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Tech Talk: Boating Tech

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Hundreds of years ago, sailors used compasses and stars for navigation. Now, modern day boaters have devices like GPS to help them navigate the waters.

"Now they`ve graduated into GPS, especially on the river system with the changing sandbars and everything like that. They want something that will keep them in a safe track down the river," said Vallely Sport and Marine Parts and Accessories Manager Ken Bleth.

Modern trolling motors can be programmed to navigate on their own.

"The current technology is where the whole autopilot system is operated off of satellite too. So you can store trails and tracks and all kinds of stuff in them," Bleth said. more...


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BoatUS Gives Thanks to Boaters Who Spoke Up: "Save My GPS"

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ALEXANDRIA, Va., May 30, 2012 – Nearly a year ago, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) began asking recreational boaters, anglers and the marine industry to speak out about the potential loss of reliable GPS – the country’s sole electronic navigation system. A private venture, LightSquared, backed by billions of dollars in funding, had plans to build a nationwide 4G broadband cellular telephone network but unfortunately, tests had shown this plan would interfere with GPS signals creating grave safety concerns. The company recently announced that it has filed for bankruptcy after the build-out of the network was halted by the FCC.  more...


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Cell Phones and Chart Plotters, Working Together

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Raymarine's e7 systems, one of which is shown here synced with an iPad, are among the smart units that can exchange information with mobile devices.

Your pocket communicator can complement your chart plotter – in fact, it can even talk to it.

Got both a cell phone and a chartplotter? Well, if both are WiFi and Bluetooth capable, you’re at the forefront of electronic navigation. Between these two modern devices navigation is a breeze, and these days, they can even work together to get you from point A to point B.  more...



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Boat building: the rewards of doing it yourself

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My father was recovering from a heart attack, flipping through a magazine at the library, when he decided to build his first boat.

He saw an ad for a wooden kayak kit, and something about the grace of the construction and the fact that it was done by hand struck him. Despite a lack of woodworking skills, he decided to try building one himself.

"The process was slow and plodding," he said. "But then a light bulb goes off in your head and you realize why it was designed that way, why it fits that way."

That was back in 2001, and there have been other projects since: a 14-foot sailboat, a second kayak and a guitar. Working with wood is a constant learning experience for my dad, Russ Glazer. On the phone, he'll launch into a breathless discussion of scarf joints, rolling bevels or Brazilian blood wood. He studies diagrams, calls manufacturers, browses online forums, reads instructions, and collects purple bruises and bloodied fingers.  more...



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Coleman Introduces a Propane Camping Oven to keep your Waistline Nice and Plump on Trip

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Coleman Camping Oven

I don’t care what camping traditionalists or lightweight campers have to say; I feel that Coleman’s new propane powered camping oven is one of the greatest inventions in the last 10 minutes.

The $250 cooking tool (clearly stolen from the camping god’s home in the mountains) comes with two gas burners for cooking bacon while the stove below it has been scientifically designed for cooking a perfect 12” pizza or a pan of cinnamon buns. I’m sure you can cook other things in the oven but really, wouldn’t that be just a waste of gas? more...



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Anchoring Hand Signals

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Recently while on a trip down to check the MV Independence, a boat neighbor at the dock stopped me and asked about anchoring.  He said that many times he and his wife get into this shouting match because she’s up at the bow dropping the anchor and he’s running the boat.  She’s screaming at him to do something, but with her back turned, and the sounds of the engines, he only hears "Bob, mumph, blah, blah, @&#%!"  He said he watched us come in to a local anchorage once, and how without a word, you calmly walked to the bow, your wife took the helm, and viola’ you were anchored.  Never a word was heard between you two.  Of course my wife gave me a dirty look and said, "why can’t we do that!"    more...


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Want to properly practice shooting flares? Here’s how

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Most boaters will never fire off a flare from their boats, but it’s a good idea to know how in case you ever need to.

And properly staging a practice run is easier than you might think — you just need to let the U.S. Coast Guard know.

That’s what the operator of a 38-foot vessel named Down Time did. A flare exercise will be conducted on the boat at 11:30 a.m. today, Nov. 18, in Hood Canal. The coordinator of the exercise notified Coast Guard District 13, which then added the item to its weekly Local Notice to Mariners, a list of channel conditions, obstructions, danger areas and other on-water happenings of interest to boaters.   more...



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Compass Eye App for iPhone and iPad Helps Sailors Safely Navigate Stormy Seas

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Compass Eye app
Sailors can now use their iPhones and iPads as a multi-functional bearing compass that replaces the need for compass binoculars and professional bearing compasses for explorations and excursions. Electric Pocket Ltd announces the launch of Compass Eye, an exciting new nautical Augmented Reality app for iPhone and iPad.  more...


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Why Is Carbon Fiber So Expensive?

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When carbon fiber was first trotted out in solid rocket motor cases and tanks in the 1960s, it was poised to not only take on fiberglass, but also a whole host of other materials.

What happened?

50 years later it's still an exotic material. Sure, Batman's got it in his suit, expensive cars feature smatterings of it in their dashboards and performance parts, but at $10 a pound on the low end, it's still too pricy for wide-scale deployment. We've been using this stuff for decades. Where's our materials science Moore's Law to make this stuff cheap? Why is this stuff still so expensive?  more...



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Johnson Outdoors Acquires Lakemaster

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Lakemaster bathymetrics go down to one foot increments.Johnson Outdoors has announced their acquisition of Lakemaster electronic chartography, as well as Pro Map Technologies (Lakemaster’s inland waterway survey technology). The purchase comes with the assets of Waypoint Technologies, which Johnson snapped up early in July. This starts yet another phase in the growth of Johnson Outdoors, parent company to Humminbird, Cannon Downriggers, and Minn Kota electric trolling motors, which recently expanded into the saltwater marine market with the purchase of Geonav.   more...


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Detroit to host Great Lakes Week

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Detroit will host a first-of-its-kind environmental gathering in October, when three major conservation groups bring their annual or biennial meetings to the city to discuss the health of the Great Lakes.  more...


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Canadians lobby Governor-elect Rick Snyder on a 2nd Detroit River bridge

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Canada's Minister of Transport met with Mich. Gov.-elect Rick Snyder today in Lansing to affirm the government of Canada's support for the proposed Detroit River International Crossing bridge project. more...


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‘Longreach’ Lifebuoy-Firing Bazooka Wins James Dyson Award

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The Longreach Buoyancy Deployment System has just won the James Dyson Award. Its dull name rather obscures just how cool it is. The Longreach is a bazooka that fires life-belts up to 500-feet, targeting drowning-victims and saving their lives.  more...


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Boating seat invention getting national buzz

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taylor-searock-billy-resiKINSTON — Billy and Lee Taylor accepted the fact that many things would change when Nash, their son and first-born child, came into their lives during June 2007.

One change the Kinston couple refused to give up was their love for boating.

“Like a lot of Kinstonians, my wife and I go to the beach most weekends and boat – it is our favorite thing in the world to do,” Billy Taylor said. “But the following summer when we went out to Shackleford Banks, it turned out to be disastrous. After about an hour of Nash playing in the sun, he wanted to come in and we had to pack up the coolers and the dogs.”  more...



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