and RS100-B are modular VHF systems that are expandable up to eight handsets (four wired and four wireless) and four external speakers. The wireless handsets duplicate the radio display and controls on easy-to-read screens viewable under all lighting conditions, even bright sunlight. All primary functions are accessible from the handset with channel scan and favorites, alphanumeric keypad, clear audio, handset station naming and 60-second audio rewind.
The RS100-B features a Class-B AIS receiver and transmitter, allowing users to see and be seen by other vessels with AIS equipment. AIS (Automatic Identification System) monitors the location of all nearby AIS-enabled vessels, providing real-time information in any weather condition, night or day. AIS information can be viewed directly on the radio's screen or via a compatible multifunction display (MFD), as an overlay on a chart or radar screen.
The Class-D DSC (Digital Selective Calling) radio can make and receive DSC distress signals, including current position, and supports direct calling to other DSC-equipped radios. A dual-channel watch enables monitoring of the current channel and emergency channel 16 (in the US, tri-channel watch monitors the current channel, emergency channel 16, and calling channel 9). A record and replay feature ensures important calls are never missed. The system includes one external speaker with additional outputs for up to four speakers and one optional loudhailer/foghorn.
Suggested retail pricing: RS100-$899, RS100B-$1599.
Compact audio amps pack serious power
The JBL Apex Series of amplifiers from Prospec Electronics boast up to 300 watts RMS. All are Class D and encased in a tough chassis with conformal-coated circuit boards for use in a damp marine environment. A small heat sinks allow them to fit into tight spaces and obtaining the audio signal can be accomplished through RCAs or speaker inputs.
The JBL Apex PA1254 is a four-channel amplifier that features 4x75W RMS @ 4 ohms, 4x125W RMS @ 2 ohms and 2x250W RMS @ 4 ohms (bridgeable). It has high-pass, low-pass and all-pass selectable crossover. It measures 10-1/8 inches wide x 1-3/4 high x 3-5/16 deep.
The JBL Apex PA1502 two-channel amplifier boasts 2x100W RMS @ 4 ohms, 2x150W RMS @ 2 ohms and 1x300W RMS @ 4 ohms (bridgeable). The non-bridgeable JBL Apex PA454 powers four standard 4-ohm speakers with 45 watts RMS @ 4 ohms. Both measure 9 x 1-3/4 x 3-5/16 inches.
The JBL Apex PA1254 is $389.95; PA1502 is $319.95; and the PA454 is $229.95.
Onboard camera/alarm systems link to Garmin OneHelm
UK-based Iris Innovations is offering its new CMAC range of onboard camera and alarm management systems featuring an Iris Control HTML5 app for Garmin’s OneHelm platform. Iris says it is the industry’s first fully integrated command and control system for boat cameras and alarms.
CMAC is compatible with analogue, IP and analogue HD cameras and combines all the main elements of a fully featured security and control system into a stylish enclosure, complete with high-end waterproof connectors and wood effect end cheeks. The system features digital video recording, alarm management, network and serial data-management and a removable, shock-proof hard drive caddy.
IrisControl is designed for Garmin’s OneHelm third-party application platform, which brings together other vessel operations into a simple control interface hosted on Garmin multifunction displays. The app allows users to upload their own deck plans and photos and then configure them with icons to represent the position of cameras, alarms and preset hotspots, which, when selected, send cameras automatically to favorite pre-configured positions. Controlling pan tilt and zoom cameras is achieved primarily via the virtual joystick or a USB touch interface so users can drive their cameras from the full screen video window if preferred.
IrisControl has a dedicated control panel to manage the recorder aspect of CMAC as well as switching video inputs and controlling your cameras. From here users can control and review recordings from their cameras.