Tag Archives: Furuno


When the AIS SART devices became available 4-5 years ago, we bought two RescueAIS. They are clipped on to our life vest.  The unit we have can be activated in two different ways.

1. Automatic activation when you fall in the water.  I think this is very important as the person will most likely be in shock.  Finding a small button in the water would not be easy.

2. Manual activation.

The idea with a AIS SART  is that the crew on the boat should be able to find and rescue the person in the water.

The AIS SART  is a portable device that includes a AIS transmitter and a GPS.


When activated it sends identity and position on the frequency for AIS.  If you have a AIS on-board  a target will show up on your plotter.

I have always wondered how this target would look?  

This summer we got the answer.  The AIS SART  was activated by mistake as it was jammed into the hanging locker.

I was looking at another AIS target that was lying more or less on our boat.  We sailed and this target sailed as fast and in the same direction as Bella Luna. No other boats were in sight!

After 1-2 hours the coin fell down, and I opened the hanging locker.  Sure enough, the little LED on the AIS SART  was flashing.

So now I know how the target looks on a Furuno Navnet 3D plotter. 

It looks no different from other targets (boats) on the screen.  The only difference is that the MMSI number starts on 9.  Off course it would be better if the target would be displayed as in the example below.   But as long as you understand how it will look, I do not consider it as a big problem.  How the target looks on your plotter, depends on the software in your plotter.  According to Furuno, the new software version 2.11, will display a proper SART icon.  

How it looks and sounds on a Raymarine Plotter you can see below.

Other options for finding MOB and boats are PLB and or EPIRB.

The main difference between a AIS SART  and PLB/EPIRBS is following:

AIS SART  transmit position and ID to your own boat which means you can find and rescue the crew member yourself.  Other boats with AIS receivers that are also close to the MOB will also be able to help in the search & rescue.

EPIRB and PLB send ID and position over satellite to a rescue coordinator.  That might be the best alternative when you are in the life raft, but not swimming in the water as.


In my earlier post I mentioned how important it is to have updated charts onboard.

On Bella Luna we use Navionics, C-Map and Mapmedia charts. Same database can be used in the Furuno Navnet plotter and on two PCs with Maxsea Time Zero Explorer Software. Updates can only be made from the Maxsea web page.

We also use our IPAD with the Navionics APP as backup.

The update policy for Maxsea charts has never been easy to understand. Fortunately Maxsea have improved the system and made it easier to find your updates. Log in to your account at MyMaxsea.

Then click Store/Charts updates and you will find if there is an update available.

Price for a major update is 50% of the price you would pay for a new chart. Minor updates, between major updates are free.


Minor update is when the decimal changes, 3.1 to 3.2.

A major update is when it goes from 3.xx to 4.0. Same logic is used for updates of Maxsea software. Current version number for Maxsea Time Zero Explorer software is 2.04.

Major updates for charts are estimated to be released every 12 month.

In worse case scenario you buy updated charts that was released 11 month ago and have to pay another 50% one month later. It might be wise to check release date before clicking on the update button.

With a predicted update cycle of 12 month you will buy the chart new every 24 month.

With this pricing structure there is little incentive for updating all your charts. The advice must be to only update the charts you need in the near future.

In order to get updated charts on the IPAD you need to upgrade your APP to Navionics+. This is an In-APP purchase. Go to “Upgrades & Apps” The Navionics+ upgrade gives you the opportunity to update your charts to the latest version. This option is quite inexpensive compared to Maxsea pricing structure. For 40 Euro get updates for one year.


RASTER versa VECTOR Charts?

The answer to the question is,  we use both!

The Furuno 3D MFD and MaxSea Timezero offer the possibility to use both raster and vector charts. Furuno has a technology that allows you to zoom in on a raster chart whiteout loosing sharpness. Only when you are over zoomed you start to experience a blur. But then you are using scales that are not safe for navigation.

I thought raster was something that belonged to the past, and could not really understand why Furuno built in this possibility.  But boy was I wrong! Today we use the raster charts more than the vector charts!

The big advantage with raster charts is that you have all information in one layer. No matter what settings you are on in the plotter, all information will be visible, rocks, depth figures, name of villages, traffic separation zones etc.

We almost hit a rock in Norway some years ago, when we used vector chart. For some reason the rock was not visible at the scale I was looking at. If we zoomed in the rock was visible. This is the main disadvantage with vector charts. They are made in many layers in order to be user-friendly and save space on the hard disk. I can only guess the programmer made a mistake and forgot the rock in one layer.

We use Navionics or Jeppesen (C-map) for vector and Mapmedia for raster charts. And yes, we always have raster and vector charts on the Furuno Navnet 3D plotter and would not want to be out of either one.  If we would have to choose I would go for the raster charts.

Both Navionics and C-Map origin from a raster chart. The information is digitalised manually and/or automatically.  It is easy to understand that the information cannot improve, as long as a paper chart is the original. In best case it can be as good.

One of the great features with Furuno, is that the screen can display both vector and raster charts at the same time.

Look at the picture down below that shows Baiona, Spain. Left Raster and to the right Vector. As you can see there is more details on the raster chart.