Things are just things, right, and they don’t really die. But during a recent conference call with NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey, a genuine feeling of grief bubbled up within me. And since I can’t keep my mouth shut, I learned that some of our “Nation’s Nautical Chartmakers” are also feeling the pain. The demise of the traditional chart is going to be sad for many of us, no doubt about it. But please don’t jump to dire conclusions until you know all that NOAA plans…
Boats that spend a lot of time in the water typically have bottom paint applied to reduce fouling growth. Transducers are in the same water as the rest of the boat, but most bottom paint can’t be used on transducers. Unfortunately, the paints compatible with transducers aren’t as effective. Propspeed, the New Zealand based company that makes coatings for props, shafts, and underwater lights, has introduced Foulfree for transducers. Foulfree is a foul-release product, not a biocide and it’s the first product certified by Airmar for use on their transducers.
Most boaters carry around an impressively powerful and easy to use computer in their pockets: their smartphone. Smartphones have enough processing power, sensors and capabilities to augment or possibly even replace dedicated navigation equipment onboard your boat. Mobile phone and tablet apps for boating have steadily improved and today offer a compelling set of functionalities that can make boating both safer and easier.
Long Maretron experience has taught me that the key benefit of boat monitoring is not screens of sensor readings, though they can be useful; it’s warnings and alarms. Done right — which is not easy — they can help a boat operate longer without major issues, but with a more relaxed operator. So I’m pleased to report that the new Kobelt Vitals offers similarly sophisticated alerting in a freshly thought-out, reasonably priced, and very flexible design that may be just right for many mid-size vessels…
When I outfitted Have Another Day to begin cruising I wanted better visibility of several areas of the boat. IP cameras are the natural way to tackle this but once I realized I wanted five or more cams the cost of MFD manufacturer branded models quickly became prohibitive. Fortunately I’d already decided to go with Raymarine MFDs and some digging revealed strong support for a commonly used IP video standard.
Have Another Day’s waste tank monitors have never been very accurate and that’s only gotten worse as time has gone by. In well over 10,000 nautical miles of cruising we’ve only overflowed a waste tank once, but that’s once too many. So, when the gauges on both tanks recently seemed to completely stop working, I decided it was time to find a new solution.
When Digital Yacht announced their TriNav GPS160, I was impressed with the details. For starters, it offers high-performance GPS for $190, and it can integrate with most any navigation electronics environment because it has numerous interface options and its various user-selectable settings are done internally with good old DIP switches. But the cherry on top is support for a manual MoB alarm button that should work with most any current multifunction display, along with some PC charting programs and mobile apps…
At the NMEA Conference last week, FLIR previewed the M300 line of marine cameras with five models including the company’s first visible light only camera. They also debuted Color Thermal Vision (CTV) and MSX edge enhancing imaging technologies. Ben Ellison and I took a night ride on the FLIR/Raymarine demo boat in busy Norfolk Harbor and saw how all this technology can enhance situational awareness.
Vesper has cemented a reputation for high performance, well-thought-out, feature-rich products. So, when they tease that “The future is coming” as they have in their recent promotional material it’s worth paying attention. It turns out Vesper’s take on the future is about continuing their track record of innovative features while expanding their capabilities to VHF radios and boat monitoring.
The goal of the makeover certainly sounded like cruising bliss, but could a 100hp Yanmar diesel really propel a 39-foot trawler while also producing gobs of 12 volt DC to feed both SeaKeeper gyrostabilization and a huge battery bank? I’m pleased to report that the dual MGDC 250 amp alternator setup seen above on the actual trawler Bliss has proven my skepticism unwarranted, and an already beloved cruiser became a “new boat” in the process.