Instant GPS for Chart Plotting
Bad Elf (bad-elf.com) has two mini GPS products that can deliver GPS accuracy to within nine feet to chart-plotting devices. The tiny model 1000 plugs into the USB port of most laptops as well as iPads, iPhones or iTouch devices and is ready for use. No setup, no cables, no batteries to charge, no problems. It performs better than using limited range cellular-based GPS. It’s great for delivering positional information to marine charts or most any data chart program, and it’s just $100. The Bad Elf GPS 2200 ($130) palm-size device, not much larger than a key fob, connects wirelessly via Bluetooth to allow apps to read your current position. The 2200 works with many computers, tablets and other devices and operates with about 40 popular charting systems, including C-Map and Navionics.
Handheld VHF with GPS
As a “wireless walk-around second station,” this combo unit allows you to communicate and navigate from anywhere on the boat. Since the VHF and GPS are already connected, the DSC mayday emergency function is ready for immediate use once you obtain and enter your MMSI personal identification number. The Uniden MHS135DSC (uniden.com) and Standard Horizon HX851 (standardhorizon.com) VHF/GPS sets are waterproof and float and are priced at $249 each. The Icom IC-M92 ($349, icomamerica.com) adds a man-overboard function.
**Underwater Robot **
Need to check your props or hull, examine bottom structure or scope out a narrow channel? Let HydroView, a remote-control submersible robot, perform these tasks for you. It comes complete with an HD camera, waterproof carrying case, 75 feet of cable (longer lengths available) and LCD display for $3,995. Too pricey? Check out the AquaLens ($475), an underwater camera that attaches to a pole to become your underwater eye. It has a 15-foot cable and a 3.5-inch display that straps to your wrist. Both are from Aquabotix Technology (aquabotix.com).
Personal AIS Rescue Alert
How do you find someone who has fallen overboard? The Kannad SafeLink R10 ($299, kannadmarine.com) is a personal Automatic Identification System transmitter with built-in GPS that can be worn on a life jacket or fastened to clothing. When activated, it broadcasts an emergency alert that places an AIS icon on your navigation screen. The exact location and distance of, and bearing to, the person in the water are also displayed. The R10 is not an EPIRB or PLB and does not alert first responders unless they happen to be within four miles of your location.