ORLANDO, Fla. — Two of the major marine electronics companies — Navico and Raymarine — pushed out lower-cost products at the 57th International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades that are aimed at securing a high volume of buyers.
“We’re making these technologies available to the masses who may have never had them before,” Gordon Sprouse, marketing director for Navico, which owns Lowrance, Simrad and B&G brands, told me after the company introduced its Lowrance Outboard Pilot and Lowrance Elite-3x color sonar/fishfinder module at a press conference Wednesday.
With its 3.5-inch screen and 320-by-240 resolution, the Elite-3x hits the market at a $99 price point. I checked out the unit on display at the Lowrance booth later in the day. The unit delivers sharp images and the user interface seemed intuitive and menus were easy to operate. It comes with a quick-release bracket and transducer with a power cord.
The Lowrance Outboard Pilot, which is for single-outboard-powered boats under 30 feet, is $999 for hydraulic systems. The autopilot pack features Lowrance Smart Steer control for HDS Gen2 or HDS Gen2 Touch displays. The company also said its MotorGuide Ci5 with Pinpoint GPS can be linked to either of the Gen2 displays.
I also checked out the new Raymarine CP200 SideVision sonar at the Raymarine booth. Raymarine global product manager Adam Murphy showed me what the unit can do. It works with dual independent oversized transducer pods.
“The larger the [transducer unit], the sharper the image,” Murphy told me. “The transducer [pods] are independently adjustable and can be positioned in three different positions for three different angle views, depending on depth of water. And it can present images out to 600 feet to either side of the boat.”
With Raymarine’s aSeries 9-inch MFD, Murphy showed me images of a wreck at the bottom of New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee. The CP200 is $609.99, which includes the sonar module itself and transducer.
It’s hard to believe these types of technologies can now be had for hundreds instead of thousands of dollars. One of the first electronics units I purchased back in 1998 was a monochrome GPS/fishfinder combo unit with 5-inch screen that I got for a great price — back then — of about $500.
I’ll be checking out the Lowrance products today on a lake here in the Orlando area. The autopilot and new fishfinder will be mounted on an 18-foot Lund powerboat.