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          Panbo Features

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          Digital Switching gets easier, cheaper, and more compelling

          Until recently digital switching has only been seen on newly built, high-end boats. Now, Maretron and CZone both have digital switching products that can be retrofitted by a boat owner or pro installer and cost under $500. But, are these products easy to install and will the boat owner benefit from the installation? Read on to find out.

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          SiriusXM and Garmin GXM 54 add Fish Mapping to satellite weather

          SiruisXM has expanded on their satellite delivered weather options with their new Fish Mapping plan for anglers. Does Fish Mapping deliver the goods for the offshore angler? With sea temperature, plankton, weed line, sea surface height and fishing recommendations there’s a lot of data to help you find fish and Garmin makes it easy to display on their MFDs.

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          Garmin GPSMap 86sci: inReach, GPS and a plethora of tools for boaters

          The Garmin GPSMAp 86 family is a powerhouse of communications and connectivity. The dizzying array of technology inside this handheld provides two-way satellite messaging, GPS chart plotting, and integrations with many onboard electronics, all in a compact, weather-resistant, floating case. The marriage of a marine GPS unit with inReach satellite messaging could be the perfect tool for boaters. Can this many capabilities work in one little package?Read on to find out.

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          Victron Cerbo GX, good AC/DC power monitoring gets better

          The existing Victron Venus GX and Color Control GX are both excellent AC/DC power monitoring products in my estimation, but with many boat systems it’s hard to decide which one to use. While the Venus blue box is less expensive with more networking capabilities, none of its display and control abilities are as fast and easy as the CCGX’s screen and button interface.I’m happy to report that this purchasing dilemma will end next year with the new Cerbo GX and GX Touch 50, and valuable new GX features are included…

          4

          Dometic E-Actuator steering promises better outboard steering with no hydraulics

          Dometic’s Optimus Electric Steering Actuator has had quite a successful show season since its early 2019 introduction. It’s won major awards at IBEX, METS Trade and from Boating Industry Magazine. But what captured the attention of those award committees? It’s the promise of more precise handling, reduced weight, easier installations, and reduced maintenance. A few minutes spent with Dometic Marine representatives makes clear the engineering and innovation required to make this system possible.

          4

          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 sooner14

          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…

          1

          Foulfree from Propspeed, clean transducers without biocide

          Boats that spend a lot of time in the water typically have bottom paint applied to reduce fouling growth. Transducers are in the same water as the rest of the boat, but most bottom paint can’t be used on transducers. Unfortunately, the paints compatible with transducers aren’t as effective. Propspeed, the New Zealand based company that makes coatings for props, shafts, and underwater lights, has introduced Foulfree for transducers. Foulfree is a foul-release product, not a biocide and it’s the first product certified by Airmar for use on their transducers.

          24

          A few valuable boating apps, and what’s your favorite?

          Most boaters carry around an impressively powerful and easy to use computer in their pockets: their smartphone. Smartphones have enough processing power, sensors and capabilities to augment or possibly even replace dedicated navigation equipment onboard your boat. Mobile phone and tablet apps for boating have steadily improved and today offer a compelling set of functionalities that can make boating both safer and easier.

          10

          Kobelt Vitals: a new sensing, monitoring, and gateway powerhouse

          Long Maretron experience has taught me that the key benefit of boat monitoring is not screens of sensor readings, though they can be useful; it’s warnings and alarms. Done right — which is not easy — they can help a boat operate longer without major issues, but with a more relaxed operator. So I’m pleased to report that the new Kobelt Vitals offers similarly sophisticated alerting in a freshly thought-out, reasonably priced, and very flexible design that may be just right for many mid-size vessels…