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2020 Fort Lauderdale Boat Show: Must-See Electronics

Here are 11 cool marine electronics products you’ll find on display at the big boat show.

October 12, 2020
Aerial shot of the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show
The 2020 show is going on as planned with new safety protocols in place. Courtesy Informa

This year’s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (Oct. 28 to Nov. 1) will go on. Promoters of this big, south Florida event have announced COVID-conscious health safety standards, including requirements for screening of show-goers, appropriate face masks, physical distancing, no-contact registration, enhanced cleaning and more. To review all of the safety standards and find out more about the show, visit flibs.com.

For those who attend, the show will feature a wide range of exhibitors, including the leading brands in marine electronics, most of the concentrated the marine electronics tent at the Bahia Mar venue, but also at marine electronics retailers with booths at the show. You’ll see some of the cool high-technology products for navigation, fishing, onboard entertainment, security, communications, and more. Let’s take a look at a dozen of the hottest marine electronics to check out at this year’s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

Garmin Fantom 254/256 Radar
Garmin Fantom 254/256 Radar Courtesy Garmin

Be sure to stop by Garmin’s booth to see the new Fantom 245/256 open-array solid-state marine radars. Available in 4- and 6-foot arrays, they feature 250 watts of pulse compression power for a 96-nautical-mile range. Garmin’s signature MotionScope technology can detect and highlight moving targets in different colors, helping users avoid potential collisions, find flocks of birds and track weather. New features include scan-to-scan averaging and improved MARPA with Automatic Acquisition. Suggested retail prices are $9,999 and $10,499 for the 4-foot and 6-foot models, respectively; garmin.com.

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Siren Marine 3 Pro 3 on display
Siren Marine 3 Pro 3 Courtesy Siren Marine

Make it a point to see the new Siren 3 Pro at the show. Siren Marine has led the field of boat telematics, and is now a partner with CZone, the leader in marine digital-switching. These systems enable a skipper to control a wide range of onboard systems using the Siren Marine mobile app on a smartphone or tablet from your home, office or car while en route to the marina. A boater can connect via cellular service and/or satellite. Adding a small satellite antenna to the system allows boat owners to connect from virtually anywhere on Earth. A Siren 3 Pro starts at $749, plus service fees starting at $15 per month; sirenmarine.com.

Raymarine Axiom+ MFD
Raymarine Axiom+ Courtesy Raymarine

Swing by the FLIR/Raymarine booth to see the new Axiom+ multifunction displays and LightHouse electronic cartography. Available in 7-, 9-, and 12-inch display models, Axiom+ features quad-core processors and bright IPS displays. HydroTough nano-coated screens enable touch control in all conditions. There are four built-in sonar channels – including RealVision 3D. The new LightHouse electronic charts are derived from official hydrographic sources – the same data used by maritime professionals. Axiom+ models start at $749, LightHouse charts start at $79; raymarine.com.

Furuno NavNet TZtouch3 touchscreen
Furuno NavNet TZtouch3 Courtesy Furuno

The third generation of NavNet multifunction displays—the TZtouch3 series—will be on display at the Furuno booth and retailer exhibits. They’re available in a 12-inch hybrid with IPS touch screen and Furuno’s RotoKey and dedicated buttons (TZT12F), and in 16- and 19-inch glass IPS touch displays (TZT16F and TZT19F, respectively). Each has a quad-core processor with a built-in dual-channel 1 kW TruEcho chirp fish finder, as well as a 50/200 kHz fish finder. They can network with Furuno’s new Deep Impact DI-FFAMP amplifier, an add-on option that increases power to 2 or even 3 kW. Starting at $3,095; furunousa.com.

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Simrad NSO evo3S screen
Simrad NSO evo3S Courtesy Simrad

Drop in at the Simrad exhibit and ask about the NSO evo3 multifunction displays. This navigation system from Simrad connects with premium network modules and other Simrad accessories to create a vessel-wide system. The high-definition, low-profile glass touchscreen display can be viewed from any angle, even through polarized sunglasses. It supports up to a six-panel, split-screen layout. An iMX6 quad-core processor offers fast updates. Available in 16-, 19- and 24-inch screens, the system includes wireless connectivity for updates and notifications. Starting at $6,999 for a 16-inch display only; simrad-yachting.com.

Spot Gen4 Device GPS locator
Spot Gen4 Device Courtesy Spot

While roaming the show, look for the new Spot Gen4 device. It offers more tracking features, enhanced mapping interface, greater water resistance and a sleek new ergonomic design. It is engineered to provides an affordable communication with friends, family and other boaters, as well as the GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Center (IERCC) using GPS location and satellite connectivity powered by Globalstar. It also offers the longest battery life in the product category, according to the company. There are unlimited shared views with an easy interface to share a location. $149.99; findmespot.com

Icom M85 Handheld VHF Radio at the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show
Icom M85 Handheld VHF Radio Courtesy Icom

Stop by the Icom booth and check out the compact, touch and versatile M85 handheld radio. It is built to mil-spec and IP67 waterproof standards for the most inhospitable environments. It offers 5 watts of maximum power VHF and up to 100 programmable channels for land mobile use at 2 watts power. (Proper licensing is required to operate within land mobile frequencies.) Its AquaQuake function prevents a water-logged speaker. It also features weather channels, priority scan and favorite channels function for quick access to often-used channels. $299.99; westmarine.com

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Fusion Apollo WB670 Hideaway System marine audio
Fusion Apollo WB670 Hideaway System Courtesy Fusion

Swing by the Fusion booth to see and listen to the Fusion Apollo WB670 hideaway system and ERX400 wired remote eliminate the need for a stereo source unit on the dash. The WB670 inherits the key audio features of the Apollo RA670, including digital signal processing, and can be mounted in a variety of locations like behind the helm or inside of a center console. It can be controlled through a compatible multifunction display (MFD) via NMEA 2000 or Ethernet, or with the ERX400 wired remote. With a 2.7-inch color display, its slim profile is ideal for spots where mounting depth is limited. $449.99 for the WB670, $229.99 for the ERX400; fusionentertainment.com

Kicker KMC5 Premium Marine Media Center stereo
Kicker KMC5 Premium Marine Media Center Courtesy Kicker

Check out the new Premium Marine Media Center at one of the electronics retailers exhibiting at the show. The Kicker Premium Marine Media Center is a 240-watt source unit for boats that features a color, non-glare LCD screen, RCA output for front and rear subwoofer and a second zone, Bluetooth, four sets of RCA output for easy expansion, AUX RCA input, USB charging, thumb-drive playback and camera/video input with a trigger wire or push button. The video comes in handy as a back-up camera or for watching your skiers or riders. The Premium Marine Media Center is NMEA-2000 compatible and offers an AM/FM/weather-band and is Sirius XM compatible. To locate a Kicker retailer at the show, call Jason Jones at CPS at 954-993-4094. $549; kicker.com

JL Marine Audio Starter Kit for your boat
JL Marine Audio Starter Kit Courtesy JL Marine Audio

If you’re looking for a stereo system for a smaller center console or bay boat, check out the JL Marine Audio Starter Kit at the show. It is designed for boaters looking to add a quality two-speaker stereo or upgrade an older stock system. The kit features a MediaMaster MM-50 marine source unit with a 2.8-inch, full-color LCD display with Bluetooth and NMEA-2000 connectivity, and a 100-watt amplifier. The kit also includes a pair of 6.5-inch JL Marine Audio coaxial speakers designed for harsh marine with white sport grilles and an AM/FM hide-away antenna. $629.99, jlaudio.com

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Si-Tex Wireless Radar in Fort Lauderdale
Si-Tex Wireless Radar Courtesy Si-Tex

Stop at the Si-Tex Marine Electronics book and ask about the Wi-Fi radar networking system, designed to pair with its NavPro series multifunction displays. The Si-Tex MDS-12 digital marine radar connects wirelessly with the Si-Tex 9-inch NavPro 900 and 12-inch NavPro 1200 multi-function displays (MFDs). This eliminates the hassle of snaking a thick cable between the radar and a MFD. The 24-inch dome radar offers 4kW of power and a 36-nautical-mile range. The NavPro series features Si-Tex’s hybrid touch control, a 10Hz GPS receiver, the latest C-Map 4D cartography and a choice of black-box or integrated chirp sonar with a wide range of frequency options. $1,599 (MFD sold separately); si-tex.com


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