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Marine Electronics Journal Blog
Miami International Boat Show new products sampler

By Jim Fullilove
Marine Electronics Journal editor

As always my annual trek to the Miami International Boat Show (MIBS) turned up an assortment of innovative new products and a look at technologies, like onboard system integration, that are expanding and improving all the time. For anyone who hasn’t walked the show’s miles of aisles and docks, consider this: there were some 1900 boats on display inside in the water or in huge air-conditioned tents--plus tons of engines, electronics and every accessory under the sun.  More than 100,000 people from 35 countries passed through the gates. Here’s a quick look at some of the products—more later.

Garnering a lot of attention was FLIR/Raymarine’s DockSense, a camera-based system that helps boaters during docking. The captain remains at the helm, operating the joystick propulsion control while DockSense reads the distance to hard objects and kicks in assisted steering and throttle commands.

The company says DockSense uses FLIR machine vision camera technology and video analytics "to integrate intelligence gathered from surrounding imagery with the vessel’s propulsion and steering system to assist boat owners in tight quarter docking maneuvering.” They’ve signed up Prestige Yachts, a Beneteau brand, to demonstrate the technology. Boaters had an opportunity at MIBS try out the multi-camera system aboard a 46 foot Prestige or a smaller boat.

At the heart of the system is what Raymarine calls its Virtual Bumper zone technology around the vessel. 
If the Virtual Bumper senses a piling or another vessel, DockSense automatically sends corrective steering and throttle commands to avoid the object. It uses GPS and "attitude heading reference system” position sensing technology to compensate for the effects of wind and currents. The system relies on multiple FLIR machine vision cameras, a central processing module, and an app running on Raymarine’s Axiom navigation display. 

DockSense won’t be ready for prime time for at least a year, and Raymarine says they haven’t determined a price yet, which will depend on vessel size and other factors. 

For fishermen working coastal and inland waters, Garmin showed off a new twist for its BlueChart g3 Vision and Lake Vu g3 charts--high-resolution relief shading that provides improved bottom detail for locating structure and reefs. The upgrade blends Garmin and Navionics content and stirs in the company’s Auto Guidance technology, which sorts through charts to create a route based on desired depth and overhead clearance.

Garmin also announced an anticipated mounting option for its Panoptix LiveScope sonar, which won NMEA’s Technology Award last year. Originally fitted with a transom/trolling motor transducer, LiveScope’s new option allows for thru-hull installation. The package will include a sonar black box, transducer and mount.

From the UK’s Digital Yacht comes NavLink 2, a NMEA 2000 to wireless gateway allowing streaming of your boat’s NMEA 2000 data network over WiFi to mobile devices like iPads, tablets and smart phones. This opens up boat NMEA data to the world of charting, control and instrumentation apps.
NavLink 2 creates a secure local network on board for mobile devices and you don’t need an Internet connection.  The device can convert traditional navigation data such as AIS, GPS, depth and wind so it can be used by existing apps.

For boats equipped with Lumishore LED lighting systems, the company rolled out what it says is the marine industry’s first plug-and-play module with a pre-installed, universal lighting interface called the Lumi-Link Command Center. This creates a centralized control platform for the entire vessel with a single cable connection to a compatible display.
Wave WiFi’s MBR 550 is a multi-source router with a built-in access point that works with any onboard set up and can serve as a stand-alone SIM-activated cellular data receiver. The MBR 550 can stay online 24/7. The company stresses that you can maximize your source options by connecting to other Wave WiFi receivers and/or any third-party cellular or satellite devices. 

MIBS Innovation Awards

A handheld night vision color camera that can record video and stills took first place in the Consumer Electronics, Mobile Applications and Software category at the annual MIBS Innovation Awards. According to the team of Boating Writers International judges, "More than just a night vision camera, the Aurora serves up full color detail providing easier navigation even in extremely low light.” 
Sail-Sense by Spinlock USA received an honorable mention. Sail-Sense is a palm-sized sensor that attaches to a sail and measures UV exposure, hours of use, g-force and sail cloth flogging. An app turns out analytical and performance data.
Shakespeare’s inflatable VHF antenna—the Galaxy-INFL8—garnered top honors in the Consumer Safety Equipment category. The device is an inflatable emergency VHF antenna that delivers 3 dB performance and a longer range compared to a VHF held by a survivor at water level. The judges’ comment: "This compact antenna can restore full VHF performance in seconds--it’s a must have for emergency use in your life raft or dismasting.” 

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Comments | Leave a Comment
Page 1 of 3 ( 13 comments)

Jp:(8/11/2018 5:28:29 PM) "I have a 2018 Yamaha f40 la and Humminbird helix 7 di , I would like to leverage the nema 2000 capability of the helix 7 to display engine info, what do I need , Humminbird does have a gateway and lowrance makes a Yamaha nema cable, but I'm reading connectors are proprietary . How can I get what is needed?

Since these products are not NMEA 2000 certified there is little assurance that they will share data with each other.

1. Here is the link to see all NMEA 2000 certified products:

2. The NMEA 2000 cables and connectors are from many manufacturers: Here is the link for approved cables and connector manufacturers:

AC/DC grounding distance:(8/2/2018 1:29:35 AM) "What about the grounding points of AC /DC systems? can they be grounded at the same point?
If one system has both AC and DC can they both be grounded to a common buss-bar that has only one conection to the hull?

Here's what Ed Sherman, electric tech guru at the American Boat & Yacht Council, said:

The ultimate goal should always be to tie ac and dc grounds together on board at a single point. In ABYC Standard E-11, it is described as “the engine negative terminal or its buss.” It is most commonly done at a buss."
Hard-Over with Brushed APilot Pump:(12/18/2017 5:37:05 PM) "Jim.
What do you mean by ...."Garmin GHP 20 with SmartPump...Because it is a brushless system, it is fail-safe and won’t execute a hard-over turn the way a brushed pump can."

Thanks for the note. Since the description came from Garmin I contacted the company for an explanation. Here's what one of their engineers told me:

On brushed DC actuators, a single-point failure in the drive circuit (shorted wire or blown component inside the controller) could cause the motor to run full speed in one direction and take the rudder all the way to one rail. A brushless actuator relies on timing-controlled commutation, so a short or component fail would cause the actuator to stop moving rather than moving at full speed.

Hope this helps,

trawlerdeejay:(10/13/2017 3:46:51 PM) "Excellent article. I had no idea what the differences were between o183 and 2000, Thank you so much."
Darryl:(3/27/2017 10:17:15 PM) "Putting the MSRP with each unit reviewed would have been helpful. If each unit was actually tested, the reports on each unit would have been helpful too.

Thanks Darryl---we generally don't mention prices due to confusion over so many variations---MSRP (mfg. suggested retail price), MAP (min. advertised price), MRP (min. resale price) and then there are internet prices on some websites that go their own way. But your point is well taken--buyers need to know if something is in their price range. We'll work on it.
There is independent testing of some of these products on sites like but the information we receive from manufacturers rarely cites the results of any shootouts they may conduct against the competition's products. "
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