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NMEA Boater Blog

Best vessel gateways for 2020

For the geeks among us, gateways need no introduction. For the rest us, they are simply devices that bridge between networks that are governed by different protocols in order to permit communication between them. For example, a gateway may link a personal computer to the NMEA network and, if needed, convert NMEA 2000 data to NMEA 0183 format so it can operate with PC-based navigation software. A gateway can also convert 2000 and 0183 data in both directions, permitting newer NMEA 2000 devices and sensors to be integrated into older systems. Other gateways perform a variety of useful functions as well.

Below are six gateways that do the job in spades. The lineup is part of an exercise we do every year in Marine Electronics Journal called the Best & Brightest Boating Electronics. We ask manufacturers to tell us which model in 19 categories of electronics they consider to be their best--not necessarily the most advanced or latest but the one than delivers the highest marks overall. That could be their most popular model or the one that has passed the test of time. Categories range from autopilots and radars to fishfinders and communications electronics. Click here to see last week’s rollout of vessel safety monitoring devices.

Maretron USB100

As a gateway for bridging computers to a NMEA network, Maretron’s USB100 allows the use of PC-based navigation software like Maretron’s N2KView vessel monitoring and control software. The USB100 connects the network and the PC, eliminating conventional multiplexers and the maze of wires usually associated with interfacing equipment to PCs. For PC-based navigation software that requires receiving NMEA 0183 data, the USB100 automatically converts information from the NMEA 2000 network to NMEA 0183 sentences, allowing you to continue using navigational and charting software that you already own while enjoying the many benefits of networked NMEA 2000 instruments. Pair a USB100 with Maretron’s N2KAnalyzer software and use a PC for configuring, updating, and troubleshooting products connected to an NMEA 2000 network.

Actisense NGT-1 (NMEA 2000 to PC)

The NGT-1 is an intelligent NMEA 2000 gateway able to precisely transfer messages between the NMEA 2000 network and a computer, while acting as a firewall, enforcing the rules to keep the network safe. It is compatible with a wide range of chartplotter, display and configuration applications available for both Windows and Mac PCs. NMEA Reader, the Actisense diagnostic tool, allows full decoding of NMEA 2000 messages and configuration of NMEA 2000 products from Actisense plus other manufacturers as well. Available in two variants that offer full OPTO-isolation to suit all installation types: The USB version keeps a computer safe from dangerous ground loops, while offering easy connection, and the ISO version protects while safely interfacing to an RS232- or RS422-capable device.

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Unichip Marine selects Actisense as NMEA 2000 data partner

Unichip Marine are using their decades of experience in endurance motorsport engine tuning to help leisure boaters enjoy a safer, higher performance boating experience. In creating their Unichip Marine System, their team turned to the experts in NMEA data – Actisense – to help build their state-of-the-art engine control module.


SEVERNA PARK, MD—Manufacturers scored big at the 2020 National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) Business Meeting held on September 26, following the NMEA Virtual Education Week held last week. A total of 19 products received the top award, and the NMEA Manufacturer of the Year was named. "On behalf of the NMEA Board of Directors, staff, and membership, we congratulate all 2020 award winners,” said Mark Reedenauer, NMEA President & Executive Director.

"The member voting count exceeded our expectations. This certainly sends the message to the market that manufacturers have focused on producing top quality products for the boating public, even during a pandemic. NMEA members, installers, and manufacturers have surely kept their eye on the ball.”

Boaters benefit from peace of mind on land and sea with Garmin OnDeck Remote Connectivity Solution

OLATHE, Kan./Sept. 15, 2020/Business Wire – Garmin® International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ:GRMN), the world’s leading marine electronics manufacturer1, today announced its new OnDeck™ System, a remote monitoring and management solution that gives boaters 24/7 access to critical and timely information about their vessel2. When paired with the ActiveCaptain® app, OnDeck keeps users connected to their vessel by monitoring the boat’s battery status, bilge activity, door/hatch sensors, GPS location and more. For extra peace of mind, configurable notifications can even let the user know of changes that may threaten the boat, including if it has moved into or outside of a custom geofenced area. In addition to the GTB 10 OnDeck Hub, the system includes a door sensor, temperature sensor, shore power sensor and relay switch.