The Future is Now: New 2016 Electronics - Quimby's Cruising Guide

The Future is Now: New 2016 Electronics

In my lifetime we’ve come from using a compass, stopwatch and paper charts to find our way on the water to a 5-year-old being able to plot a course on modern navigation electronics. And that’s just the beginning! Innovation has invaded places we never expected, as evidenced by the latest introductions for 2016.

Minn Kota Ulterra
Every trolling motor manufacturer now offers models incorporating GPS and autopilot. Minn Kota’s new Ulterra just won the Innovation Award at the Miami International Boat Show, and it’s no wonder. It will track your fishing path for 5 miles and at the end will automatically take you back on that same path, no matter how serpentine. Tired of dropping anchor dozens of times a day to fish your favorite spots? Press a button and all these new trollers will hold you within feet of your chosen spot, even in wind and current! The Ulterra lists for between $2,029 and $2,600, depending on the model you choose. minnkotamotors.com

FLIR Ocean Scout TK & ONE
Want to take your boat out at night for dinner, or maybe drop in on the pre-dawn bite, but don’t have the confidence or skill to do it safely? FLIR, a company that makes advanced instruments for the military and maritime industries, and also owns Raymarine, has introduced two affordable products that answer this need. Affordable is a key word here, because until now thermal-imaging technology has been prohibitively expensive. A monocular called Ocean Scout TK ($599 retail) lights night up like day and has adjustable magnification. Still too much? You can now buy the FLIR ONE accessory that plugs into your iPhone or Android and does the same thing for just $299. You really must see it to believe it. flir.com

Humminbird Helix 360
The Helix 360 is a new sonar transducer that mates with a number of Humminbird’s display units. Mounted on a pole, it drops down into the water below propeller depth and scans 360 degrees around your vessel, scribing about a 300-foot diameter circle. With it you can see ahead, behind and to both sides for unprecedented coverage. It boasts four different signal rates for high- and low-resolution. View on split screen to combine it with other sonar functions or your chartplotter. humminbird.com

Lowrance Precision 9 Compass
The new Precision 9 compass sends all others packing. Far superior to both magnetic and fluxgate compasses, it supplies the most accurate heading and rate-of-turn information possible. Thanks to the NMEA 2000 protocol, the Precision 9 has but a single wire for plug-and-play ease. It measures motion on nine separate axes, is less than 5 inches by 1½ inches and can mount on any flat surface. Suggested retail is about $645. lowrance.com.

Fusion MS-IP700
Fusion, a Kiwi company, is the only manufacturer with audio and entertainment products designed exclusively for the marine environment. The company introduced its new MS-IP700 marine stereo for iPod at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show last fall. It allows you to connect your boat directly to your phone or other Apple product for file streaming. It lists for $450. fusionelectronics.com.

Furuno DRS4D-NXT
Furuno’s newest 24-inch radome system employs Doppler technology to analyze targets. Those heading toward you show in red while those going away from you or that aren’t moving show green, offering the ultimate in situational awareness. The DRS4D-NXT carries a suggested retail price of $2,600. furuno.com

Garmin quatix3
It can’t kill a bad guy, but other than that, James Bond never had a watch more capable. The quatix 3 allows you to stream data from any of your Garmin electronics to navigate, monitor your engines, set an anchor watch, track a man overboard, tally all the fish you catch, count how many steps you take while running and — well, it will do just about anything short of brewing a cup of coffee! With its Sight-N-Go navigation, the GPS/GLONASS-enabled unit allows you to pick a point on the horizon, set a course, and it will guide you to stay on heading. It also has solar and lunar calendars for the best fishing times. We can only scratch the surface of this watch’s abilities here. MSRP for this marine miracle is $499. garmin.com.

Author: Dean Travis Clarke is regular contributor to HeartLand Boating

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