In 2017, the lines between “marine” electronics and “personal” electronics continue to blur as fishfinders, radars, and multifunction displays take technology and design cues from the smartphones and touch screens we use in our everyday lives. The electronics on our boats are becoming more connected to our personal devices and to the cloud, and the result is better performance, greater usability, and an incredible wealth of information at your fingertips every time you hit the water. If you haven’t upgraded your fishfinder in a few years, you’ll be blown away by what’s available and by the incredible technology that can be purchased today for a fraction of what it used to cost to consumers. Take advantage and make the most of your limited time on the water by making it safer and more productive.
Furuno DRS4D-NXT Radar
Furuno’s new solid-state radar with pulse compression uses Doppler technology to pack the performance of an open array radar into a compact 24-inch radome. With Furuno’s Target Analyzer technology, targets that are approaching your vessel automatically change color to help you identify when they are hazardous. Green echoes are targets that stay stationary or are moving away from you, while red echoes are hazardous targets that are moving toward your vessel. Furuno’s RezBoost beam sharpening gives you clarity equivalent to a 2-degree beam open array radar.
Simrad NSS evo3 Multifunction Displays
The next-generation Simrad NSS evo3 multifunction displays push new boundaries with premium features. SolarMAX HD display technology provides high-definition visuals and exceptional clarity with extra-wide viewing angles that are easy to see in both direct sunlight and low light. An updated interface with support for full operation via touchscreen or keypad makes the unit easier to operate when the boat is in motion, and the touchscreen even works when wet. A 10 Hz internal GPS antenna, wide choice of maps, full autopilot integration, engine monitoring interfaces, and TripIntel make it easy to navigate and plan voyages based on fuel range, tide, and detailed trip history.
Lowrance HDS Carbon Multi-Function Displays
The new Lowrance HDS Carbon series adds multi-touch SolarMAX HD screens and dual-channel CHIRP to the features that have made HDS multifunction popular with anglers of all experience levels. The HDS Carbon’s high-tech capabilities include StructureScan 3D with SideScan and DownScan Imaging, StructureMap, broadband radar, and SiriusXM weather chart overlay. A dual-core processor allows anglers to smoothly switch between applications and simultaneously view independent sonar feeds with ease. The series includes 12-, 9- and 7-inch models.
Garmin Fantom Dome Radar
Garmin’s Fantom 18- and 24-inch solid-state dome radars use Doppler processing to detect moving targets in real time, helping users avoid potential collisions, find flocks of birds, and track weather. Upon detection, MotionScope highlights the moving targets on the radar display with an easy-to-see color so that users can navigate around other boats or severe weather, or toward fishing spots where birds are feeding at the surface. When the Echo Trails setting is turned on, a fading “trail” on the screen can help easily identify the direction of the moving targets and potential collision threats. Both Fantom radomes offer excellent range performance from 20 feet to 48 nautical miles and have the ability to see both close- and long-range simultaneously.
Humminbird Helix G2N
$549 – $2,499; Humminbird.com
With a sonar frequency nearly three times greater than traditional 455 kHz frequencies, the Humminbird Helix second-generation networking (G2N) takes sonar to the megahertz range. The result is clear, sharp underwater views with vastly improved “MEGA” Side Imaging and Down Imaging. Select new Helix units also feature built-in Bluetooth, which allows users to sync their smartphones and other devices, delivering text messages, missed calls, and battery life right on the Humminbird display.
Humminbird HB2124 CHIRP Radar
Humminbird’s new compact solid-state radar module uses CHIRP pulse compression technology for outstanding radar imaging at short and long ranges. It offers exceptional target separation technology to display approaching weather, boats, rocks, buoys and landmarks with impressive resolution. The module has a compact footprint, installs easily, and boots quickly for immediate use.
Garmin has added several new chart plotters and combo units to their popular GPSMAP product line, the 742 and 942 touchscreen chart plotters, and the 1042 and 1242 keyed chart plotters. Available with and without built-in sonar, they are designed for the budget-conscious customer who desires premium features. They are compatible with Garmin’s new Fantom Doppler/MotionScope radars.
FLIR Ocean Scout TK
The pocket-sized FLIR Ocean Scout TK creates high-contrast images using heat rather than visible light, making it possible to see boats, buoys, landmarks, and people in total darkness. It is designed to withstand rain, wind, and even a drop into shallow water, and can store up to 1,000 images and four hours of video.
Raymarine Quantum Radar
Raymarine’s Quantum CHIRP Marine Radar, featuring CHIRP pulse-compression technology, uses multiple compressed radar pulses with exclusive target-separation technology to detect targets as close as 18 feet and as far away as 24 nautical miles. The lightweight radome employs Wi-Fi connectivity to display data on Raymarine MFDs and intelligently rejects interference from other radars, reducing noise in congested waterways.
The ICOM M93D VHF marine transceiver with GPS and DSC offers 5 watts of output power and up to nine hours of battery life. It features a large LCD display and a redesigned flat keypad. The handheld floats and comes with dual/tri-watch function and 50-waypoint memory.
Raymarine p70Rs Autopilot Controller
Raymarine’s new autopilot controller features a glass-bridge design to match the look of current Raymarine MFDs. A 3.5-inch oversized LCD provides maximum visibility, bright colors, and sharp contrast. The new autopilot controller is compatible with Raymarine’s Evolution autopilot systems.
Fusion’s portable, waterproof, floating watersports stereo offers built-in Bluetooth audio streaming, AM/FM radio with weather band, and USB audio playback. Boaters and kayakers can easily attach the unit anywhere on board with the Puck-It mount system.
Navionics Boating App
Free (in-app purchases); Navionics.com
The popular Navionics Boating App for iPhone and iPad puts the same detailed charts that come on the best GPS plotters in the palm of your hand. The latest update includes a track timeline that allows you to record your fishing trip and then revisit the track on the map along with photos taken during tracking.
Connect your fishing rod to the “Internet of Things” with the ANGLR Tracker, which seamlessly auto-logs entire fishing trips while you enjoy the day. Use it to track every cast and every catch, and then understand your key patterns of success.
Fish Hunter Pro
This wireless, portable fishfinder for Apple and Android smartphones (and tablets) tracks water temperature, water depth, bottom contour, and fish locations. The sonar transducer floats on the surface of the water and can be cast from shore, trolled behind a boat, or placed in an ice hole. You can even create a custom map of your favorite fishing spots by tracking the depth as you move around.
Vexilar SonarPhone T-Pod
The SonarPhone app connects via Wi-Fi to the T-POD, an ultra-portable Wi-Fi transmitter system that has a self-contained battery and can be pulled behind your boat or cast from shore. Turn your smartphone or tablet into a fully functional sonar system that works without cell phone coverage—the SonarPhone creates its own Wi-Fi hotspot and you can share your signal with as many people as you wish.