New Technology, Innovation Awards and News From the Miami Boat Show
Miami Beach might seem a strange place to birth new technology—with its fashion-fabulous nightlife and vacation vibe—but every February, the city hosts the enormous and world-renowned Miami International Boat Show. Marine businesses from all corners of the globe debut their newest inventions, innovations and ideas.
Our editors from Boating, Yachting, Salt Water Sportsman and Cruising World hit the docks during the show to see and test the latest gear as well as to discover what’s next for anglers, boaters and sailors. Here are some highlights:
NMMA Innovation Awards
To start with, show judges, appointed by the National Marine Manufacturers Association and Boating Writers International, awarded 10 innovation awards to standout manufacturers for products that debuted during the last year. The winners included these six technology entries:
Consumer Electronics, Mobile Applications and Software: Lowrance HDS Pro with Active Imaging HD and ActiveTarget 2, which also won our 2023 Best Elex Award for Best Integrated System.
Consumer Safety Equipment: ACR ResQLink AIS Personal Locator Beacon
Electric Motor/Battery Powered Propulsion/Hybrids: Mercury Marine Avator 7.5e electric outboard motor
Mechanical & Electric Systems: Navico Group Fathom e-Power System
Outboard Engines: BRP Rotax S
Propulsion Equipment & Parts: Volvo Penta Joystick System for Single Diesel Aquamatic Sterndrives
While those award winners deserve applause and attention, we found nearly 20 brand-new tech gadgets that made their debut at this year’s show. Here are some of our favorites with more to come in subsequent coverage.
Raymarine Axiom 2 Pro and 2 XL
Raymarine announced five new products at the Miami show including a new family of powerful chartplotter displays—Axiom 2 Pro and 2 XL, featuring a six-core processor— as well as RealVision MAX 3D sonar with accompanying transducers, and the CAM300 Marine Camera. Axiom 2 Pro is available in 9-, 12-, and 16-inch sizes in two variations: Axiom 2 Pro S (starts at $2,749.99) includes embedded high chirp sonar for cruisers and sailors, while Axiom 2 Pro RVM (starts at $3,049.99) was designed for avid anglers. The RVM models include built-in RealVision MAX 3D, which combines chirp DownVision, SideVision and 3D channels. A separate RealVision Max 3D module ($1,999.99) can deliver the same sonar solution to the new Axiom 2 XL models (16-, 19-, 22- and 24-inch sizes starting at $7,799.99); they also retrofit to older Axioms. Raymarine also added the CAM300 marine camera ($599.99) to its lineup. About the size of a golf ball, the camera features high-definition resolution, 160 degrees of view, and built-in near infrared illumination for monitoring engine rooms or blind spots day or night.
Siren Marine and the Yamaha Connected Division introduced their first collaborative CASE (Connected, Autonomous, Shared Services and Electrification) product: Siren Trident, an industry-first IoT software for marine-engine maintenance and system compatibility for Yamaha customers, dealers and boat builders. Siren Trident delivers:
- Actual engine-hour run time and usage-based maintenance notifications with no required input from the user
- Compatibility of DEC (digital electronic control) rigging system components and currently installed versions
- Insights into real-world boat use to support predictive and preventative maintenance
Siren says Grady-White and Regulator Marine will become the first two pilot boat builders. The two will offer Siren Trident as standard equipment on select 2024 model-year boats.
Furuno NavNet TZtouchXL
Furuno went big with the announcement of two new 22- and 24-inch multifunction displays. These new TZtouchXL models are super-wide, full-HD (1920×1080 FHD resolution) screens that can split into six different windows. The edge-to-edge all-glass look of the XLs was designed for elegance at the helm. The units also network to existing Furuno accessories such as solid-state or magnetron radar, fish finders, multibeam sonar, autopilots and more. The units are expected to be available later this year. Pricing to be determined.
Standard Horizon HX320
Standard Horizon released its HX320 handheld VHF, replacing the HX300. This new floating VHF is equipped with Bluetooth for pairing an optional Standard Horizon wireless headset, a USB type-C jack for charging, and a water-activated strobe light. The 2,100 mAh lithium-polymer battery provides 17 hours of operating time, and the unit is waterproof to IPX7 standards (submersible to 1 meter for 30 minutes). The HX320 delivers 6 watts of transmit power but can be selectable to 2.5 or 1 watts to maximize battery life. The VHF also features programmable scan, priority scan, dual and triple watch, and a preset key to recall up to 10 favorite channels. Use the speaker mic jack to add a submersible speaker/microphone. The HX320 weighs 10.23 ounces, measures 5.24 inches high and costs $149.99.
Harman says it designed the new JBL Club speakers and subwoofers not only for quality sound but as an easy upgrade for any onboard sound system. Speakers come in 6.5- and 8-inch sizes and subwoofers measure 10 or 12 inches. All come with two removeable grills in gloss white and satin gray. Weather-resistant silk dome tweeters, with bridge-mounted design, deliver smooth, high-frequency response and increased power handling for highs and mids. Rubber surrounds and polypropylene cones offer protection and reliability. The Club speakers come in pairs and cost $249.95 and $299.95; the subwoofers cost $249.95 and $299.95 each.
Helm Master EX DockPoint
Yamaha announced plans to introduce a new Helm Master EX feature—DockPoint—in 2024. The first official product produced through the Yamaha Marine Innovation Center, DockPoint is part of Helm Master EX Full Maneuverability which automatically docks a properly equipped boat at the touch of a finger. Using minimal additional hardware, a Yamaha multifunction display interface (MFDI) and a Garmin MFD, Yamaha can now make a multiengine boat approach any of up to 100 user-defined slips, correctly orient the boat and position itself in that slip automatically according to the operator’s pre-selected setting. Boaters can set the system to automatically select manual control or Full Maneuverability Joystick mode once in the slip, where the operator can then command the boat.
Shakespeare’s new low-profile VHF antenna—the Dorsal—measures 4-by-2.3-by-2.5 inches, weighs 2 pounds and offers a range of up to 10 miles. The fin-shaped design reduces snag risks on small boats, while the high-impact, sealed ABS body ensures rugged performance. The antenna comes with a 26-foot cable and PL-259 plug standard. Available in black or white, Dorsal costs $109.99.
Fusion Apollo WB675
The new four-zone, compact Apollo WB675 Marine Hideaway Stereo was designed to help maximize dash space by tucking inside a helm console or a glovebox compartment or mounting below the helm. Control the audio with Fusion wired remotes, a compatible Garmin MFD or a marine-specific wearable such as Garmin’s quatix 7 smartwatch. Boaters can customize each of the four audio zones to optimize listening. The WB675 can also stream lossless audio with Apple AirPlay 2 software from a compatible Apple device. The new Apollo comes with digital signal processing to optimize the audio signal. It costs $499.99.
GOST’s new low-profile cameras—the Mini-Dome LED 1080P SS—can be installed vertically or in bulkheads rather than overhead. The recessed installation allows for more discreet security monitoring. The camera’s inner ball can be adjusted for the right view and then locked into position by tightening the outer bezel. The cameras measure only 3 inches in diameter and rise 1 inch above the mounting face. They feature built-in IR LED illuminators, providing a 33-foot range of night vision. The 1.8 mm wide-angle lens comes standard; 2.8 mm and 3.6 mm lenses are optional. The cameras cost $499.
In addition to awards and new products, the Miami show generated technology news. Raymarine and Avikus, an autonomous boat navigation company, signed a business partnership to develop the world’s first autonomous leisure boat: The Raymarine x Avikus Neuboat.
The partners also plan to launch a full product family of autonomous leisure boat systems for different boat sizes, types and uses. In fact, Avikus introduced a prototype autonomous system at the October 2022 Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show.
To showcase sustainability, the boating industry hosted an alternative marine fuels event during the show, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association. Boaters could watch demonstrations of three experimental fuels that are designed to lower carbon-dioxide emissions.
- PurFuels: A gasoline/isobutanol blend that reduces CO2 emissions by up to 30 percent relative to conventional fossil-based gas.
- Neste MY Renewable Diesel: Reduces CO2 emissions by up to 75 percent.
- EcoGen by VP Racing: A partially renewable gas that reduces CO2 emissions by up to 30 percent more than E10 and does not contain ethanol.
The NMMA says these fuels are expected to remain compatible with existing recreational boats that are equipped with internal combustion engines, without changes to the fuel systems or engines. The fuels are available now in select parts of the country.
“Further reductions in carbon emissions through use of sustainable marine fuels and e-fuels have the potential for the recreational boating industry to reach carbon neutrality,” says Jeff Wasil, director of environment, health and safety compliance for the NMMA. Support of the fuels demonstrated today will help facilitate further emissions reduction in the future.”
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