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Marine Electronics Journal Blog

36 marine electronics that won awards in 2017

If you’re shopping for new electronics, and a bit in the weeds because of the bewildering array of choices, we’d like to help. In addition to electronics articles in boating magazines and on websites that you’ve probably read, and discussions with sales people at boat shows and with friends, here are three dozen electronics products that were considered the pick of the litter in several competitions last year. We ran the first batch of 11 winners last week.



Boating Industry announced its Top 50 best marine products in May. They were chosen from among hundreds of nominations for products that stood out for their “impact on industry and innovation and how they advance their product category.” Below are six of the winners.

Aqualuma FF12

Aqualuma’s Gen 4 FF12 surface-mount LED underwater lights offer performance where a thru-hull fitting is not possible. Available in Aqualuma’s brilliant white and ultra blue, the Gen 4 FF12 replaces the original FF12 with a new design, higher output and built-in thermo control, allowing greater life. Featuring a fully self-contained fitting with a simple two-wire installation, it produces both distance and width from the single fitting and can be mounted on any flat surface.

BEP Combination Output Interface 

The new BEP Marine Combination Output Interface is a complete system that combines five CZone modules into a single module. This offers faster installation, lower price and a smaller footprint. With fewer connection points, the device is designed for smaller vessels while offering the ability to add modules to scale the digital switching system for any installation. It is enclosed in a compact, rugged IPX5 housing with an optional cable cover, which provides greater flexibility for installation location. 

Clarion CMS4

Clarion’s CMS4 is a two-piece marine-grade multimedia source unit, offering 280 watts of power and four multimedia source zones, each with independent zone volume control. The built-in multi-band tuner supports reception of radio stations anywhere in the world, along with weather band including automatic reception of emergency information. The CMS4 offers an ultra-bright color TFT LCD display optically wet bonded to Corning Gorilla Glass and other heavy-duty materials.

Fusion StereoActive

Fusion’s StereoActive is the world’s first purpose-built portable marine stereo, with built-in Bluetooth audio streaming, AM/FM radio with weatherband available in the US and USB audio playback. Featuring the Puck mount system, users can easily and securely attach the stereo to any paddleboard, kayak, canoe or boat.

NavPod PedestalPods

PedestalPods give the convenience of easily reaching and controlling the fishfinder/chartplotter, while also providing protection from wet boating conditions and theft. They are crafted with a thick-gauge, UV-stable acrylic-capped ABS material and are built with structural rigidity in mind. PedestalPods are also manufactured with a double gasket system that provides a watertight seal to keep spray off electrical connections.

Shakespeare WebWatch

WebWatch provides Internet access for up to 32 users from nearby WiFi or, with a data-only AT&T SIM card, a cellular network, with speeds up to 4G. It also supports T-Mobile and Cricket networks up to 3G speeds. The system shares the signal wirelessly throughout the boat or via an Ethernet cable. With the built-in HDTV antenna, users can receive over-the-air digital signals, allowing televisions to play even during storms, when satellite connections may fail.


Humminbird scored its seventh consecutive win at the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades, better known as ICAST. Attending media and buyers at the mid-summer show anointed the SOLIX MFD as Best of Electronics.

Offering the biggest display in the brand’s history, at more than 15 inches, the SOLIX boasts technologies designed to make locating fish easier, including MEGA Imaging, CHIRP Digital Sonar, Humminbird’s Cross Touch Interface, and AutoChart Live. There are two display sizes, 12.1 and 15.4 inches.

Anglers can select from two SOLIX units: one is equipped with GPS and CHIRP digital sonar, the other adds Humminbird’s MEGA Imaging. This is the first Down and Side Imaging technology to enter the megahertz range with performance that’s nearly three times greater than traditional 455 kHz frequencies.



In July, West Marine gave its Best New Product of the Year Award to Simrad for the GO9 XSE chartplotter. It is the latest addition to Simrad’s GO series of MFDs.

The GO9 has touchscreen controls that smartphone and tablet users will find familiar. Boaters can view charts, add waypoints and see key information on a 9 inch widescreen display. Matched with the TotalScan transducer, the GO9 delivers a complete underwater view for anglers, including fish-finding CHIRP Sonar and StructureScan HD for lifelike side-scanning images of fish-holding structure, as well as detail directly beneath the boat with DownScan Imaging.



A panel of judges from Boating Writers International (BWI) named 12 winners and two honorable mentions in the annual competition held at the International Boatbuilders’ Exposition & Conference (IBEX) in September. The Innovation Awards honor achievement in product development in 10 areas of the marine industry.

Gemeco Marine Accessories took the Boatyard and Dealer Hardware and Software category with Airmar’s TDT1000 Transducer Diagnostic Tester. Vesper Marine’s deckWatch app won in the Safety Equipment category.



In November, e3 Systems and Kymeta were awarded the International Superyacht Society Award for Excellence in Innovation for their flat-plate antennas and terminals that harness electronic beam forming technology to pull in satellite signals without conventional mechanized antennas inside domes.



A Slovenia-made power distribution panel took the Marine Electronics and Marine-Related Software category in the annual DAME Award. The category was one of seven marine equipment categories announced at the METSTRADE Show held in mid-November in Amsterdam. Sixty-four products were selected from 122 entries for the final judging round. The Overall Winner was ScanStrut’s Venture Connect Conversion Kit, which adapts certain dinghies for use by disabled sailors.

In selecting the power panel, the 10 judges pointed to its “nicely detailed fascia, remote management over WiFi via a tablet or smartphone and its emergency analog override, providing control in the event of digital system failure.” The product, manufactured by Simarine, is called the Nereide Smart Marine Power Panel.

Special mentions in the Electronics and Software category went to Digital Yacht’s Nomad portable Class B AIS transponder and to FLIR’s M232 thermal imaging camera.

Weems & Plath’s CrewWatcher MOB (man overboard) device was first in the Lifesaving and Safety Equipment category. McMurdo’s SmartFind G8 AIS took home a special mention.

The award emphasizes the importance of design, from esthetics to functionality, as well as impact on the marine industry and the environment, suitability of intended purpose, innovation, cost, and ease of use or installation.




At the annual National Marine Electronics Association International Marine Electronics Conference & Expo, manufacturers walked away with product awards in 18 categories selected by NMEA members:

Autopilot--Garmin GHP Reactor

Multi-Function Display--Garmin GPSMAP 8624

Radar--Garmin GMR 24 Fantom Dome

Fish Finder--Garmin GSD 26

Marine VHF Radio--Icom M605

Satellite Communications Antenna--KVH TracPhone V3IP

Satellite TV Antenna--KVH TracVision TV3

AIS--Garmin AIS 600

NMEA 2000 Sensor--Actisense NGT-1

Marine PC Software--Nobeltec TZ Professional

Marine App, Aids to Navigation--Garmin BlueChart

Marine App, Technical--Garmin Helm

Underwater Lights--Lumishore EOS TIX402

Marine Camera--FLIR M-625

Commercial--Furuno FAR2127 IMO Radar

Remote Vessel Monitoring System--GOST Phantom Insight HD GPS

Safety & Security--McMurdo SmartFind G5 Auto GPS EPIRB

Multimedia Entertainment--Fusion AV750



In addition to the NMEA Product of Excellence Awards presented annually at the International Marine Electronics Conference & Expo is the NMEA Technology Award. An independent panel of judges made up of Certified Marine Electronics Technicians and members of the boating media select the winner from nominated products. The award picks the winner based on innovation, benefit to boaters, practicality and value.

The 2017 NMEA Technology Award went to the Furuno DFF3D, the world’s first deep-water multi-beam sonar. It delivers a side-scan detection range of more than 650 feet and looks straight down over 1000 feet. Its unique 165 kHz frequency allows you to view the DFF3D sonar while simultaneously utilizing your conventional or CHIRP sonar. Boaters can customize the MFD’s display using its four modes: cross-section, 3D sounder history, triple/single-beam sounder and side scan.




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Comments | Leave a Comment
Page 1 of 3 ( 11 comments)

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. "
Laurie Seibert:(2/16/2017 2:00:20 AM) "Thanks EV Collier for sharing this informative blog. It is important to know the causes of EMI filters. We use these parts in our daily life in the electronic products so we should know that what are the causes are cures of EMI Filters.

Great job and keep updating!

Laurie Seibert"
Yes:(2/10/2017 7:22:40 AM) "EMI/RFI filter causes and cure. There are very few people who share such information with everyone. I was looking to read such informative blog!

Great job!

Lisa Wilson
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