New Gear: Stay Connected

Three new items to help you keep in touch at sea

At sea, when minutes count, you need reliable communications. This month, we checked out an EPIRB that also utilizes AIS frequencies to assist in reach and rescue, a sleek VHF and a tiny yet powerful satellite communicator.

McMurdo SmartFind G8 AIS EPIRB

SmartFind G8 AIS EPIRB
Courtesy of the manufacturer

Now available for the U.S. market, the Smartfind G8 AIS EPIRB is the first of its kind to include the AIS frequency. When activated, the unit will not only ­signal the distress to the Cospas-­Sarsat satellite networks, but also alert all the AIS ­receivers in the local area, increasing the chances of a faster rescue.

Furuno FM-4800 VHF

FM-4800 VHF
Courtesy of the manufacturer

The clean, simple look of the FM4800 VHF radio belies its impressive functionality. The radio features a built-in GPS receiver, so no external source is necessary to utilize its digital selective calling capabilities. Its internal AIS receiver can share data over your boat's network. The radio is waterproof to IP68 standard and also can be used as a loud hailer, intercom and even a fog horn.


Garmin inReach Mini

inReach Mini
Courtesy of the manufacturer

Small but mighty, the inReach Mini measures just 4 inches tall by 2 inches wide and weighs 3.5 ounces. However, it's still a full-fledged satellite communicator offering two-way messaging and SOS functions. The unit can be paired through Bluetooth with smartphones and also works with Garmin's line of smartwatches.