MIAMI — For the last few years marine electronics companies have focused on giving boaters more accurate views of the water column and ocean floor with advances in sonar technology. Now these companies have begun to pump out products that improve user visibility above the water — in daylight and at night.
“Don’t let the darkness end your boating day. That’s the message we want to get across,” Jim McGowan, marketing manager for FLIR Maritime, which includes Raymarine, told me during a sea trial at the Miami International Boat Show on a 37-foot Boston Whaler decked out with Raymarine navigation equipment.
Raymarine, Garmin and Furuno introduced new radar systems at the show that use more advanced technologies. (Navico came out with its new radar, Simrad Halo, last year.)
Garmin’s David Dunn, senior manager of marine sales and marketing, and media relations manager Carly Hysell during a press conference at the Garmin display introduced an array of electronics, leading off with the new Garmin solid-state radar.
The GMR Fantom series, which has MotionScope Doppler technology and 40 watts of power, is available in a 4- or 6-foot open array. The Fantom series uses the Doppler processing to detect and highlight moving targets to help users avoid potential collisions, find birds and track weather.
With its pulse-compression technology, Fantom delivers “high resolution while maximizing energy on targets to enhance detection and identification of targets,” Dunn said. Expected to be available in the second quarter this year, the Fantom 4 has a suggested retail price of $6,999.99; the price of the Fantom 6 is $7,499.99.
Raymarine’s Quantum CHIRP radar is the industry’s first recreational marine radar dome featuring CHIRP pulse compression technology, according to McGowan. Quantum CHIRP solid-state radar develops imaging from as close as 9 feet up to 24 miles, said McGowan.
McGowan said Quantum uses multiple compressed radar pulses for enhanced target separation of boats, landmarks, rocks, buoys and weather cells. The radar is designed for smaller boats below about 35 feet, said McGowan, who showed me the technology on two 16-inch gS165 Raymarine multifunction displays.
Quantum CHIRP radar will be available worldwide during the first quarter this year through Raymarine’s authorized network of dealers and retailers, starting at $1,599.99.
Furuno has a new solid-state radar with pulse compression and Doppler frequency shift-sensing technology — the DRS4D-NXT, which uses Furuno’s Target Analyzer function. Targets approaching a boat are colored green or red. Green echoes are targets that are stationary or approaching at a speed of less than 3 knots. Echoes turn red when targets approach at 3 knots or faster.
The system also features Furuno’s RezBoost, which produces sharp, clear, high-resolution images for more detailed targets and less clutter. The system also has a Bird Mode, which adjusts gain and sea settings automatically to help users find birds. With Fast Target Tracking, a speed and course vector is displayed only a few seconds after a target has been selected.