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NMEA Boater Blog

Best safety & survival devices for 2021

Historically, among the last equipment on boaters’ lists to buy are devices that can save their lives and those of their passengers. In most cases the reason is simply that capsizing at sea and treading water for who knows how long is uncomfortable to think about-and besides "that will never happen to me.” Boaters who’ve grown up on the water know differently. It can and does happen, usually with no warning-and then it’s too late to prepare. Safety and survival equipment works. And as Coast Guard search and rescue teams will tell you: it’s cheap insurance. Below are two Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) and a pair of Personal Survival Devices that will make sure all onboard make it home safely.

The lineup is part of an exercise Marine Electronics Journal does every year as part of our Buyers’ Guide. It works like this: We ask the top manufacturers to identify the one model they produce in a particular category (17 in all) that they consider to be their Best & Brightest—not necessarily the most technically advanced or newest but rather the one they rate highest in the product line for one reason or another. Could be the functions and features it offers, or maybe it breaks new ground in maximizing effectiveness or utility, or maybe it’s the most popular as measured by sales to boaters.

Last week we rolled out top-dog electronic charts. Next week we’ll look at another category of electronics that adds greatly to your peace of mine and situational awareness when you’re on the water after dark-night vision equipment.


McMurdo SmartFind G8

The world’s first EPIRB with dual distress alerting, using 406 MHz to contact professional search & rescue via Cospas-Sarsat, while simultaneously using AIS (Automatic Identification System) to alert nearby vessels to support localized recovery. Combined with its dual GPS & Galileo GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) receivers for a truly globally accurate location fix and a 121.5-MHz homing frequency, the design is focused on accelerated rescue. With a minimum 48-hour activation, water or manual activation switch, 10-year battery, optimized MEOSAR (Mid-Earth Orbit Search and Rescue)capabilities and internal carry strap, the G8 is one of the most powerful distress beacons on the market.

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Wireless WASSP Multibeam Sonar - Simple, Real-Time Remote Seafloor Mapping Delivered Wirelessly From The Tender!

Camas, WA - As the premiere global trailblazers in multibeam technology, Furuno and WASSP have teamed up to change the game once again with their latest innovation, the new W3P Wireless Multibeam Sonar. Using tested and proven, real-time 3D seafloor mapping, the new W3P offers updated WASSP multibeam features in a compact and portable single housing with wireless communication between tender and mothership. W3P provides the convenience of a complete "all in one” system, allowing the technology to be quickly and easily deployed on a wide range of vessels and applications while delivering the high-quality mapping data of the original W3 fixed-mount system.


Is it time to buy an Autopilot?

Buying and installing a new Autopilot is satisfying for any boat owner. The addition is bound to save you headaches and you’ll finally be able to focus on other things such as the weather or your surroundings. But how much can you actually rely on your Autopilot, and is it really worth the hefty price tag?


Vesper Marine Releases Remote MMSI Programming for AIS

Auckland, New Zealand – Vesper Marine, a leading manufacturer of innovative marine electronics, announced today the release of remote MMSI programming capability and improved "Stealth Mode” for Cortex Hubs when upgraded to software version 1.6. Remote MMSI Programming is the latest in a series of updates that improve the functionality of existing and new Cortex Hubs. Software version 1.6 uses a patented technology for remotely validating and setting vessel data, such as the MMSI. Installers and re-sellers can now enter the relevant vessel details via a secure login to the Support Portal. Vesper Marine will validate that the information is entered correctly and send it over the air to the Hub, either immediately or when it next connects to the Vesper Cloud.