Most recreational sonar systems look down or sideways, and most of what you see on the display is history. But Garmin‘s remarkable Panoptix Forward system reads the bottom in front of the boat and also continually refreshes the image. So you’re looking ahead in real time, all the time.
Panoptix Forward uses a phased-array multibeam through-hull transducer to create what Garmin calls FrontVu. Essentially, it’s a 20-degree-beam sonar focused 300 feet ahead of the boat to help captains avoid shoals, reefs and other obstructions.
It scans the bottom forward of the boat at eight to 10 times the current depth. The transducer also includes an AHRS (attitude heading reference system) sensor for motion stabilization and more-accurate sonar reading in rough sea conditions.
No black box is required to add Panoptix Forward. You simply add the Garmin PS51-TH FrontVu transducer. Compatible with a wide range of Garmin multifunction displays, FrontVu sonar can be shared with other onboard displays via the Garmin Marine Network. This allows adding a second station.
The PS51-TH transducer can also provide LiveVu Forward, which shows targets such as schools of bait or fish moving toward or away from the bow in real time, even when the boat is stationary.
Panoptix PS51-TH features a standard two-inch stainless steel through-hull mount. It also displays depth and temperature data.
Panoptix Forward is compatible with Garmin’s 7- and 9-inch EchoMap chirp plotter/sonar combos and GPSMap series. The PS51-TH transducer carries an MSRP of $1,499.99 (garmin.com).