Unlike other segments of the boating and fishing industry, technological leaps happen in marine electronics as rapidly as a 100-pound tarpon strips the drag on a spinning rod. In fact, every year these electronics change just as quickly as the world of land-based electronics – and that’s mighty fast. So, what’s in store for 2013? Check out these hot new goodies:
1. Raymarine Dragonfly – This combo fishfinder-chartplotter unit is unlike those of yesteryear because it combines a multi-frequency sonar burst (commonly known as CHIRP) with a high-frequency down-scanning view. In effect, you get an enhanced “traditional” fishfinder that enjoys better resolution and target separation side-by-side with high-def views. The really shocking aspect of the Dragonfly,however, is it’s cost: with an MSRP of $649, it’s a fraction of what CHIRP cost just months ago. Interesting? Check out a more detailed review and see the video I shot of the unit in use at the Miami Boat Show.
2. Garmin GPSMAP 8000/8500 - These updated offerings are for the heavy-hitters in the marina, and include an MFD and Black Box system that extends to glass bridge helm stations. Sizes include eight, 12, and 15 inch displays with enhanced touch-screens, and these units have newer, more powerful processors, to speed up the show. Get more info on ’em at Garmin’s web site.
3. Icom and Lowrance – both of these companies have new handheld VHFs for 2013, and each comes with its own special perks. The Lowrance Link-2 has position poling features that display your fishing buddy’s position on-screen (visit Lowrance for more info). And the Icom M73 has all the functionality of the M72 plus a 60-second “rewind” feature that lets you listen to previous transmissions in case you missed something.
4. McMurdo – If you need a low-cost PLB (personal locator beacon) to enhance your safety margin, the Fast Find 220 may be what you’re looking for. It’s no bigger than a cell phone yet has an internal GPS, is completely waterproof down to 10 meters, and transmits on both a 406 MHz SAR and a 125 MHz homing signal. This little life-saver’s cost? Just $250; find out more from McMurdo.
5. Bad Elf Pro – if you love your iPad and iPhone and wish you could use them to navigate beyond the reach of cell towers, the Bad Elf is what you need. This is a high-grade GPS reciever with a 128 x 96 pixel screen, which can talk to five different i-thingies at the same time via Bluetooth.