Marine electronics are ever advancing in the technology age we live in. There are a few key electronics that could be already installed in your boat, or others you may purchase in the future. The newer the boat, the more advanced electronics will be installed. Most electronics installed in your boat are there to make you aware of your surroundings. Safety is always in the forefront when operating boats.
A chartplotter integrates GPS data with an electronic navigational chart. It shows your exact location, heading, and speed. It’s as useful as using GPS maps while driving your car.
Being out on the water can assure spotty cell reception. Having a VHF radio onboard, whether handheld or installed on your boat, can always be an open line of communication and is one of the most important electronics for your boat. It can send distress signals and will get you in touch with the U.S. Coast Guard or local police in a time of need. You can also use it to converse with other boats, fueling docks, and marinas.
If you’re an avid fisherman, you’ll want a fish-finder on your boat. These are pretty standard for center consoles, especially on fishing boats of any kind. Fish-finders are also functional on MFD’s or stand alone units. They use sonar to provide depth readings and most importantly, show location of the fish below.
Multifunctional Display Systems (MFDs)
The chartplotter, GPS, and fish-finder can be incorporated into an MFD bringing all systems into one interface. Some refer to it as the brain of the boat. Whether an MFD is compatible with your outboard motor is something to consider. Some are seamless with an adaptor or a gateway plug for the data to read properly, but not all MFDs are the same. They will need software updating periodically as well, but with the bluetooth and wifi capabilities make it a breeze.
The radar can also be incorporated into the MFD system. Rather than just detecting under the boat like a fish-finder, the radar detects what is around the boat as well. This is helpful when traveling in a fog or at night. Radar’s are considered a safety measure when traveling long distances, or if you find yourself in a shipping lane.
When considering purchasing more or newer electronics for your boat, it’s always recommended to ask a professional. Even when putting in a new sound system, it all depends on what is compatible with your boat.