Captain Mike Martel takes us through some of the latest and greatest products in the world of boating technology

boating technology
The ePropulsion 9.9 HP Navy 6.0 Evo. Courtesy of ePropulsion

My old boating pal Steve, who has sailed the globe and who has tens of thousands of cruising miles under his belt, much of it alone, once told me that “At sea, if you can’t make electricity, you’re (expletive).” So, when another friend told me about ePropulsion announcing its new model year 2021 Evo Series motors with industry-first hydrogeneration capabilities, I became excited. But I also felt puzzled. I kept asking myself, given the proliferation of gadgets today for sail and power requiring electricity to operate, what took the marine industry so long? Granted, the concept isn’t new, but hydrogeneration in an outboard motor is!

ePropulsion Evo Series Electric Motors

For our readers who are both sailors and powerboaters: ePropulsion is introducing seven new Evo Series (outboard) electric motors with hydrogeneration for model year 2021. Their horsepower output is impressive, with 48-volt architecture, safety wristbands, a new ergonomic tiller, and direct-drive brushless motors for better performance and greater noise reduction. This new hydrogeneration functionality allows the motor battery to be charged while sailing or towing at speeds between four and 10 knots.

A key innovation of the ePropulsion product line is that all outboards are built on a 48-volt architecture, and E-Series batteries deliver up to 3000 charging cycles. For added convenience, the Spirit battery is the first floating battery on the market.

While a kill-switch lanyard is an important piece of safety equipment, in practical use, many boaters find them inconvenient. By offering easy-to-wear safety wristbands, the Evo Series provides added safety and vital emergency shut-down capabilities, particularly in the case of a man overboard situation.

The new Evo Tiller is compatible with most ePropulsion outboard motors. It is an ergonomic, comfortable, responsive, and adaptive tiller that vastly improves the boating experience. The integrated display keeps users informed of key information such as power, voltage, remaining runtime, and battery level, to name a few. The display is backlit for easy nighttime use.

Product models for 2021 include the following:

•           3 HP Spirit 1.0 Plus

•           3 HP Spirit 1.0 Evo (tiller version)

•           3 HP Spirit 1.0 Evo Remote (remote control version)

•           6 HP Navy 3.0 Evo

•           9.9 HP Navy 6.0 Evo

•           3 HP Pod Drive 1.0 Evo

•           6 HP Pod Drive 3.0 Evo

•           The New 9.9 HP Pod Drive 6.0 Evo

The Navy Evo is a light-duty outboard that is available in two power levels, 3kW and 6kW. New for model year 2021, the Navy 6.0 Evo has a brushless direct-drive motor—ensuring the entire range benefits from the high reliability and low operating noise of this technology.

The Pod Drive Evo is a light-duty marine propulsion system that eliminates shafts. Offered in three models—1 kW, 3 kW, and 6 kW—the direct-drive Pod Drive requires minimal cabin space and operates without any noise. The Pod Drive 1.0 is the smallest electric pod motor on the market. New for model year 2021 is the powerful 6kW Pod Drive 6.0 Evo, which provides cruisers a new environmentally friendly solution to replace internal combustion outboards. Folding props are available upon request. The Spirit 1.0 Plus is available at $2000, a 1276Wh battery included. The 9.9 HP Navy 6.0 Evo is $2900.

Raymarine Axiom+

boating technology
Courtesy of Raymarine

Raymarine’s Axiom+ multifunction displays replace the company’s original Axiom line in sevem-, nine-, and 12-inch display models. The plus units integrate a quad-core processor, multi-channel sonar views (including RealVision 3D), and augmented-reality navigation, and include up to 16 GB of onboard data storage. All displays employ in-plane switching for better, brighter viewing along with the company’s HydroTough treatment to repel water and oils. Axiom+ models start at $749.

Leading From the Forward Edge: Furuno NavNet TZTouch3 9F

boating technology
Courtesy of Furuno

The Furuno NavNet TZTouch3 9F offers a smaller version of its TZTouch3 technology by delivering its 9F, a nine-inch IPS display for tighter helms and second stations, per customer request. The hybrid-control TZT9F features a quad-core processor, 256 GB memory card built into the system, a built-in 1kW, single-channel TruEcho CHIRP Fish Finder, and a traditional 50/200kHz RezBoost Fish Finder. The MFD is supplied with a PIN-code lock feature and is also compatible with a wide array of Furuno peripherals, including radar, autopilot, VHF, and black-box sonars. The TZT9F costs $2995.

A Truly Integrated System: Garmin GPSMAP 1243xsv

boating technology
Courtesy of Garmin

Some boaters, like me, like to see all relevant information in front of them without having to look around. So, we like multifunction displays even though there are arguably drawbacks. But Garmin’s new GPSMAP 1243xsv multifunction display surpasses its predecessor, the 1242, with edge-to-edge glass, an IPS display, higher resolution, better scanning sonar, and more. Garmin says it has now brought those premium features, indicative of its 8600 series, to mid-level consumers. The 1kW chirp unit incorporates all of Garmin’s sonar capabilities such as LiveScope, SideVu, and ClearVu. The 1243 can be flush-mounted in the same space as a 1242 with a retrofit kit. The 1243xsv costs $2900.

An Enigma for ‘Fish Talkers’: Standard Horizon GX2400 Matrix VHF Radio

boating technology
Courtesy of Standard Horizon

Standard Horizon’s GX2400 Matrix VHF radio replaces earlier GX220 products; it offers an internal, 66-channel WAAS GPS receiver; NMEA 2000 networkability; a wireless (or wired) full-functioning, second-station RAM mic; and an AIS receiver. Anglers can employ the voice scrambler to send encrypted messages to fishing buddies. The fixed-mount radio costs $450.

Sound and Sensation with Roswell R1 Pro Tower Speakers

boating technology
Courtesy of Roswell Marine

Roswell R1 Pro Tower Speakers mount to rails and entertain everyone on the boat (or being towed behind) with vibrant sound and a light show. These 200-watt RMS/400-watt peak speakers house an R1 Pro woofer and side-mounted one-inch compression tweeter with integrated circuit protection. When you hit the button, you not only hear tunes but are also treated to an impressive visual display thanks to a translucent housing with RGB LED lights. $1900.

By Capt. Michael L. Martel

To read up on advances in safety technology, check out our Safety Series.