Our annual roundup of award-winning electronics once again turned up both familiar faces and sev- eral new ones. All of the devices caught the attention of judges sorting through hundreds of prod- ucts and selecting winners based on criteria such as innovation, value, design, benefit to boaters and others. Several of the organizations that presented awards are boating publications. A few are trade associations, companies or boat show organizers. Here’s a look at some of the marine
electronics winners in 2017.
LINEUP OF MARINE
Leading off the year, as always, are Sail Magazine’s Pittman Innovation Awards announced in January.
Boating writers and editors select the winners in several categories plus an overall winner. This year
that award went to the PanPan personal survival beacon, which has since been renamed Crew Watcher
by owner Weems & Plath. The judges described it as “a waterproof 1.2 by 3.1 inch Bluetooth 4.0 device
that can create an active MOB network aboard your boat by leveraging the capabilities of the smartphones and tablets you already have onboard.
“Basically, in the event you or your beacon get far enough away from whatever screens you have
working, the Bluetooth connection will fail, and the PanPan apps loaded into each device will mark the
spot, alarm the rest of the crew and help manage the victim’s retrieval. The PanPan beacon’s battery is
purportedly good for 3 years of regular use, and its antenna design claims a maximum range of 650
Descriptions below are excerpted from judges’ comments unless otherwise noted.
There were three winners in the Electronics category—Airmar’s DX900+ MultiLog, Furuno’s DRS4D-
NXT radome radar and the Nautic Alert Decision Platform & Insight.
PITTMAN INNOVATION AWARDS
Nautic Alert Decision
Platform & Insight
Weems & Plath
Crew Watcher Personal
WEEMS & PLATH CREWWATCHER PERSONAL SURVIVAL BEACON
NAUTIC ALERT DECISION PLATFORM & INSIGHT
By installing a Nautic Alert Decision Platform onboard you will, in essence, have a tireless mate who
constantly minds the bilge, manages the pumps intelligently, and lets you know what’s happening,
whether you’re in the cockpit or ashore.
Here’s how Nautic Alert describes the Decision Platform: It consists of three components—
Insight, Nevata, and XPulse. All are custom engineered in-house from the ground up utilizing
marine-grade materials. Insight is a compact flush mountable or bracket-installable MFD that contains an analytical engine, display, and communication peripherals.
Nevata is the industry’s first and patented smart bilge controller designed to replace a float switch
from above the waterline and communicate with Insight via secure wireless sync technology. XPulse
is a concealable unit that bridges functionality of multi-bank DC monitoring, AC shore power detection, and security and safety functions into Insight via secure wireless sync technology, and also provides redundant power-path management to Insight.
FURUNO DRS4D-NXT RADOME
Doppler technology makes understanding the radar display easy for boaters—and enhances boating
safety—by automatically and quickly tracking targets using ARPA and utilizing Doppler to turn targets red if they’re threats, while indicating which direction they are heading, according to a description in Marine Electronics Journal. Furuno calls this Target Analyzer. Beam width can be synthetically
adjusted for maximum target separation, and the radar helps fishermen close in on the catch
through its auto bird mode. The NXT’s compact 24-inch radome makes it suitable for a wide range
of both power and sail boats and can be put aboard for a very reasonable price.