Update your marine gear for spring
Whether you do it yourself or use a marine service yard or electronics outfitter, consider upgrading your boat’s electronic gear.
- Consider a multifunction display to feed your data needs. Today’s new MFD systems gather your boat’s engine, system and entertainment information for display on a big, easy to use touchscreen. You can divide the screen into halves, quarters, eighths or more. An MFD can replace old analog gauges to open up room on your dash.
- Add more instruments. With more room on the dash, you can add electronics equipment, such as a radar or depth sounder and transducer. With advances in electronic charting, you may want to update your chart plotter and charts.
- Get a night-vision camera to increase safety at night. Handheld or fixed-mount thermal imaging cameras read the difference in temperature between the water and floating objects—like boats or people—and display the images. Prices continue to drop, and you can use handhelds on land.
- Upgrade your tunes. Look for stereos and speakers designed for the marine environment. Choose a system with compatible ports for your iOS and Android devices. Look for an NMEA 2000-compliant system to give you audio control on your MFD screen.
- Connect music devices to the boat’s sound system via Bluetooth. Most new music storage devices and players have Bluetooth connectivity, but read the product literature to be sure.
- Upgrade your VHF radio. Today’s waterproof radios come loaded with features such as GPS and digital selective calling. A DSC-equipped radio can send and receive digitally encoded distress calls on channel 70. When connected to GPS, the distress call will include your vessel’s precise latitude and longitude.
- Use Sea Tow’s Automated Radio Check Service. To ensure your VHF is in working order, simply tune your radio to the proper channel for your community, conduct a radio check as you normally would, and when you release the mic, the system will replay your transmission, letting you hear how you sound.
- Replace old wiring. If your boat is a few years old, replacing the back-end wiring for your electronic instruments can eliminate a potential source of failure.
- Download the Sea Tow App. Available for iPhone and Android devices, the free Sea Tow App can be used for navigation, weather, tides and emergency service.