The pace of technology can render new electronics obsolete in months. Yet few boaters upgrade on such a time scale, opting to get the longest possible life from their electronics. When is it time to upgrade? Here are four signs.
1. Touch Point
Touchscreens are faster and easier to use than old-fashioned push-button systems. The speed of access also translates to greater safety, letting you keep your eyes on the water ahead, as well as quickly access information. Think of the difference between a flip phone and a smartphone. Would you ever go back to a flip phone? Some multifunction displays offer a combination of touchscreen and button controls, if that makes you feel more comfortable. The point is, if your MFD does not have a touchscreen function, it’s time to upgrade.
2. Forget Repairs
If a piece of old electronics breaks down, don’t even think about getting it repaired. Outdated electronics might be repairable. But you’re throwing good money against old technology. You might like the old unit, but you will appreciate the new technology and ease of use. So when an old piece of electronics falls into disrepair, it’s time to upgrade.
3. Seven Up
Seven years is a lifetime in the face of accelerating technological innovation. Think of what’s happened since 2011 in terms of tech innovation: the refinement of touchscreen MFDs, chirp sonar, side-scanning sonar, 3D sonar, auto-routing, auto-charting, solid-state radar, wireless connectivity, plug-and-play system integration and much more. So if your marine electronics are more than seven years old, it’s time to upgrade.
4. New Boat, New Tech
If you’re buying a new boat, congratulations. As you outfit your ride, leave the old electronics on your old boat. Work with your boat dealer or marine electronics installer to get state-of-the-art electronics and consider networking the new MFD with the propulsion and other systems. In short, if you’re buying a new boat, it’s time to upgrade.
Airmar Transducer Upgrade
If you step up to an MFD with chirp sonar, consider a transducer upgrade. Airmar Technology’s new series of five in-hull chirp-ready transducers require no holes in your boat. Designed for solid fiberglass hulls, each model includes a base that’s installed inside the hull and filled with eco-friendly liquid that allows the transducer to transmit through fiberglass. The transducer is inserted into the base and adjusted for the proper deadrise offset, ensuring the beam is vertically oriented, accommodating deadrise angles up to 22 degrees. Each transducer has a mix-and-match connector for simple, no-hassle connection to fish finders from major manufacturers. Models range from the 300-watt P95M to the 1.5 kW M422. Prices start as low as $299 for the P95M.