New to powerboating? Need new electronics for your RIB? Not sure what electronics are best for watersports? Which chartplotter you should choose?
Simrad offers a range of chartplotters geared towards different on-water activities from water sports to cruising; with different models to suit vessels of all sizes, from small runabouts, RIBs and day boats, to luxury cruisers and superyachts. In addition to your chartplotter, you can choose from a wide array of accessories and add-ons to enhance your network; from auto steering or radar to VHF and AIS.
When choosing your chartplotter it is important to consider what type of boating you will be doing, what your budget is and what you need your electronics to do.
Screen size and operation
Most of us can understand that a bigger and brighter screen is easier to see and read, especially with recent technology such as SolarMAX™ HD screens, which offer exceptional clarity and ultra-wide viewing angles in all light conditions; however, these type of units often require more space and money than the smaller, more basic ones as well as more power! The Simrad NSS evo3 provides all of the above and much more in comparison to the Simrad Cruise for example (keep reading!).
Consider, do you want more screen area or would you prefer to have buttons and a joystick too, making control easier in more challenging conditions? If space is a limiting factor it is important to think about what it is you need. Like with your phone or tablet, a touchscreen only unit will mean you have all screen and viewing area, adding buttons and controllers takes up space, so for the same size unit you’ll have less screen size, but it can make it easier to use in big seas - so what are your defining criteria?
Navigation and data
All Simrad units come with specially designed software, pre-installed, which can easily be updated using the built-in Wi-Fi if you connect directly to the internet; it will even let you know when new software is available to download! Simrad displays come with built-in basemap charts and are compatible with both C-MAP and Navionics depending on your preference.
If you’re only planning on using your plotter for playing out on the water on a day boat or RIB then you may not need to connect it to a network for additional data sources such as battery levels or fuel. The Simrad Cruise is a standalone unit that comes with a sonar transducer – no need to network - and can provide information such as depth, temperature and speed, once all fitted, straight from the box.
If you’re cruising on a larger powerboat then you might be looking to connect your device and accessories on a NMEA 2000 network, enabling interpretation of depth, speed, battery levels, fuel and water tank levels, engine hours, oil level, oil temperature, rudder angle and more. NMEA 2000 provides an almost “plug and play” solution and makes adding additional equipment later, simpler. The Simrad Go series can do all of the above in an easy-to-use touchscreen chartplotter.
Networking systems like this also make it possible to add more advanced data equipment such as radar, AIS, VHF and autopilots simply, most of which require additional, and potentially significant investment.
The Simrad NSS evo3 provides a more advanced plotter than the Cruise or Go series with impressive displays for showing everything the user might ever need to know! The NSS evo3 also features a SolarMAX™ HD all-weather touchscreen that offers exceptional clarity and ultra-wide viewing angles, along with a keypad and rotary dial for total control in all weather conditions.
VHF and AIS provide important information, whether it be receiving communications through the VHF about a local incident or informing others of your own difficulties. An AIS receiver enables you to see all other boats transmitting an AIS signal, and a transmitter means your position is shown to all those receiving AIS data, so it is a fantastic safety tool and can help provide peace of mind especially on long or night crossings. VHF and AIS often come together in one unit and require a small aerial to transmit and receive. All vessels should have a VHF whether it’s simply only a rechargeable handset or a fixed base unit; if you’re likely to be doing longer passages, or travelling in the dark then AIS becomes an even more valuable resource.
A VHF radio enables you to communicate with other vessels and shore-based services such as the coastguard; the new SIMRAD RS40-B is a VHF radio that incorporates an AIS transmitter and receiver all in the same unit.
If you add a radar dome or open array sensor to your set-up then you can transmit this data onto your chart plotter. This enables you to see other vessels, land mass, weather systems and obstructions etc. on the screen making it easier to avoid them and in return allows you to plan a safer, more relaxed passage. Today, Radars such as SIMRAD HALO can provide incredible detail, right up to the bow of the boat, and also include features such as VelocityTrack, which track and alert you to collision risks
All Simrad chartplotters have the ability to connect directly and wirelessly to the internet in order to download software updates straight to your unit. This also enables the download of relevant apps and other features such as charting, repeating your display on a tablet and much more.
So which plotter to go for?
Simrad Cruise provides a great value, standalone unit, perfect for RIBS and small day boats, as it is easy to fit straight out of the box! It has the sunlight viewable display with a range of chart options and a sonar transducer. Simrad Cruise will do everything you need for a fun day out on the water – show you where you’re going and enable route planning on your selected charts; display depth, speed and temperature when connected to the transducer. You can even enjoy advanced features like C-MAP® Easy Routing for hassle free navigation, so all in all Simrad Cruise will make it easier to relax and enjoy your boating.
Simrad Go series displays are a perfect addition to smaller sportboats, dayboats, and center-consoles. Behind every super-bright GO series touchscreen lies a built-in GPS receiver, echosounder, wireless connectivity, and industry standard NMEA 2000® networking. Navigate, connect with mobile devices, control accessories like your on-board sound system, and choose from an array of built-in sonar support to cruise with confidence.
Simrad NSS evo3 – provides you with everything you could need from a chartplotter. The ultimate addition to powerboats and cruising motorboats you can take total control of your on-water experience with the NSS evo3. With a SolarMAX™ HD display offering exceptional clarity and ultra-wide viewing angles in any light conditions and an intuitive all-weather touchscreen and keypad with rotary dial – you will have total control in any conditions. The built-in echosounder support lets you cruise confidently with ForwardScan sonar, or reveal the ultimate fishing spots with StructureScan® HD imaging and CHIRP-enabled sonar—just add your choice of transducer.
Simrad NSO evo3 – is the flagship display from the Simrad range, available in 16, 19 or 24-inch widescreen sizes. Featuring an integrated quad-core processor for an ultimately smooth response, from charting to StructureScan® 3D imaging. Enjoy swift access to the information you need, as you need it, whether you’re cruising the open ocean or carefully navigating a crowded harbour. Full HD resolution lets you see more than ever with up to six panels displayed simultaneously in a split-screen layout. You can even create your own custom helm layouts to suit any activity, and switch seamlessly between those layouts in an instant.
So whatever it is your hoping to achieve, Simrad can help you.