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New power products from Fort Lauderdale

Evinrude's new E-TEC G2 outboards are available in 200-, 225-, 250- and 300-hp models.Today’s engines and helm controls are designed to accomplish a common goal: make driving a powerboat easier than ever. The easy-boating theme was apparent at this fall’s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

There has been an explosion of new non-pod-drive joystick helm control systems, including joysticks for inboards and outboards. Depending on the system, they work with or without thrusters. Some of these products allow you to retrofit a boat with a joystick system.



Half full or half empty: winter storage and fuel

Winter is upon us, and for those living in cold-weather areas, this unfortunately means a season on the hard. Boaters who winterize are faced with a question: Should I fill my fuel tanks for winter storage or leave them empty? The answer has generated much debate.

A brief history of how fuels have evolved over the last half-century may help to shed some light on your choice. Several decades ago, the U.S. government began to focus on reducing our dependence on foreign oil.




The last few years have brought a wave of electronic innovations to boating. Some of these technologies have made their way down from the commercial marine and automotive worlds; all have been adapted to better suit the needs of yachtsmen and anglers. Digital switching is rapidly replacing on-board analog electronic systems.



Making the switch

Is it time for your electrical system to go digital?

With digital switching, you can monitor the systems on this Scout with an iPad or smartphone.Does the idea of being able to monitor your boat’s systems remotely via your smartphone or tablet sound interesting? How about one-button selection for all commonly used daytime electrical gear and another that would turn on all of the equipment used during nighttime operation — would that put a smile on your face? This functionality represents just several of the many capabilities available on a new generation of boats employing digital switching for their electrical systems.



Pity the fish

The arsenal of technologies at anglers' fingertips includes networked multifunction displays, such as those from Simrad.No corner of the marine market has benefitted more from advancements in electronics than fishermen. The desire for better fishfinding technology has in many ways driven the rapid evolution of electronics for all boaters. Fifty-something anglers, such as myself, have witnessed a parade of “breakthroughs,” beginning with simple electronic flashers, then paper graphs, monochrome CRT echosounders, color CRTs and finally high-definition color LCDs.



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