In past issues, we’ve run
articles that discuss prob-
lems that boat builders and
marine electronics dealers
have had installing NMEA
2000® networks. We wanted
to know how technicians
could avoid the pitfalls the
first time around, so we
asked a few companies with
extensive NMEA 2000®
experience how they
Photo at top: Planning the system in
advance and selecting the proper equip-
ment are key to ensuring a high-quality
installation that lives up to expectations.
Doing it right
Anacortes Marine Electronics
MEJ: How many NMEA 2000® installations has your dealership done?
Hennessy: We’ve been doing them pretty constantly over the last six to seven years—
maybe 150 to 200. Some are smaller, incorporating four or five devices on the NMEA bus. A
lot have 20-30 nodes on the bus. We’re incorporating more data on the bus all the time.
I used to sell the concept of NMEA 2000® to the customer. Now I just sell the products.
If there are three or more pieces of equipment to interface, it just makes more economic sense
to use NMEA 2000®.
The standard has taken off with most manufacturers. Any equipment, with a few excep-
tions, will be NMEA certified and we’ll just hook it up. If I sell a customer a chartplotter with
a GPS and a couple of instruments, it already makes sense to put a small NMEA 2000® sys-
tem on the boat as opposed to integrating with NMEA 0183.
MEJ: Do customers typically specify certain products by name or just ask you to outfit the boat?
Hennessy: It varies. In most cases, especially if they’re new products, we’re going to
put in at least a small NMEA 2000® system. Where you need to sell the concept is the boat
builder or owner who has a lot of information. If an owner has signed a contract with a boat
builder, we’ll say ‘we can help you select products that fit your boat, your needs, and your
budget. We can work with the builder to install and help interface the products and help train
you to use them.’ That’s a complete solution—more so on new boats than re-fits.