Technology is rapidly advancing across all fronts in the marine industry, from boats and construction techniques to electronics, propulsion, accessories and much more. Chris Rabil
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Modern technology is a combination of applied science and good old-fashioned innovation: Identify a problem and then offer a solution (or multiple solutions). There is little doubt that the world of high-tech graces every corner of the marine industry, from faster boats and more powerful electronics to acoustically refined speaker systems for more thump on those all-important bass notes. Kidding aside, it’s a great time to experience all the technological solutions that make the overall fishing and boating experience even more enjoyable.
Propulsion and Accessories
MTU 12V 2000 M96X Courtesy Rolls Royce
The highly successful MTU 12V 2000 M96L, rated at 1,945 hp, has now received a power upgrade to 2,002 hp and is named the MTU 12V 2000 M96X. The engines first debuted in the Viking 68, and the M96X will also be installed in the new Viking 64 (Hull No. 1), as well as other Viking 64s and 68s currently in production. The new engine is also being installed in dozens of custom vessels currently under construction.
Like the earlier MTU 12V 2000 M96L engine, the MTU 12V 2000 M96X has superior engine-operating characteristics, with no smoke on acceleration, extremely quiet operation, and superior acceleration in comparison with competitive 12-cylinder engines available today. The M96X also has an industry-leading power-to-weight ratio, which translates increased horsepower into faster vessel speeds. With a customer-friendly maintenance schedule and an available 11-year extended warranty, the MTU 12V 2000 M96X is ideal to power any sportboat between 55 and 70 feet.
Johnson & Towers
With authorized MTU distributors Johnson & Towers, FDDA, Pacific Power Group and associated MTU dealers participating, MTU will have a new “tech at tournaments” program for 2023 to provide on-site MTU service at several major billfish tournaments. According to Bob Shomo Jr., senior vice president for Johnson & Towers: “The spirit of the program is to have a trained MTU tech ready to repair the vessel and keep our customers fishing the tournament. Techs walk the docks and perform 15-minute complimentary engine checks. Overtime is preapproved, and we have common spare parts on hand. Our hope is that our techs never turn a wrench, but in case they are needed, they are there.”
In addition, Johnson & Towers will have an authorized MTU dealer—Marine Center Services—located in Los Sueños, Costa Rica, with an office adjacent to Los Sueños Marina, that will provide direct support during the Costa Rica tournament season. Shomo says, “We will be sponsoring the events and have the tech-at-tournaments program running to support the MTU-powered customers there as well.”
Watch: A belly-strip teaser is a great way to raise marlin and sailfish. Learn to rig one here.
Following the introduction of its most powerful 12-cylinder engine to date, with 2,000 hp, the new MAN V12X boasts a 30-liter displacement and 2,200 hp at 2,300 rpm.
“The MAN V12X marks the start of the next generation of yacht engines,” says Werner Kübler, head of engineering for MAN. “We are acknowledging this milestone in engine technology with the new name ‘V12X’ and giving the engine cover a distinctive X design. The redesign of the MAN V12X is accompanied by extra displacement, and we have retained the excellent power-to-weight ratio that MAN engines are known for.”
In addition, MAN has approved all marine engines in its current product range for use with renewable diesel fuel. This will allow customers to replace conventional petroleum-based fuel with renewable diesel, which releases approximately 30 percent fewer particles and approximately 10 percent less nitrogen oxide in the exhaust.
Walker first embarked on the quest to reduce diesel-engine intake noise with the introduction of the Everquiet Air Filter Silencer over 15 years ago. It was a drop-in replacement, perfect for engines already equipped with a factory CCV system, and delivered excellent results when retrofitted to DDC, MTU, Caterpillar, MAN, Cummins, Yanmar, Scania and other engines. It remains a top seller today. Walker will now offer the Thunderdome air filter as a retrofit upgrade for any CCE Airsep. The new filters are available in 8-, 10- and 12-inch diameters, and can greatly reduce turbo whine.
Vetus Maxwell Bow Pro Boosted 300 series Courtesy Vetus Maxwell
They’re billed as the world’s most powerful DC thrusters: the Bow Pro Boosted 300 series from Vetus Maxwell. Suitable for vessels to 95 feet in length, the three new thrusters offer significant benefits, including an innovative DC-to-DC charging technology, exceptionally quiet operation, precision proportional control and long run times, without fear of overuse or overheating. Chris DeBoy, US president of Vetus Maxwell, says: “This technology guarantees these thrusters are the best-quality solution for almost every boat. They combine features such as full-proportional control and built-in charging, with no maintenance on the brushless motor. They also answer growing demand for easy integration with 48-volt systems.” The units charge the bow thruster’s batteries using Vetus’ internal three-stage charging process, which enables connection to a 24-volt power supply to recharge the 48-volt battery bank to keep the thruster batteries at their optimal level. Installation and maintenance of Bow Pro Boosted thrusters are fast and easy, with the units integrating seamlessly with the proprietary Vetus V-CAN system for plug-and-play convenience.
Another recent innovation from Vetus is its collaboration with Mercury Marine to enable the integration of its Bow Pro thrusters with Mercury’s Joystick Piloting for Outboards. The compatible systems join seamlessly to enhance the joystick piloting experience for better control of any boat with two or more Mercury Verado engines. The new systems integration allows Mercury to capitalize on the unique features and advantages of the Vetus Bow Pro thruster range, including the NMEA 2000-certified CAN bus interface, allowing control of the proportional thruster from Mercury’s joystick. Further benefits are the built-in safety features, enabling boaters to extensively use their system without overload or overheating issues, and the industry’s first boosted charging capabilities as standard with the Bow Pro Boosted range.
Unlike standard shaft bearings, KryptoQuiet was developed specifically for sport fishing. After weeks of tournament fishing with some of the top pros in the sport, plus an additional five years of research and development, the line was finally ready for launch. Brand engineers developed a patent-pending proprietary cloth and utilize resin with embedded nano-lubricant particles, which results in a bearing with a low drag coefficient, or capacity for sound resonance, due to friction. KryptoQuiet has limitless applications because it does not require any type of petrochemical lubricant and comes in many dimensional shapes. The installation is quick and simple, no special tools or glues are required, it’s available in all standard and metric dimensions, and it ships worldwide.
With a new meticulously engineered and robustly built electrohydraulic jack-plate system engineered for today’s popular outboard engines up to 600 hp, Dometic Marine has the capability to not only provide a superior ride control and performance to a new class of boats, but also introduce advanced integration. The Mega Plate can handle engines up to and including the new V-12 600 hp Mercury outboard. It will be offered in 6-, 8- and 10-inch setbacks to accommodate a range of installations, and will come in two versions: a standard bolt pattern for Yamaha XTO and Mercury 450R engines, and a wide bolt pattern for Mercury 500 and 600 hp outboards.
This new system brings the many advantages of jack-plate engine-height control to today’s large offshore center-consoles, including better top speed, fuel economy, and shallow-water hole-shot performance. A built-in SmartStick linear position sensor and the ability to easily integrate with Dometic digital-switching technology compatible with all HTML5-capable multifunction displays supply complete control of multiple engine-height positions with the touch of a finger.
ElectroSea SeaStrong seal-less marine pump Courtesy Electrosea
From the company that revolutionized onboard antifouling with its Clear-Line system, ElectroSea has introduced its next innovative product: the SeaStrong seal-less marine pump. Engineered to withstand harsh marine conditions and provide owners with reliable service over the long haul, the SeaStrong pump uses a seal-less, magnetically coupled drive. The pump head is built with a reinforced polypropylene, so it will not corrode or tarnish, and it is powered by a stainless-steel IP55-rated washdown motor for reliability.
“Before ElectroSea, challenges associated with a boat’s seawater system were not appreciated,” ElectroSea CEO Daniel Cosentino says. “First, ElectroSea addressed marine growth in the seawater lines and eliminated that problem with the ClearLine system. Then we found that most of the pumps were unreliable because they leak at the seals, and the motors were not suited for the marine environment. To address the pump issue, we designed the SeaStrong pump.” To highlight the reliability of those products, ElectroSea offers a two-year warranty on the SeaStrong pump when it is used with ClearLine.
A second new product is the ElectroStrainer, which consists of three components: an innovative biofouling-prevention device, a hydrodynamic sea strainer, and a smart flow-monitoring system, all in one package. ElectroStrainer’s Strainer Alert technology uses ElectroSea’s ClearVis flow sensor and control system, and displays a message if debris, grass or seaweed is in the straining basket. Seawater flow rate is provided in gallons or liters per minute. There is no scheduled maintenance, and ElectroStrainer can be installed in new builds or retrofitted on existing boats as a drop-in replacement. Installation takes just a few hours while the boat remains in the water.
Simrad’s NSX, the company’s latest multifunction display, is based on a new operating system built from the ground up, with an innovative interface and a new intuitive touchscreen experience. Charts include powerful C-Map navigation capabilities and compatibility with sonar, radar and autopilot systems; it’s available in 7-, 9- and 12-inch displays.
“Electronics have evolved so much over the decades,” says Mike Fargo, executive vice president of Simrad Yachting, “but with this particular product, we’ve really focused on making navigation both easier and more accessible than ever. I love that about this product. With the NSX, our development team reimagined and redefined what a chart plotter and fish finder can be for consumers.”
The new Furuno DFF3-UHD chirp fish finder is capable of transmitting across low, medium and high frequency ranges. Courtesy Furuno
New from Furuno is the DFF3-UHD High-Power TruEcho chirp fish finder for the NavNet TZtouch3. The DFF3-UHD provides an incredible 2 or 3 kW of power output to a compatible broadband transducer, transmitting across a spectrum of frequencies to ensure that the returns on your display come back sharp and clear at every range. With proprietary digital signal processing, it interprets returns from structure, bait, and gamefish with unparalleled clarity, accuracy, and resolution at depths to 15,000 feet. Capable of transmitting across low, medium and high chirp frequency ranges, its high-power output translates directly into greater resolution and depth capability. The DFF3-UHD is also compatible with the versatile NavNet TZtouch2 TZT2BB black-box MFD. A compatible high-powered chirp transducer is required.
Garmin Quatix 7 series GPS smartwatches Courtesy Garmin
With three models in the Quatix 7 series of multisport GPS smartwatches—the Quatix 7, Quatix 7 Sapphire and Quatix 7X Solar—Garmin provides comprehensive connectivity with compatible Garmin chart plotters and other devices to offer autopilot control, data streaming, Fusion-Link entertainment system control, integrated tide data on the watch face, new alarms for better situational awareness, and much more. The system uses traditional button controls or the new touchscreen interface to access selections. Advanced smartwatch features for all-day wearability include built-in activity profiles for watersports and land sports, performance metrics, smart notifications, 24/7 health monitoring, and access to the Garmin Connect app and Garmin Pay contactless payment. The watches also include pre-loaded maps for thousands of golf courses and ski resorts worldwide, and have pre-loaded TopoActive maps for outdoor adventures.
The new Auto Guidance+ feature for the Navionics Boating app combines the best of Garmin and Navionics automatic routing technologies to deliver faster route-calculation speeds, smoother suggested pathways, and more. Improved route-calculation times can now deliver a suggested path from point A to point B while avoiding harsh turns, and new height considerations provide better suggested routes for vessels that require greater overhead clearance when navigating channels, inlets, marina entrances, and more. Unlimited waypoints enables users to mark important points of interest along their route or highlight fishing hotspots. An annual subscription to the Navionics Boating app includes advanced features and premium chart overlays such as high-resolution relief shading, SonarChart Shading with satellite overlay, and sonar imagery.
C-Map Navigation App Courtesy C-MAP
Genesis, C-Map’s crowdsourced mapping data, is now available on the C-Map navigation app as well as Lowrance, B&G and Simrad apps powered by C-Map charts. The Genesis layer allows all users across the world to see C-Map’s extensive crowdsourced database of marine-mapping data that has been reviewed and quality-controlled by C-Map engineers before being published to the public as an option to view on the app’s charts. User uploads to Genesis have logged nearly 1 million total hours on the water over the past five years to supplement official charting data provided by government bathymetric agencies across the world.
“The addition of Genesis on the C-Map app is just another enhancement that allows users to get the best possible mapping information,” says Max Cecchini, C-Map’s executive vice president. “Genesis has been around for many years, but getting this directly in the hands of boaters [via] smartphones was a key step in taking advantage of this crowdsourced data. Adding this layer as a simple toggle on your smartphone app is an option that can benefit everyone.”
Fusion expands with the premium Signature Series 3i. Courtesy Fusion
Onboard entertainment has come a long way in the past few years. One of the brands leading the charge is Fusion, which has introduced the Signature Series 3i premium audio range. This new line expands and improves on its award-winning legacy line with new installation solutions, added marinization, and a new Sports Gray grille color option. Signature Series 3i delivers seamless plug-and-play installation, with added protection against the marine environment thanks to its new water-resistant connectors. And with a fully integrated Fusion audio system, including a Fusion DSP-enabled stereo and tune-free Apollo Series amplifiers, the Signature Series 3i maximizes audio performance and enhances ease-of-use for Fusion products by delivering optimized sound reproduction to each individual zone. For those who want to add some color, select models feature Fusion’s industry-first CRGBW LED illumination, which combines traditional red, green, and blue LEDs with cool white and warm white for an unprecedented spectrum of color, from soft pastels to vibrant hues. The new line is water-rated to IP65 with ISO12216 compliance and engineered to Fusion’s signature standard for protection from the elements.
If you need more functionality from a digital lighting-control system, or if you want to add physical switches or integrate with a third-party switching system, check out the Pico S8 expansion module from Lumitec. This allows for third-party digital-switching systems, such as EmpirBus and cZone, to seamlessly connect to a Lumitec Poco module and activate virtual Poco commands through their own system user interfaces. This means preprogrammed lighting commands can be activated without the need to exit the system’s user-interface screen, while advanced Poco functions can still be accessed as needed. The S8 also provides the ability to assign Poco virtual switch commands to physical mechanical switches, which means your MFD can remain on a dedicated screen or even be turned off, and a physical switch will activate the virtual switch command through the Poco module. It’s a simple inline installation using the standard two-wire system, which can also be retrofitted without additional wiring runs. It’s an innovative solution for onboard lighting.
A mobile-tech innovator that provides connectivity solutions for a variety of industries, KVH has introduced the KVH One hybrid network and groundbreaking TracNet terminals for fast, reliable connectivity at sea and the dock. The TracNet H30, H60 and H90 terminals feature satellite, cellular and Wi-Fi technology under one dome, with intelligent automatic switching based on availability, cost and the quality of the data connection to continuously deliver the best performance. The KVH One network includes more than 106 million square miles of satellite coverage using KVH’s global, layered HTS network powered by Intelsat. The network offers VSAT speeds as fast as 20/3 Mbps (download/upload).
Subscribers also enjoy integrated support for 5G/LTE cellular service in 150-plus countries, as well as the flexibility to add user-supplied SIM cards for local service. Plus, TracNet terminals can connect to shore-based Wi-Fi networks using the integrated Wi-Fi bridge for additional speed and cost-saving benefits.
“With TracNet terminals and the KVH One hybrid network, we continue our legacy of disrupting the maritime market with game-changing innovations,” says Brent Bruun, KVH’s president and CEO. “We believe that they will deliver the best possible connectivity performance for nearly all types of vessels, even in rough seas or at high speeds.”
All three TracNet terminals feature tuned reflectors, multiaxis stabilization, stabilized skew, digital IMUs, and a commercial-grade rotary joint with continuous azimuth for outstanding reception, improved signal efficiency, and high-performance tracking. The single-cable design and AC- and DC-power options make installation easy.
Nightwave is an ultra-lowlight camera built around Sionyx’s patented Black Silicon CMOS sensor. It allows mariners to easily spot obstacles and debris in moonless starlight without white light or expensive thermal cameras while navigating safely, avoiding collisions, and maximizing time on the water. With easy mounting and setup, Nightwave can stream video to a mobile device via Wi-Fi or directly connect to other hardware via analog output, displaying clear-color digital night vision. It’s also rugged, rated to IP67 standards.
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Smartgyro SG series Courtesy Smartgyro
With a mission to elevate the entire stabilization category with a steady focus on product innovation, Smartgyro has introduced the SG series range of gyrostabilizers offering superior roll reduction for boats from 30 to 80 feet. The line also offers a key advantage: in-place service and maintenance. Smartgyro devised a modular mechanical design, which incorporates the sphere with a flywheel and base frame, enabling full disassembly of the stabilizer. Unique to the market, the units can be fully serviced, maintained and assembled directly inside the boat, with no need to remove the gyro from the vessel. With seamless installation and onboard maintenance, owners and operators have more uninterrupted time on the water, and service costs are minimized. For installers, there are increased opportunities to fit the stabilizer units into smaller access spaces, utilizing the capability to divide the Smartgyro base frame into individual parts.
Tiller Fabrication and Design
Gaffstro titanium gaffs Courtesy Gaffstro
When retired US Air Force engineer, machinist and welder Paul Wanamaker turned his creativity to fishing, the result was pretty incredible. His lines of rods and custom gaffs have attracted the attention of some of the top names in the sport. “The aerospace experience I’ve been a part of for so long applies uniquely, yet cleanly, to the marine industry,” he says. “I believe that our products not only supply the customers new options and a strategic advantage, but also higher-quality options that really raise the bar.”
His requirements for the Gaffstro gaff: function at the very highest level, be incredibly strong and worth the cost, be made in America (including materials sourcing), and be beautiful in design. The result is the world’s only billet titanium alloy gaff. It’s nearly half the weight of stainless steel and 200 percent stronger. Even the smaller of the two sizes is able to lift well over 600 pounds. Each mirror-finished gaff is handmade and can be anodized in nearly any color, including an amorphous diamond coating, which produces a perfectly shiny black coating that is also incredibly resistant to abrasion.
The Authority from Penn Fishing Courtesy Penn
The world of premium spinning reels just grew a bit larger with the introduction of the Authority from Penn Fishing. This new high-end series boasts an impressive IPX8-rated sealed body and spool that allows it to be submerged to 1 meter for 30 minutes and stands up to the most extreme saltwater exposure without suffering water intrusion. The CNC gear technology with a stainless-steel gear train and pinion gear is designed for better support overall for long-term durability. It is machined out of a solid piece of metal, ensuring exact alignment and smooth performance, and maximizing torque. The full-metal body, side plate, and rotor keep gears protected and eliminate flex in the reel’s frame, ensuring rigidity under the heaviest loads. The Slammer drag system with Dura-Drag offers maximum drag pressure and features silky-smooth carbon washers to eliminate hesitation, even under extreme drag settings. The washers are impregnated with a phenolic bonding agent to reduce wear.
“We designed the Authority to be the ultimate premium reel, focused on overall refinement, smoothness and power,” says Ben Joyce, senior category manager. “Using the best materials to support our reel systems and create maximum performance, we took the best of the Penn reel technologies and then leveled them up by focusing on the smallest details, like the screw-head style, backup systems, and how we supported the gear systems. Our benchmark for the Authority is to be better than the leading premium reels in the industry.”
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