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Best multi-function vessel monitors for 2019
9/30/2019

Knowing what’s happening in the bilge or engine compartment whether you’re aboard or not or having an alarm sound automatically if a crook has broken into your boat while no one’s looking all provide great peace of mind. We’re seeing more products all the time that raise the bar on what vessel monitoring and control can do. This week we look at several that offer multi-function protections. Next week we’ll roll out others that monitor and control specific areas and equipment such as engines, electrical and fuel.

The list is part of an exercise MEJ does every year in our Buyers’ Guide. It works like this: We ask manufacturers to identify the one model they produce in a particular category that they consider to be their Best & Brightest—not necessarily the most technically advanced or newest but rather the one they rate highest in the product line for one reason or another. Could be the functions and features it offers, or maybe it breaks new ground in maximizing effectiveness or utility, or maybe it’s the most popular as measured by sales to boaters. 
 
The Best & Brightest list includes 16 categories of electronics, from autopilots and fishfinders to radar and satellite TV. Last week we took a break from that lineup to bring you a roundup of electronics that won NMEA awards.



Navico and Naviop have combined their expertise to develop a state-of-the-art solution for displaying and managing sophisticated yacht systems, the companies will work closely to expand their product range to cover the high demands of broader production and volume boat builders. Enabling monitoring and control of key equipment, Naviop allows captains, boat owners and manufacturers to develop an easy-to-use, fully customized, touchscreen user interface. Accessible directly from the home screen of any B&G glass bridge display, the system facilitates management of engines, generators, batteries, trim tabs and flaps, lighting, air conditioning, entertainment, security systems, bilge pumps, and other vital onboard services.

 
4G Connect offers fast Internet access for your boat through 3G/4G networks up to 20 nautical miles from the coast.  It uses MIMO technology with dual external antennas for speed and range.  Alexa integration now enables your boat’s navigation data to be relayed by Alexa either afloat or at home.  With the custom device installed, Simply ask Alexa, "What’s my boat’s position?” or "What’s the wind?” and Alexa will read back the details.  It’s the ideal, easy-to-use monitoring solution for your boat.


Maretron’s DSM410 is a 4.1 inch high-resolution sunlight-viewable color display that interprets and displays NMEA 2000 instrument, navigation and vessel monitoring data. The DSM410 also features an alert/alarm package and electrical switching capability. The unit’s user-friendly, illuminated and simple five-key keypad offers custom screen configuration including numeric, gauge, bar or graph formats in single or multiple displays, with cycling options possible for a wide range of favorite data. These multiple display options conserve mounting space and reduce overall system cost. The DSM410 will directly connect with any NMEA 2000 network and with the exception of AIS data will display any or all information captured throughout the vessel. Various audio and visual alarms are also programmable.


Nautic Alert’s VTracker is a new low-cost Iridium NEXT sat-tracker and monitoring solution based on Nautic Alert’s larger X2 platform, designed specifically to meet insurance requirements for center consoles and similar boats.  VTracker enables a remote engine kill feature and capabilities for intrusion, bilge monitoring, a highly accurate anchor alarm, DC monitoring/trending, and is fully compatible with FLIR human detection technology, designed to protect against GPS and outboard motor theft.  Nautic Alert Cloud Watch is an optional subscription for VTracker that detects communication loss in minutes, enables global self-aware geofencing, and can reconstruct vessel track data.  Drawing only 60 mA, VTracker can be concealed and continue to operate for over 3.5 months, with typical house banks, without a single charge, and can accept a backup battery for full redundancy.  


Simrad BoatConnect gives boat owners the ultimate peace of mind at an unparalleled value, keeping users informed of their boat’s location, battery level, trip history and more anywhere in the world, at any time. Delivering important updates on a boat’s status to a compatible smartphone, BoatConnect is comprised of an easy-to-install hub and an easy-to-use app. Once installed, the solution provides at-a-glance information to enhance the boating experience. Ensuring system reliability, the BoatConnect hub is hard-wired to a vessel’s battery and, in the event of power loss, will continue to provide updates for up to five days on internal backup power.


The Siren MTC delivers advanced vessel monitoring, tracking and control capabilities, giving boaters security and peace of mind 24/7. Using a range of purpose-engineered wired and wireless sensors, this affordable system keeps boaters on top of bilge level/bilge pump activity, battery voltage, temperature, shore power connection and more.  Prevention is strongest line of defense against costly break-ins and theft, so Siren offers an array of entry and motion sensors to protect against unauthorized boarding and theft of expensive MFDs, other electronics and gear.  Siren also enables remote control of onboard systems such as spreader lights, air conditioning, bait pumps and gyro stabilization systems.  Siren’s ability to monitor and share valuable NMEA 2000 data from the boat can help prevent mechanical issues.

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