NauticExpo e-Magazine - #4 - Live from METS - NauticExpo e-Magazine

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     SPECIAL EDITION 


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     SPECIAL EDITION 


The Online Boating and Maritime Exhibition

METS Special Issue

Once more, the new product frenzy swept through Amsterdam. Augmented reality glasses, new communication protocols, connected safety bracelets—you’ll find them all in the new NauticExpo e-Magazine. This issue covers METS, perhaps the most influential trade show in the industry.

Not only will you find information about the latest cutting-edge products, you’ll also learn more about the biggest trends in the boating industry, such as hybrid propulsion for superyachts and next-generation safety equipment.

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Any mention of hybrid power is often when people’s alarm bells start ringing.


Hybrid superyachts are no longer novelties, yet they are still scarce enough that their technological features are highly specialized and unique. According to the First Export Association of Dutch Shipbuilders (Feadship), Savannah is the first hybrid superyacht, and the first to feature an eco-friendly blend of single...

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Finding your way through thousands of similar products needs a careful approach.


Safety equipment is often mandatory by law according to boat size, type and flag. In 1948 the United Nations created the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a permanent body that deals with maritime safety; signatory countries adopt laws according to rules and regulations drawn up by the IMO.

Leisure boats need a limited number of safety items, while a large yacht is subject to strict regulations for mandatory safety equipments. Those costs can be orders of magnitude higher. “A large yacht needs a Fire & Safety Plan where all devices are clearly indicated, deck by deck. All items undergo expensive periodical survey according to the yacht’s classification,” says P.S. Captain of a 50-meter motor yacht.

Bleeding-Edge Electronic Devices

“To safely run a yacht we adopt bleeding-edge electronic devices. Automatic radar plotting aids, AIS/transponders, thermal-imaging cameras, echo-sounders and redundant GPS units are all meant to minimize risk in all navigational situations.”

Courtesy of Ray Marine

Courtesy of Ray Marine

The newest chartplotters with super-bright, multifunction touchscreens come with built-in GPS receiver and Wi-Fi access to constantly update charts. Sonar technology provides forward-looking, two-dimensional sonar views of the bottom depth ahead of the yacht – a powerful defense against running aground and an invaluable tool for locating secure sites to drop anchor.

“Within the sphere of e-navigation, sophisticated integrated bridge configurations have been developed,” says Captain P.S. “Integrated navigation systems allow to keep under control all technical equipment very easily, so I’d include them in the safety equipment list, too. It’s hard to keep up with technological progress, this is why I usually attend training courses and trade shows.”

Integrated Bridge Systems combine systems and functions, offering a centralized access and monitoring of various navigational tools. They make it possible to monitor operations, communication, machinery, safety and security; they generally include autopilot, radar, gyro, steering gear, electronic chart displays and information system.

A New Generation of Lifejackets

By adopting ultra-light, super-resistant materials, a new generation of lifejackets and life rafts is now available, while state-of-the-art electronic devices allow for affordable communication/safety items.

“Finding your way through thousands of similar products needs a careful approach,” says Leonardo Zuccaro, professional skipper and general manager of Marina Dorica, one of the largest marinas on the Italian Adriatic coast, with over 1,200 berths. “Our advice is to focus only on internationally reputed companies with a strong technical background. Maybe you will spend more but what you get are long-lasting products and after-sale assistance.”

Maybe you will spend more but what you get are long-lasting products and after-sale assistance.

Small, Thin and Flexible

Courtesy of Spinlock

Courtesy of Spinlock

Starting with familiar items like lifejackets, the latest innovations involve materials, weight and dimensions. “The most advanced lifevests are small, thin and flexible. Some are built right into technical clothing. A great choice are inflatable life vests that are light and compact as a scarf until they hit water.” Zuccaro says.

Automatic inflation works by the controlled release of carbon dioxide. Lifejackets with a water-sensitive activation system use either a compressed paper capsule that dissolves when wet and then releases a spring to puncture the CO2 cylinder, or are activated by water pressure. Many automatic inflating harnesses are equipped with flashing lights, PLB or EPIRB.

Personal AIS Devices

“A man overboard is the worst fear for a skipper, but today, personal beacons and MOB individual alarms are available,” says G.P. skipper aboard a 39.95-meter J-Class replica. “During offshore navigation and sail races, particularly at night, crew members should constantly carry a personal AIS device, and a ‘LifeTag wireless Man Overboard’ system that launches a sound alarm instantly if somebody falls overboard.

With a view to increasing safety and convenience, during sailing races we frequently wear sleeveless jackets capable of providing the same buoyancy as a 50N lifejacket. Buoyancy is obtained by using closed-cell polyethylene strips, which are filled with air and microbeads.”

Highly Reliable Liferafts

“Brands like Spinlock, Onyx, Plastimo, Tribord, Lalizas, Baltic Safety Products, SeaCurity and Ocean Safety master state-of-the-art production of life vests and some of them produce also highly reliable life rafts. R&D departments are constantly working on developing new products,” reports one of the technical manager.

Offshore life rafts have indeed undergone some impressive improvements in these last few years. From lighter fabric for the buoyancy tubes through the use of new cylinders for the inflation of the rafts, it is possible to reach major weight savings.” Dimensions of valises and canisters have also been reduced allowing easier storing and handling.

I can’t help but underline how much electronics changed my life as a sailor.

“Thinking on safety on board I can’t help but underline how much electronics changed my life as a sailor,” says G.K., who took part in several Volvo Ocean Races. “Alongside renowned brands such as Furuno, Mc Murdo, Simrad, Kannad, Ocean Signal always at the forefront of innovation – I’m not linked to any of them – there are small yet reliable companies that develop systems ruggedized for safety applications based on ‘commercial off-the-shelf’ products. By doing so, they can offer equipment that are competitive and affordable on any budget.”




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Signal K is heralded by some as the next step in marine data exchange.


Monitoring a boat has been significantly expanding with owners now able to monitor vessels from their phone or iPad thanks to apps. Choosing a technical solution is not always easy, but the development of ‘smart boating solutions’ is making that process and the task of monitoring boats a little less complicated. One...

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FLIR’s Ocean Scout thermal camera could ease the challenge  of spotting things when out at sea either at night or day. This camera relies on thermal imaging as...


Dokensip allows boat owners to monitor their boats through a mobile app. The company launched its system in 2015 aimed at boat owners who do not have time to...

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    While a chart plotter can show where everything around is supposed to be, nothing beats a radar for navigational safety. The basic principle of radar operation is based on the fact that radio waves are reflected by objects. Because propagated electromagnetic waves are traveling through air at a constant speed, it is possible to determine the distance between an object and the radar.

    Electromagnetic waves were first described in 1865. However, the knowledge and technology of radar as we know it today is created through an accumulation of many developments and improvements. This continued evolution leads to extra features, more accuracy and lighter weight solutions.

    Raymarine Integrates CHIRP technology

    The Quantum Raymarine-FLIR radar is a next-generation radar with CHIRP technology. CHIRP is perhaps the most significant radar advance in recent years. By applying mathematical techniques to conventional pulsed radar, range and resolution can be increased while using less peak input power.

    Courtesy of Raymarine

    Courtesy of Raymarine

    Raymarine took advantage of this technique. It results in outstanding close-range detection and improved details at minimum distance of 5.4 meters. The Quantum radar simplifies installation through integrated WiFi and thin cables. Its lightweight design weighs approximately 50% less than equivalent radar and the low power consumption (17 W transmitting and 7 W standby) guarantees extended battery use and a safe level of radiated emissions.

    Furuno introduces a Target Analyzer

    The new Furuno DRS4D-NXT solid-state pulse compression Doppler radar packs the performance of an open array radar in a compact 24” radome. This concept gives no advantage in terms of low power consumption, but it excels with striking features. It is the first radar in the world using the new Furuno Target Analyzer function. Approaching targets automatically change color to help you identify them. Green color targets are stationary or are moving away. Red targets are hazardous or moving toward you.

    Also a new RezBoost technology is incorporated into the DRS4D-NXT. RezBoost creates beam sharpening, equivalent to 2 degree beam width open array. Like the larger DRS6A model, the DRS4D also has bird mode, which helps you identify birds gathering around schools of fish at the sea surface. And the innovation doesn’t stop here: With the new DRS4W Furuno launched world’s first wireless radar that you can access directly from your iOS devices.

    It is now possible to precisely locate a man over board thanks to a smart bracelet paired with smartphones. Called Sea Tags, this solution benefits from beacon...

    Business data accessible everywhere, from any connected device, cloud computing is one of the major innovations throughout all industries. Marina management...


    Swiss-based electronic instrument manufacturer JDC has launched recently its latest weather station, the Skywatch BL500. This pocket-sized device (26*116 mm)...

    The Port of Vancouver is paying closer attention to the wildlife in its local waters. Its EcoAction program potentially saves ship owners up to 47% on charges if vessels meet certain classification criteria.

    Orla Robinson, program manager for Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) program, says that one of the key disturbances for whales is the amount of noise that is produced under the water. The noise disrupts the whales’ echo sounding, used to locate food and others whales, which prevents them from feeding.

    Innovative Technologies

    Helping to clean up the waters around the Vancouver port area, innovative technologies such as hull cleaning and changing speeds and propeller adaptations like Mewis Ducts are being looked at.

    Class societies are also assisting with this initiative. BV, DNV.GL and RINA have their own form of quiet notation, where vessels have to meet with certain criteria for noise and vibration emitted by a vessel.

    Under the EcoAction program there are also benefits for ship owners who take precautions when navigating the Vancouver waters. The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority EcoAction program currently offers discounted harbor due rates to vessels that have implemented practices to protect the environment.

    Quietening Ship Classifications

    “Beginning on January 1, 2017, EcoAction criteria will be extended to include vessel-quietening ship classifications and technologies that reduce underwater noise affecting at risk marine life,” highlighted Daniele Jang, media relations and government affairs for the Port of Vancouver.

    The port is offering two levels of discount to ship owners who meet with the criteria that is laid out: Gold will have the highest discount at 47% savings on port dues, and bronze will have a discount rate of 23%.

    Further technology is also being undertaken in the area of hull cleaning. A joint research project that is currently being carried out by All-Sea looks at the effectiveness of its  so-called whale shark hull cleaning solution.

    Vessel Fuel Consumption

    Jang concludes that “the IMO guidelines released in 2014 identify a number of other maintenance activities, technologies and design features that should lead to a reduction of vessel noise outputs. In some cases, those identified noise reduction technologies are also thought to result in a reduction of vessel fuel consumption.

    Technologies that can provide scientific evidence to demonstrate a reduction in both vessel noise output and vessel fuel consumption will offer a win-win solution for vessel owners/operators, in terms of both economic and environmental responsibilities.”


    Wim Vercauter

    Wim Vercauter is a freelance boating editor and a fire safety expert.

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    Maria Roberta Morso

    Maria Roberta Morso is a freelance yachting journalist based in Italy.

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    Tony Slinn

    Formerly editor-in-chief of IHS Maritime, Tony Slinn is an independent maritime journalist.

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    Samantha Fisk

    Samantha Fisk worked at RINA for 7 years and has now gone into freelance for European magazines.

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    Ludovic Nachury

    Journalist and innovation enthusiast for more than 10 years, Ludovic Nachury is VirtualExpo e-magazine’s editor-in-chief.

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