Top 5 FAQs about boat electronics

Electronics play a pivotal role in the safe operation of your boat yet also the enjoyment of it.

It can seem like a very complex area and one secondary to the main systems onboard, so we sat down with Wayne Beak from EMS, a GCCM tenant, to discuss the trends.  He has had decades of experience in guiding boat owners through what is best for them based on how they use their boat.

Here are his tips.

Update your software

All the electronic systems onboard will have regular software updates.  You can usually go directly to the manufacturers’ website to get the latest, but the professional advice is to get a marine electronic specialist to do it for you.  Depending on the age of your hardware, updating the software may require a little more input than just hitting a button and the last thing you need is for your GPS to stop talking to your autopilot at a critical time.

Make sure you have the latest charts

The sands of south east Queensland’s waters move a great deal.  There are changes to channels, markers and navigational hazards.  Make a diary note to update your charts (or at least check if there are any changes) once a year.  And, like the first point, ask a marine electronic professional to assist as they are in regular contact with map suppliers such as C-Map, Navionics, Garmin, Map Media and more.

Check your antennas

Antennas are often forgotten as part of the electronics onboard yet they are the ones constantly exposed to the elements.  By regularly checking your antennas to make sure the casing is not damaged, there is no exposed wires and they are properly anchored to the boat, you will ensure their integrity and flag any issues early.  This is very important for safety; you don’t want to lose communications in an emergency.

Install an AIS

AIS stands for Automatic Identification Systems and is a standalone device on your boat which uses VHF radio to broadcast your position and receive information on the location and movement of other vessels.  It can integrate with your electronic chart system and although it is not mandatory, it is a fundamentally useful tool in collision avoidance.  If you are cruising offshore, tankers and cruise ships will monitor AIS for vessels and their bridge is more likely to see you first through AIS than visual contact.  Also, it will assist you in the busy summer season to keep your eye on boats on the Broadwater and Moreton Bay.  Not everyone is going to be as on the ball as you are.

Integrated sound systems

Rather than something which is important to the safe operation of the boat, integrated sound systems are popular for its enjoyable operation.  There is a range of sound systems which are as broad as the type of boats out on the water and they have price points to match.  Most these days will link to your phone so you can stream your favourite tunes and select which areas of the boat have audio.  So, whilst parents are enjoying sunset drinks with some cool tunes on the back deck, the kids are inside watching a movie and neither party is disturbing the other.

GCCM and its tenants are committed to making your boating experience the best it can be.  We are boaters ourselves and know intimately what boat owners are seeking.  EMS is one of six companies at GCCM who specialise in electronics and/or electrical.   So if you are considering your onboard electronics, check our business directory for their details.

For more information on the services provided by GCCM and its tenants, contact us at [email protected] or Ph: 5502 5888.

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