2014 Fort Lauderdale Boat Show: 10 Must-See Marine Electronics

The 2014 Fort Lauderdale Boat Show has a wealth of marine electronics on display.

CP200 Side-Vision Sonar from Raymarine (Electronics Pavilion 321,347)
The new CP200 CHIRP side-vision sonar module employs the unique CPT-200 transom-mount transducer to allows anglers to choose from three pre-set transducer angles to optimize for shallow, medium or deep-water applications. Using two independent sonar channels and advanced signal processing, the CP200 delivers highly detailed returns, reminiscent of a medical ultrasound. Integration with a Raymarine Lighthouse II multi-function display is simple, allowing you to read bottom and fish as far as 600 feet on either side of the boat. It uses a new CPT-200 transom-mount transducer. MSRP is $609.99.
BSM-3 Broadband Sounder from Simrad (Electronics Pavilion 322)
The BSM-3 Broadband Sounder with CHIRP can reach depths of 10,000 feet, while also providing remarkable target separation, clarity and resolution to locate fish and structure. The module is optimized for Simrad's NS multi-function displays, including the NSS evo2 and NSO evo2 . It is compatible with the range of Airmar transducers, including Airmar's Wide-angle CHIRP transducer series with a 25-degree beam angle across the frequency range. The BSM-3 includes features such as bottom color tracking and split zoom. Encased in a rugged aluminum housing with a waterproof access cover and easy-to-connect transducer plugs, the BSM-3 module is easy to install. MSRP is $1,999.
DRS4W 1st Watch Wireless Radar (Electronics Pavillion 316-320)
Furuno's DRS4W 1st Watch Wireless Radar combines a compact 12 ½-pound 4kW radome with an iOS mobile device such as an iPad or iPhone. It uses a free app to display radar returns on as many as two devices at once. A small antenna on the bottom of the dome transmits the wireless radar signal to your mobile device. A familiar Apple interface lets you change range from .125 to 24 nautical miles. With the iPad, you can also read target bearing and distance. You do need to wire 12-volt power to the dome, which draw less than 2 amps. MSRP for the DRS4W radome unit will range between $1,595 and $1,695.
Garmin GMR 18 xHD and 24 xHD Dome Radars (Electronics Pavilion 323-324)
Garmin's 4kW high-definition marine radars, GMR 18 xHD and 24 xHD, integrate powerful open-array performance into 18- and 24-inch-diameter domes, respectively. With a max speed of 48 rpm and auto adjustment based on range, you get quicker radar returns than in previous models. Both feature Dynamic Auto Gain and Dynamic Sea Filter that continuously adjust to surroundings to optimize performance. With 48-nautical-mile range, both offer dual-range operation for a split-screen view of targets near and far. MSRP: GMR18 xHD, $1,599.99; GMR 24 xHD, $2,399.99.
Snow Lizard SLXtreme Navigation Series iPad Cases (Conv.Ctr. Sailfish 4115)
The SLXtreme waterproof, shock-resistant cases for iPads from Snow Lizard embed a Bad Elf 66-channel WAAS-enabled GPS receiver to give the device marine navigation capabilities. Designed to support Wifi-only iPad (Gen 4), the cases provide lat/lon, speed and GPS tracking, accessible through a number of navigation apps. With an IP-68 waterproof rating, the case also has a battery booster that nearly doubles the battery life when away from power. The cases are equipped with key holes and screws for securing the device to a standard VESA mount (sold separately) for mounting in a helm area. MSRP is $349.99.
T-760 Radar from Si-Tex (Electronics Pavilion 339)
Si-Tex's T-760 touch-screen radar might not look conventional, but it's slim-line, vertically oriented 7-inch display means it will fit on crowded helms where other units will not. It measures just 5.4 inches wide by 8.9 inche tall by 3.5 inches deep, and the bracket is designed for overhead or table-top mounting. Though compact, the T-760 is big on features such as 4kW output, multi-speed antenna rotation, standard 50-target AIS tracking (with input from an AIS receiver), standard 10-target MARPA (with a heading sensor). It's available with an 18-inch radome with a range of up to 24 nm and 24-inch radome with a range to 48 nm. With a touch-screen operating menu for intuitive control, the T-760 is also priced to fit most budgets. MSRP starts at $2,095.
NightRunner from Iris Innovation (Electronics Pavilion 363-364)
The competitively priced NightRunner Dual Payload Thermal Imaging/Daylight Color Camera from Iris Corp. has a high-resolution thermal core that provides crisp, detailed images not only in the dark, but also through fog, smoke and dust. The system can also provide daylight color imaging. The NightRunner features full pan, tilt and zoon capabilities, and can display imagery on a dedicated monitor or multi-function display. The compact waterproof camera housing with integral base can be secured above or underneath a hardtop or radar arch, and only a single cable is require to connect the camera to the distribution module, which typically connects to a controller and a display. MSRP is $4,500 (plus $500 for a controller)
Globalstar Sat-Fi System (Electronics Pavilion 310-311)
The Sat-Fi system from Globalstar uses your existing smartphone, tablet or laptop to send and receive voice and data communications when you're boating outside cellular range. At its heart lies a compact satellite hot spot, which you can install in a cabin or console, allowing to you communicate via Globalstar's modern satellite network with virtually anyone in the world. An app allows you to create a wireless connection between the onboard Sat-Fi hotspot and your smartphone or tablet. Globalstar claims its data speeds are four times faster than the competition and that the system can connect up to eight users at the same time. MSRP for the Sat-Fi system is $999; airtime plans start at $39.99/month.
C-MAP Max-N+ Charts for Lowrance and Simrad (Electronics Pavilion 360)
C-MAP by Jeppesen now offers its C-MAP MAX-N+ Wide or MAX-N+ Local electronic charts for Lowrance and Simrad chart-plotters with updated software. Check out the enhanced features and functionality at the C-MAP booth during the show. MAX-N+ charts start at $199.
M506 VHF Radio from ICOM (Electronics Pavilion 331-332)
The ICOM M506 fixed-mount VHF series replaces the popular M504 series in the Icom lineup. In fact, the two models are almost identical in size (the M506 is 1/8-inch wider), but the M506 has a larger display for better viewing of channel info and a louder 10-watt speaker to better hear your buddy call you in on a bite. The M506 also features Icom's menu-driven user interface, two-minute last call voice playback, active noise cancelling and a bigger, yet thinner mic. It's available in number of iterations, including one that has built-in AIS. You can also add an optional remote Command Mic. MSRP ranges from $479.99 to $699.99

If you’re anywhere close to Fort Lauderdale in late October, make it a point to attend the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show this year (Oct. 30-Nov. 3). You’ll be amazed at the number of boats, engines and accessories, as well as people, food vendors and excitement surrounding the show.

My favorite place to visit includes the exhibits in the huge white tents at the Bahia Mar venue next to the on-water boat displays. More likely than not, you’ll find me roaming the Electronics Pavilion.

There are a host of new products – too many to mention here – from companies such as Furuno, Garmin, Icom, Raymarine, Simrad and many others. There are also retailers selling the latest marine electronics.

It's our goal to keep you posted on new-product introductions at the show, so follow Boating on our social media channels and our website to make sure you're up on the latest, whether you're attending the show or not.

In the meantime, here’s my list of 10 must-see new marine electronics at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show this year.