Boating is a gear-driven passion, and there’s no better place to see the latest gear than at this year’s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (Oct. 27 to 31) where you’ll find a wide range of exhibitors, including the leading brands in marine electronics, most of these concentrated the marine electronics tent at the Bahia Mar venue. Yet there are also marine electronics retailers with booths at the show. No matter where you look, you will discover some of the coolest high-technology products for navigation, fishing, onboard entertainment, security, communications, and more. Let’s take a look at some latest marine electronics that you can see at this year’s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
Icom IC-M510 VHF with WLAN
While you’re at the show, be sure to check out the state-of-the-art Icom ICM-510 fixed-mount VHF radio. What makes this new VHF special is built-in command and control using your smart device via Icom’s WLAN function. You can use the Icom RS-M500 app to turn your mobile phone into a wireless mic or a remote controller in substitution for the Icom CommandMic. The VHF will connect with up to three smart devices. The M510 is also available with an integrated AIS receiver to show real-time AIS traffic information on the color TFT LCD display. With built-in GPS, this VHF also can guide you to a designated waypoint. It allows you to assign up 100 destinations as waypoints. $599.99; icomamerica.com
Garmin Surround View Camera System
The new Surround View from Garmin will grab lots of attention from boaters at the show. That’s because this intelligent, six-camera system that offers a 360-degree bird’s-eye view around the boat to eliminate blind spots, maximize visibility, situational awareness and safety around the vessel in tight maneuvering situations such as docking in a crowded marina. The 1080p cameras include a forward-looking camera at the bow, a rear-looking camera on the aft, and two side-looking cameras on both the port and starboard sides. When engaged, Surround View displays a full overhead stitched image with 360-degree real-time video views from around the vessel directly on compatible Garmin chartplotters or multi-function displays. Captains can view one or two cameras simultaneously with the bird’s-eye image, and even zoom in and pan around with individual camera views. It al;so provides a number of augmented reality features including a visual bumper and distance markers. Available as an OEM option on new boats only. Visit garmin.com to learn more.
BRP Premium Audio System by JL Audio
JL Audio’s Premium Audio System for the innovative new Sea-Doo Switch pontoon jet boat series from BRP is engineered to deliver rich, powerful sound when blasting through the water at full speed, without compromising the modularity of the pontoon. Priced at $3,999 and available as part of a package upgrade or sold through BRP dealers, the system seamlessly integrates into the moveable corner tables of the modular deck and includes four 6.5-inch JL Audio M3 coaxial speakers powered by a 280-watt 4-channel MX amplifier. A 10-inch sub is powered by a 500-watt mono MX amplifier for booming bass. The coaxial speakers feature RGB illumination that ties into BRP’s app-based controller. $3,999 upgrade on Sea-Doo Switch pontoon jet boats. Visit sea-doo.com to learn more.
Raymarine Cyclone Radar
The new Cyclone chirp pulse-compression solid-state radar from Raymarine will also garner lots of attention from showgoers, if for no other reason than the futuristic design of the open-array scanners. Yet there’s so much more, including both Doppler and conventional scan modes, bird mode, navigation mode, and unlimited dual range mode. RangeFusion technology lets Cyclone simultaneously show the pictures from short and a long range simultaneously, offering a range up to 96 miles. Designed to fit onto a wider range of vessels, the scanners are only 13.2 inches tall and weigh 51 pounds. The aerodynamic design allows it to start and run in wind speeds up to 100 knots. Cyclone will be offered with a 3-, 4- or 6-foot antenna arrays and with either a 55-watt or 110-watt pedestal and variable rotation speeds up to 60 RPM. A 100-target ARPA target tracking system is standard on all models. Pricing starts at $6,999.99 for a 3-foot 55-watt model, and tops out at $9,749.99 for a 110-watt 6-foot model. To learn more, visit raymarine.com.
Optimus All-Electric Steering from Dometic
If you’re interested in a simple and effortless way to steering powerful outboard-powered boats, be sure to check out the Optimus all-electric steering from Dometic at the Fort Lauderdale show. The Optimus system serves as a direct replacement for hydraulic steering for outboards. Its drive train, sensors and electronics integrate with an electronic helm, Optimus joystick, EPS and autopilot systems. It eliminates the need for hydraulic hoses, fluid and purging the system of air. It works with single, twin, triple and quad installations. Programmable settings include adjustable speed-sensitive lock-to-lock turns, and adjustable speed-sensitive wheel effort. $5,700 for a single-outboard system, $9,700 for twins. Check it at dometic.com before you head to see it in-person at the show.
ACR Bivy Stick
While it might sound like a tasty treat from one of the many boat-show food vendors, the ACR Bivy Stick is actually a two-way satellite messenger and mobile app that offers an affordable option for sending SMS messages, tracking and sharing locations, accessing charts, viewing weather forecasts and initiating a distress call. Requiring a subscription fee, the easy-to-use device weighs just 3½ ounces and works with a smartphone. Working anywhere with a view of the sky, the 4½-inch tall device features a high-power antenna for reliable connectivity. An SOS button contacts rescue services in an emergency, with SOS also available through the app. $349.95 plus $49.99 monthly subscription fee. Check it out at the show and/or visit acrartex.com.
Glowmex weBBoat 4G Live EVO Dome
If you’re looking for an internet connect aboard your boat, the compact, lightweight Glomex weBBoat 4G Live EVO dome can deliver. It provides stable, high-speed internet connectivity as far as 15 miles from shore, and is ideal for smaller boats with limited space It incorporates two 4G/3G antennas, one Wi-Fi antenna and an integrated 3G/4G/Wi-Fi router to create a hotspot that allows up to 24 unique Wi-Fi-enabled devices to be used simultaneously. Selling for $619, it can also automatically switch from cellular data to Wi-Fi signal such as at a marina. The router uses a single SIM card slot in the 8-inch-tall by 5 ½-inch-diameter dome. To learn more before you head to the show, visit glomex.us
Fusion MS-RA60 Marine Stereo
Do like you rock the boat with your favorite tunes? Then check out the MS-RA60 marine stereo Fusion Entertainment. It features an anti-fogging display and compact design. It lets you stream music via Bluetooth connectivity with the Fusion-Link app, and allows for wireless control using ANT-compatible smartwatch or the ARX70 remote. There’s volume control for two independent audio zones, with Class D amplification to power up to four speakers. The MS-RA60 also includes a built-in audio broadcasting tuner to access a wide of radio stations. MSRP is $199.99. You can learn more at fusionentertainment.com.
Humminbird Mega Live Imaging
While you’re at the show, be sure to look at Humminbird’s Mega Live Imaging technology. It delivers the life-like clarity and detail that’s reminiscent of medical ultrasound imaging. Fish and structure appear in real-time, Mega Live Imaging employs an optional transducer that mounts to the shaft of a trolling motor with a supplied Ethernet and power cable connected to a compatible Humminbird multifunction display. Once installed, you can adjust Mega Imaging view to one of three modes by manually twisting the transducer. Choose between Down, Forward or Landscape views. Effective range is 150 feet. MSRP is $1,499 for the tranducer package. Visit humminbird.com to learn more before you head to show.
Next Generation Navigation App – C-MAP, Simrad & Lowrance
You’ll want to stop by the Navico booth at the show and check out the next-generation mobile apps for C-MAP, Lowrance and Simrad. All have been upgraded, offering the latest nautical charts, 24-hour weather overlay, waypoint management and route planning capabilities for free. With Premium, at just $14.99 for a 12-month global subscription, features such as GPS position and full navigation capabilities, AIS reception/tracking, as well as five-day weather overlays and shaded relief charts are unlocked. The Lowrance and Simrad apps, built on C-MAP cartography, also offer mirroring and control of the respective multifunction displays. Available for both Apple and Android smart devices.
Furuno NXT Radar with New 19-inch Radome
This year at the show, check out the Furuno NXT radar with a compact new 19-inch radome. It’s compatible with NavNet TZtouch, TZtouch2, or TZtouch3 MFDs and boasts Furuno’s NXT solid-state doppler technology and the same features and modes as provided by larger NXT radar models. Designated at the DRS2DNXT, it offers a 48-nautical-mile range, as well as Target Analyze, RezBoost beam sharpening, FTT (Fast Target Tracking), Bird Mode, Rain Mode, and dual-range capability. With Target Analyzer doppler technology, green echoes are stationary targets, landmasses, or targets approaching your vessel at a velocity of fewer than 3 knots. Returns shift to red when an object approaches your vessel at a speed of 3 knots or faster, independently of your own ship’s speed. It will be available in early 2022, but you can grab a sneak peek at the show. Visit furunousa.com to learn more.