We rely more than ever today on marine electronics for navigation, communication, fishing, and boating safety. Yet some electronics are more for fun.
The Aquabotix HydroView Sport ($3,995, aquabotix.com) remote-operated vehicle (ROV) can give you a spectacular close-up view of the underwater world while you stay dry. Drive this motorized mini submarine remotely under your boat to see bottom structure and marine life — maybe indulge in a little treasure hunting. With a 50-foot cable (extendable to 300 feet), you can operate and view the HydroView remote camera from a laptop, iPod, tablet or smartphone. Don’t want to spend four grand? Try the AquaLens ($795), HydroView’s little brother. It fastens to a standard boat hook and lets you watch subsurface life on a wrist-worn 3.5-inch LCD screen or suitable monitor.
Ever wish you had a glass-bottom boat? Ocean Systems’ DropShot 20/20 color video camera ($995, splashcam.com) comes close. It displays an underwater picture on most navigation monitors or TV screens by means of a retractable downward-looking camera fitted in a bronze through-hull housing.
Dancing with Dolphins
The GoodTimes GT-ORB1 wireless Bluetooth floating sound system ($119.99, amazon.com) will blast out your music library as you frolic in the water. Just plug the output of your boat stereo, iPod, MP3 player or computer into the wireless docking station, and a floating speaker will deliver your music up to 150 feet away.
Oceanears, the same audio-engineering company that provides underwater sound systems to synchronized swimming teams in the Olympics, has produced the DRS-8 underwater speaker ($895, oceanears.com), which can be dropped over the side to provide music for swimming and scuba diving as well as to serve as a handy means for the galley chef to announce to swimmers that dinner is ready. You can also use the speaker as an underwater microphone to eavesdrop on dolphins, whales and sound-emitting fishes like croakers and catfsh. The DRS-8 comes with a matching audio transformer that connects to your boat’s sound system.
Don’t Drown the Music
Worn around the neck, AudioFlood’s waterproof iPod Shuffle ($125, audioflood.com) is a submersible version (to a depth of 200 feet) of Apple’s 5th-generation iPod Shuffle. It’s perfect for use while lounging on an air mattress, swimming, snorkeling, spearfishing, kayaking or surfing.
The Splash Dash IPX-8 ($25, amazon.com) is a 100 percent waterproof “insurance policy” for your iPad (1, 2 or 3), Blackberry Playbook, Kindle or other tablets and e-readers of similar size. It protects against water, sand, dirt, dust or scratches. The IPX-8 case also floats, so if it slips out of your wet hand and into the water, it’ll bob back up.
Want to hear your music playlist, streaming from Pandora or your iPod without the mess of adapters and dangling wires on the boat? The Poly-Planar ME60BT Bluetooth amplifier ($229, polyplanar.com) with a waterproof electronics module and remote keypad control does away with cables and plugs. This wireless connection is a perfect answer for applications on small open boats.