Navigation Equipment:Navigation equipment can include anything you use to aid in the navigation and tracking of your vessel or vessels. Typically, a new vessel will have some amount of pre-installed equipment to aid you in the delivery and general operation of the vessel. These devices are often linked together in a network such as NMEA, NMEA 2000, Navnet, etc.
More and more boaters are looking to their personal computers for navigating on their vessels. Using a computer as a primary means for navigation can be faster, easier and give you more options. Everyday life basically requires the use of a computer, at this point, and bringing their functionality to your vessel opens up options such as email, weather, internet and entertainment. With the right software and equipment, you will be able to quickly interface with your ships systems, chart plotters, and networks. Computers are easily networked together, giving your vessel the ability to share files and other information, printers, NMEA data, and internet connections.
Chart plotter Navigation:
Chart plotters are a common and reliable installation. There are many different brands, each with their own features. All will give you the basic features when connected to a GPS: track where you are, where you have been, and plan a route to show you where you would like to go. Additionally, these chart plotters are becoming more and more easily networked. Interfaces like Navnet, from Furuno, are high speed networks that are basically the same as what you would find in your home or office.
Getting your vessel’s data to the equipment needed is a crucial step. Typically, new vessels already have a type of network for distributing data from different devices throughout the vessel. This could be NMEA 0183, NMEA 2000, or a high speed network. This basic information flows throughout the vessel and can be tapped into in a few different ways. With a computer chart plotting system or a standard chart plotter like a Furuno, your NMEA data will become accessible. Wind, speed, depth and so on will show up on your screens and, in some cases, you will be able to manipulate this data for route planning and weather routing. Additionally, getting the NMEA or ships data to your other equipment can be done a number of ways--USB connections and network connections are two quick and easy ways.
For up-to-date weather info, you will need to have means of communication with the outside world. This can be done with an SSB and additional software/hardware, allowing you to capture weather broadcasts, Navtex forecasts, Surface Analysis and GRIB Files for weather routing. Additionally, an internet connection can get you to everything from the NOAA website to local forecasts for daily downloads. These weather files are also available through a weather consolidation program such as ClearPoint Weather or Ocens WeatherNet. These programs are geared for communication over a slow speed connection in case you're using a satellite phone and allow you to, when available; download the same weather at high speed uncompressed for higher detail. With your ships sensors and a weather solution, current weather and forecasts quickly become part of your everyday routine, keeping you safe and knowledgeable about the world around you.
Peripherals and extra control/display devices:
These devices make every day interfacing much easier, from wireless keyboards and wireless screens to printers and speakers. Your extra controls and devices, especially used in conjunction with a computer based chart plotting system, make everything easier. Adding extra screens in different locations, wireless keyboards for control without the hassle of chords, Touchscreens to get rid of the keyboards and mice completely, allows you and your guests access to the ships' systems from anywhere onboard and more. These extras board are necessities for everyday life.
Keeping track for your vessel and letting your friends, family, and fans know where you are is a concern for many boaters. Now, with easy-to-use and install tracking units, you can quickly give your vessel a tracking system. This can be as easy as using a Skymate or Inmarsat-C unit to as complex as an advance vessel security system which goes above and beyond tracking to include letting you know if the bilge water alarm is going off, or if a door/motion sensor has been tripped.
Staying on top of chart changes and keeping your charting information updated keeps you safe. C-map, for example, owned by Jeppesen Marine/Nobeltec, allows you to connect over the internet and download updated notice to mariners and chart changes.