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The Ultimate Boat
Ryan Pratt, who owns the Sea Tow franchise in Stuart, Florida, tricked out his tow boat with some of the coolest gear.
Simrad Broadband 4G Radar
This unit is ideal for small boats because of its small, low-emission radome that produces high-quality returns on-screen. It operates at ranges from 219 yards to 36 nautical miles. “A lot of times when people call us, they really don’t know where they are,” Pratt said. “The 4G radar helps us lock in on them.”
The Simrad 4G also has MARPA (mini-automatic radar plotting aid) that can track up to 20 vessels on-screen simultaneously. If there’s a lot of traffic in a specific area, this helps Pratt determine which might be in distress. For example, if he locks on four targets and three are moving while one is not, he knows to lock in on the relatively stationary boat.
Pratt runs his navigational electronics through two Simrad NSS8 multifunction displays.
XM WX Marine Weather
Pratt overlays the XM satellite weather map onto his radar and chart plotter so he can closely follow any fronts or storm systems in the vicinity. One key function is the current speed and direction. “Say there’s a 6-knot north current,” Pratt said. “If we have a long run to a vessel, we can adjust our course according to the currents.”