StartNow automatically allows the main battery to drain without pulling off the reserve. The system runs wires between a vessel's start and reserve batteries and then onto the rest of the electronics. If the main battery voltage becomes too low, it automatically shifts the power requirement to the reserve. The StartNow system handles all recharging duties. It weighs 1 pound and the price will be determined shortly. Contact Charles Industries at 847-806-6300 or www.charlesindustries.com.
Monitoring a boat's condition while the owner is absent has become a lot simpler and cheaper thanks to Boatsense. This small monitoring unit senses bilge-water level, battery condition and up to three other functions. When triggered, it notifies a cellphone. Boatsense also makes a GPS model that prints out the location of your boat when it calls - a great option for blown moorings and in areas with boat-theft problems. The base unit costs $499, and the company charges a $180 annual fee. Contact Boatsense at 800-639-2715 or www.boatsensesolutions.com.
For 2008, Ocean LED introduces its Fish Strobe, which offers nine strobe patterns - in super blue or super green, from rapid through intermittent to elongated sequences - controlled by a panel-mounted switch. The units come in two sizes: the 1520 flush mount ($1,595) and a 2010 flush mount ($2,195). Both connect with a Deutsch hookup for ease of assembly and waterproof integrity. LEDs handle the repeated cycling of the strobe action better than filament-based bulbs. Contact Ocean LED at 954-523-2250 or www.oceanled.com.
The Marine Magellan Platinum, platinum-level security system comes with GPS satellite tracking and a Web interface, allowing boat owners or crew to remotely monitor a vessel's position from anywhere in the world. If underway, speed and direction can be monitored as can onboard security systems and safety devices such as smoke detectors and high-water sensors. Users can also control any AC/DC-powered system or device on board. If a security alarm or sensor is triggered, the system immediately reports it by voice mail, text message and e-mail.
The Marine Magellan Platinum is offered in a complete, easy-to-install package including control panel, wireless-motion, high-water and DC-voltage sensors, a wireless smoke detector and GPS satellite antenna. Retail cost is $3,999. Contact Paradox Marine at 866-929-4441 or www.paradoxmarine.com.
CruiseNet is Shakespeare's broadband connection system. A Wi-Fi connection option allows remote access. When used with an optional external antenna, it can connect your cellphone or computer over distances up to 50 miles offshore, providing the ability to check e-mail and online weather or perform any other Internet function. CruiseNet includes a 4-port ED-VO or 1xRTT cellular router (depending on cellular provider) and a detachable Shakespeare marine cellular antenna. The cellular router, engineered to commercial specs, is faster than dial-up and more dependable than PC card-based systems. The easily self-installed CruiseNet system operates on 12VDC/120VAC. It includes a 12VDC wiring harness, adapters and a one-year subscription to CruiseNet's exclusive Full-Throttle web-acceleration software. Prices range from $1,750 to $1,995. Contact Shakespeare at 803-227-1590 or www.shakespeare-marine.com.
WxWorx made several changes to its marine software recently, coinciding with the addition of multiple data products to the Master Mariner service package of XM WX satellite weather. The system now includes Canadian weather and surface conditions, forecasted weather and an innovative Fish Forecast, which provides anglers with optimal locations for targeted species. The Fish Forecast model employs several sources, including bathymetry, thermal front locations, sea-surface temps, salinity, turbidity, sea state and chlorophyll, and is completely user-configurable for over 18 species of fish. A variety of price structures and subscription rates are available via XM Satellite Radio. Contact WxWorx at 321-751-9202 or www.wxworx.com.