Navico Reveals Upcoming Marine Products at Special Media Event

Navico, Tulsa, Oklahoma, parent company of Lowrance, Simrad and B&G, provided a sneak preview of an extensive collection of new products it plans to unveil at the upcoming Miami International Boat Show, which takes place from February 13 to 17 at the Miami Beach Convention Centre.

The company invited 25 North American journalists to Duck Key Marina at Hawks Cay Resort in Florida to test the new equipment firsthand in one of state's many great offshore fishing destinations.

Navico also arranged for several of its senior executives to discuss future company goals and strategy for its various divisions and electronics brands. In addition to discussing the organization's direction, Navico reinforced the distinct branding for each of its three lines. Lowrance is geared primarily to the freshwater boater and angler segment, Simrad to sports fishermen and power cruisers in coastal waters, and B&G to the sailing community.

Lowrance greets 2014 with several new products. Announced in January, Lowrance also added the Elite-4 and Mark-4 Hybrid Dual Imaging (HDI) units to its lineup. The new HDI units feature a built-in GPS antenna, high-definition mapping options, and Lowrance's HDI technology that combines Broadband Sounder and Downscan Imaging technology. The new units, which replace the previous Lowrance Elite-4 and Mark-4 models, offer larger displays (Elite 4.3-inch colour and Mark grayscale) that have 70-percent more pixels and 36-percent more useable screen area.

The Elite-4 HDI and Mark-4 HDI models can be equipped with Navico's 83/200 kHz Skimmer transducer for inland fishing, which is capable of reaching a depth of 1,000 feet. Models featuring the 50/200 kHz Skimmer transducer, ideal for deeper coastal and Great Lakes applications, are capable of reaching depths of 2,500 feet. DownScan Imaging depth capability on both models has a maximum range of 300 feet. Optional accessories include a series of bronze thru-hull HDI transducers, a trolling-motor transducer adapter kit and a flush-mount kit. All Airmar transducers used with Lowrance HDS models are also compatible.

Lowrance's Elite-4 HDI models range in price from US $149 to $469, while the Mark-4 HDI fishfinder/chartplotter starts at US $179 (without a transducer) to $329 for the Mark HDI fishfinder/chartplotter with a 50/200 kHz transducer.

Also, recently released in January was Lowrance's SpotlightScan Sonar trolling motor transducer, which the company first announced in October of last year. The directionally controlled unit is mounted to the bottom of an angler's trolling motor, allowing them to quickly take in a 360-degree view of what's around their boat. The transducer provides a 30-degree directional scan that be rotated with the trolling motor. Each time an area is rescanned, the image on the MFD is updated. Once anglers have spotted activity, they can quietly move their boat into the ideal position for casting without startling the fish. SpotlightScan is compatible with HDS Gen2 (SonarHub required) or HDS Gen2 Touch fishfinder/chartplotter displays, which can be mounted nearby your trolling motor's foot control for convenient viewing.

The trolling-motor transducer operates at a frequency of 455/800 kHz with a maximum surround-scanning range of 150 feet. SpotlightScan Sonar's transducer also features DownScan Imaging and Broadband Sounder technology.

The SpotlightScan transducer is said to quickly install to any bow-mounted, cable-steer, foot-control trolling motor. However, it is not compatible with hand-steer or electric-steer electric trolling motors. SpotlightScan Sonar retails for US $499

Journalists were allowed to test Simrad's newest NS Series multifunction navigation system, the NSS evo2.  The multi-touch unit offers buttons as well as touchscreen operation. The unit's high-power processing capabilities deliver quick chart, sonar, radar and entertainment functions. It offers integrated sounder capabilities as well as a wide range of options for echo sounder technologies. The NSS evo2 is also compatible with Broadband Radar and numerous types of cartography options.

The sleek, low profile unit comes in black or silver trim and is offered in seven-, nine-, 12-and 16-inch screen sizes. Its icon-styled menu system is designed to be intuitive and can be navigated with smart tablet-like finger movements. Users should find the NSS evo2's push-to-select rotary knob dial useful for adjusting settings when the vessel is swaying or surging in rougher water.  

The NSS evo2 offers boaters full autopilot integration. Anglers may appreciate the unit's built-in fish finding abilities including BSM-1 Brandband Sounder, BSM-2 CHIRP sound and StructureScan HD. The unit is compatible with Simrad's 4G and 3G radar, GoFree Wireless Wifi-1 for smart phone/tablet control, SonarHub sounder, SonicHub marine audio server and Sirius satellite. Up to six NSS evo2 multifunction displays can be networked to view various forms of engine data as well as control onboard devices through digital switching. The system is also equipped with an HDMI video output (for compatible monitors) and a video input for night vision camera support.

The NSS evo2 multifunction display features a high-performance, high-gain integrated GPS antenna for clear, strong and accurate positioning whether it is flush-mounted or bracket mounted with included hardware.

NSS evo2 supports compatible cartography including Nautic Insight and Lake Insight, Jeppesen C-Map Max-N charts, Navionics Gold and Platinum, Insight Genesis and a variety of other third-party charts. The unit also allows users to navigate using two distinct chart types simultaneously.

Simrad's seven and nine-inch evo2 models (NSS7 and NSS9) were released in December, with the 12 and 16-inch versions (NSS12 and NSS16) shipping in March. MSRP for the units is as follows: NSS7 – US $1,529; NSS9 – US $2,949; NSS12 – US $3,999; and NSS16 – US $5,699. The NSS evo2 series displays come with a two-year limited parts and labour warranty and are protected by the Simrad Advantage Service Program.

Insight Genesis Expands into New Countries
Insight Genesis, Navico's personal map-generation tool for its Lowrance, Simrad NS and B&G Zeus series chartplotters is now available in 140 additional countries.

Once recorded, users can upload the sonar log file to the Insight Genesis cloud service via a PC, where it is converted into a map. The chart and related sonar log can be viewed for free using an embedded web viewer or downloaded for use on a compatible multifunction display.

Insight Genesis' subscription-free edition allows boaters to upload up to two hours of sonar log recordings for the online creation and viewing of maps that depict contours and depth soundings with shading, as well as automatic tidal adjustments. Customers who opt for the annual subscription can upload up to four hours of sonar logs and view charts online or save maps to an SD card for use on as many as four compatible Lowrance, Simrad and B&G displays.

Insight Genesis subscription features include the ability to adjust contour intervals; merge multiple uploads; overlay bottom hardness and vegetation outline layers; analyze changes over multiple recordings with trend-analysis; securely store sonar logs, maps and boaters' critical trip and waypoint data online accessible from any internet-connected device; and the ability to keep recorded sonar data private or to share selected trips with the Insight Genesis community.

In addition to previously supported countries – Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States – added countries and territories with access to Insight Genesis by region include:

Americas: Aruba, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Clipperton Island, Curaçao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Falkland Islands, Haiti, Montserrat, Navassa Island, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Saint Perre and Misquelon, Saint-Barthélemy, Sint Maarten, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands and U.S. Virgin Islands.

Asia-Pacific: American Samoa, Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Australian Antarctic Territory, Bangladesh, Butan, British Indian Ocean Territory, Brunei, Cambodia, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Coral Sea Islands Territory, East Timor, French Polynesia, Guam, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Howland Island, Japan, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Kiribati, Midway Atoll, Mongolia, Nauru, Nepal, New Caledonia, Norfolk Island, Northen Mariana Islands, Pitcairn Islands, Ross Dependency, Samoa, South Korea, Tokelau, Vanuatu, Wake Island, and Wallis and Futuna.

Europe, the Middle East and Africa: Albania, Algeria, Angola, Anguilla, Benin, Botswanna, British Antaric Territory, Bukina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Faroe Islands, French Southern and Antarctic Lands, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Gibraltar, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Koscovo, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nambia, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Djibouti, Rwanda, Saint Helena, Ascension and Trisan de Cunha, San Marino, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Zambia and Zimbabwe.