Ben Stein

Foulfree from Propspeed, clean transducers without biocide

13 Nov

Boats that spend a lot of time in the water typically have bottom paint applied to reduce fouling growth. Transducers are in the same water as the rest of the boat, but most bottom paint can’t be used on transducers. Unfortunately, the paints compatible with transducers aren’t as effective. Propspeed, the New Zealand based company that makes coatings for props, shafts, and underwater lights, has introduced Foulfree for transducers. Foulfree is a foul-release product, not a biocide and it’s the first product certified by Airmar for use on their transducers.

Transducers are made from materials that can be harmed by ...

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A few valuable boating apps, and what’s your favorite?

11 Nov


Most boaters carry around an impressively powerful and easy to use computer in their pockets: their smartphone. Smartphones have enough processing power, sensors and capabilities to augment or possibly even replace dedicated navigation equipment onboard your boat. Mobile phone and tablet apps for boating have steadily improved and today offer a compelling set of functionalities that can make boating both safer and easier.

To me, one of the key benefits of mobile apps at the helm is the ability to use multiple brands of charts. Using different chart providers helps avoid falling victim to any issue with your charts. ...

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Broad IP camera support, a Raymarine advantage

23 Oct

When I outfitted Have Another Day to begin cruising I wanted better visibility of several areas of the boat. IP cameras are the natural way to tackle this but once I realized I wanted five or more cams the cost of MFD manufacturer branded models quickly became prohibitive. Fortunately, I’d already decided to go with Raymarine MFDs and some digging revealed strong support for a commonly used IP video standard.

The back of an 8617 with ample network ports as well as CVBS (analog video) input

MFDs have support for a varying mix of IP and analogue cameras. Most MFDs ...

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My Island WiFi offers U.S. service – $110 / month for unlimited internet

11 Oct

When Have Another Day visited the Bahamas in 2017 internet connectivity was complex and pricey. In 2018 My Island WiFi began renting mobile hotspots with unlimited data; the raves of simplicity and cost-effectiveness from those cruising the Bahamas could be heard all the way back in the states. Many commented that the service was so much better than what they could get in U.S. providers that they wished they could use My Island WiFi’s service in the U.S. Well, now they can, My Island WiFi has started offering service in the U.S.

My Island WiFi is now offering a $110 ...

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Better waste tank monitoring with Maretron

10 Oct


The Maretron FPM100 installed on the ceiling of Have Another Day’s engine room

Have Another Day’s waste tank monitors have never been very accurate and that’s only gotten worse as time has gone by. In well over 10,000 nautical miles of cruising we’ve only overflowed a waste tank once, but that’s once too many. So, when the gauges on both tanks recently seemed to completely stop working, I decided it was time to find a new solution.

Have Another Day’s now defunct TankWatch 4

When Carver built Have Another Day she was equipped with TankWatch 4 monitors on both ...

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New FLIR M300 cameras – visible light, thermal and color thermal

26 Sep

M364C on the FLIR / Raymarine demo boat

At the NMEA Conference last week, FLIR previewed the M300 line of marine cameras with five models including the company’s first visible light only camera. They also debuted Color Thermal Vision (CTV) and MSX aging edge enhancing imaging technologies. Ben Ellison and I took a night ride on the FLIR/Raymarine demo boat in busy Norfolk Harbor and saw how all this technology can enhance situational awareness.

The M300 line adds horizontal stabilization to the previous generation’s vertical stabilization capabilities. To offer horizontal stabilization FLIR has added an attitude heading reference system (AHRS) ...

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Navionics Boating app adds AIS target vectors and ActiveCaptain Community updates

19 Sep


In a recent blog post Navionics announced they’ve added vectors to AIS target displays and the ability to edit rate and review ActiveCaptain Community points of interest (POIs). It looks like Navionics is making good on their promise of rapid improvements to their AIS features.

The post goes on to say that the vectors displayed on each target show the distance that will be covered in the next 6 minutes at current speed. I’m currently traveling back from the NMEA annual conference so I haven’t been able to try out AIS on the boat but will shortly.

Navionics 14.5 ...

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Vesper unveils Cortex – combination AIS, VHF radio and boat monitor

17 Sep

Vesper has cemented a reputation for high performance, well-thought-out, feature-rich products. So, when they tease that “The future is coming” as they have in their recent promotional material it’s worth paying attention. It turns out Vesper’s take on the future is about continuing their track record of innovative features while expanding their capabilities to VHF radios and boat monitoring.

Today at the National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) expo and conference in Norfolk, VA, Vesper announced Cortex, VHF, AIS, and Monitor. Cortex is a modular system with a base unit, handsets, and mobile app. Cortex systems can start with just ...

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T-Mobile Test Drive, try out T-Mobile’s network on them

6 Sep

T-Mobile has been busy building out their network and extending coverage. For many boaters it may be the best compromise of coverage and cost-effectiveness. But, how do you know if their coverage is good enough where you plan to use it? T-Mobile hopes you will take them up on their offer and try 30gb of data and a hot-spot to find out.

Here’s the quick summary. If you visit T-Mobile’s Test Drive site and give them your name, phone number, email address and shipping address they will send you a mobile hot-spot (the 600mhz capable Coolpad Surf) and ...

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Man overboard safety options expand

5 Sep

In man overboard (MOB) scenarios, time is frequently the difference between a happy outcome and tragedy. The sooner everyone on the boat is aware there’s a problem and begins responding the greater the odds this will be a scary moment on which to reflect and not a life-changing event.

Wireless man overboard systems immediately notify, and in some cases shut down the engines, in case an occupant falls overboard. When someone goes overboard and visual contact is lost there is a 40% chance that person won’t be recovered. Early notification of an occupant falling over board is crucial to improving ...

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