Boat Tech Trends in 2020

Roundup of the Top New Technology Innovations and Smart Boat Solutions

Technology is taking hold of the marine industry just as it is with many others. From premium electronics to smart navigation systems that can be integrated with several other systems on your boat, there is so much going on that it can be hard to keep up. Of course, there are many different benefits to having technology onboard your vessel, no matter what your intentions are on the water.

Sirius XM Fish Mapping
Photo by Sirius XM

If you’re looking to add a little fun, improve your overall operation, or even add better tools to help you enjoy fishing and other hobbies more, there’s plenty to choose. Keep reading to learn about the five hottest tech innovations on the market right now.

Top 5 Innovations Available Now

SiriusXM Fish Mapping

SiriusXM offers a new service for boaters known as Fish Mapping. This fish finder system utilizes a compilation of SiriusXM Marine’s weather data, along with data on things like:

  • Surface temperature contours and front strength
  • Surface height anomalies
  • Weed lines
  • Fishing recommendations based on fish type
  • Subsurface temperatures
  • Plankton concentrations and front strength

This fish finder can help you find a lot of different species of fish in both fresh and saltwater, thanks to SiriusXM’s data, and the service is available as a monthly subscription package. You will need to purchase a Garmin GXM 54 receiver and download the latest software before subscribing, and new members can enjoy a free month when they sign up.

Spot-Lock from Minn Kota

The Spot-Lock is the industry-leading location locking technology available for boaters today. This tool offers simple integration on any boat and makes it easy for you to lock into your favorite spots accurately so that you can come back time and time again. The system can be operated directly through your multi-function display, or you can use the app, micro remote, or optional i-Pilot remote with upgraded features and integrated technology.

The latest software is the most accurate yet, and a new “jog” feature allows you to move exactly five feet in any direction at the push of a button. Freshwater and saltwater motors with Spot-Lock are available, with more models adding this feature as it becomes increasingly popular among anglers.

One-Boat Network (Spot-Lock + Hummingbird)

To segue from the previous item on the list, the new One-Boat Network from Minn Kota and Hummingbird is changing the way you fish by offering interconnectivity between devices. This system allows information sharing between the multi-function display (MFD), Talon shallow-water anchor, and your electric trolling motor.

The Hummingbird will tell the motor where it needs to go, and it will tell the anchor when to drop. The Spot-Lock, when used to hover, can lock your position into the display, and with a few touches, you can be back to that spot in no time even if you don’t remember where it was. Although there are similar systems available already, none have the shallow-water anchor and the newest feature: the i-Pilot Link remote integration.

Those who have the remote can integrate it with the MFD so that you can do all of the same things from anywhere on the boat. You can lock in a location, tell the motor to take you there, and even navigate back after you’ve left, all from a handy remote anywhere on the deck.

Evinrude E-TEC G2 Outboard

The E-TEC G-2 from Evinrude claims to be the “only outboard that lets you have it all”, according to the website, offering a direct injection engine that is the most efficient one available today. The engine utilizes advanced software that analyzes the entire combustion process and results in an increase in torque of up to 30% compared to other engines.

Aside from being the most efficient, the E-TEC G2 also boasts being the cleanest outboard motor in the world, and it offers as much as a 15% increase in fuel economy, and various builds are available for the perfect specs based on your exact boating needs. This eco-friendly, future-forward engine is the second generation in the E-TEC line, but it’s leading the way in tech innovations in the outboard department.

STREX Fasteners

These might not be part of the surge of available technology, but it’s technology that designed these beauties to take out one of the biggest hassles in owning a boat: covering it. With STREX fasteners, you can attach them once and be done. Just clip the fasteners to the snaps on your boat cover and install the clips along the hull. Then, you pull your cover over, snap it in place, and you’re good to go.
These fasteners even come in black and white to match your boat or cover, and the stretch in the STREX fasteners will make up for the shrinkage in your cover and save the hassle of fragile or difficult snaps. Whether you need a cheap solution for a shrinking cover or are just tired of struggling to cover your boat, these fasteners may be the ideal solution.

What About Smart Boats?

That’s right—just as many homeowners are upgrading their homes to include smart technology, many boat owners have chosen to upgrade to “smart boats”, or at least to adopt some smart technology on their vessel. We’ll get into the details more in a later article, but for now, here’s a quick look at just a few of the smart upgrades available today:

Smart Autopilot that can navigate the motor from a tablet or smartphone

Smart Sonar systems that include apps so you can monitor the fishing grounds from your phone

Smart Maps and Marine Charts that can be accessed from a smartphone
Smart Scales that integrate with your smartphone and record a variety of data, which you can also share

Stay updated on the current smart boating trends and industry news to find out what’s next in the smart boat market and how you can benefit from these upgrades.

Wrapping Up

Now that you know more about all the great tech tools and toys for your boat, you’ll be able to choose the best upgrades for your next project. Remember that most of these tools are optional, so you shouldn’t put too much stress into the shopping experience. Enjoy the cool features and specs, and read up on what fellow boaters have to say about the different toys and tools available so that you can choose the best tech innovations for your boat, no matter what those might be.

Written by: Valerie Mellema

Valerie Mellema is a writer, published author and avid bass angler who lives on the shores of Lake Fork in East Texas — the top bass lake in Texas and the fifth in the nation. For the past 10 years, she and her husband have enjoyed the pontoon boat lifestyle while fishing a lake that not only has bass but beautiful wildlife as well. She holds a BS in Agribusiness/Equine Business and regularly contributes articles to, YachtWorld and Boat Trader.


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