Steer Clear of Information Overload

All-in-one digital monitoring systems increase situational awareness and help achieve maximum efficiency and performance.

FSF Staff February 9, 2012

Everywhere you look you see them. From stoplights on city streets to the flat-screen TVs in your living room, nearly every daily task is now affected and controlled by computers. In fact, it’s highly likely you have a computer in your pocket right now. Revolutionizing the way modern humans interact and survive, it’s safe to say that the computer age is just getting started. And regardless whether you prowl fertile shallows on a lean budget or prefer to target big game with a tricked out battlewagon, computers have a large influence on your fishing explorations. While you may be a traditionalist against such a hostile takeover, there is no denying that computers and highly intuitive instrumentation make our boating experiences more enjoyable.

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If you’re still working with mechanical throttles and glancing at analog gauges it is time you step out of the dark ages. Mercury was the first to introduce a digital suite of gauges, sensors, vessel monitoring systems and computer-controlled features, and continues to impress users with their SmartCraft network.

The bottom line is that you’ll be spending more time fishing and less time monitoring.

Vessel View is Mercury’s premier system for multi-outboard configurations and monitors a wide range of data including engine diagnostics, RPM, fuel flow and management, critical temperature readings, speed and engine trim. The computer also keeps a detailed log of the engine’s history, which is a huge benefit when troubleshooting.

MercMonitor is the newest addition to the SmartCraft family and offers an affordable digital vessel monitoring system for those who don’t need Vessel View. While capable of displaying an impressive amount of data, perhaps the best part of the MercMonitor is the ECO-Screen. This innovative feature constantly monitors engine RPM, trim, boat speed and fuel consumption, and automatically calculates and informs users of exactly what they need to do to obtain maximum fuel efficiency.

Building on the success and innovations of their original helm instrumentation system, Yamaha’s Command Link Plus offers users complete control and total situational awareness with clear and concise insight of all on board systems with a single advanced digital network.

Starting with a modern key panel that energizes the ignition system of multiple outboards with a single key, Command Link Plus is an entire system offering convenient push button Start/Stop, Digital Electronic Controls that offer easy operation of both shift and throttle functions for up to four outboards, and a large, sunlight viewable 5″ LCD screen. Yamaha’s Command Link Plus makes outboard optimization effortless. Major benefits over past units include automatic RPM synchronization and a separate electronic control unit for each engine. And if you’re looking to upgrade your outdated system the dimensions for the newest equipment are the same. Replacing with a newer unit is simple and won’t leave any unnecessary holes in your console.

The latest Command Link also integrates a full-color display that has the ability to display up to 60 options on a single screen. Easy to use and fully customizable, Command Link Plus can keep you up to date with a plethora of engine statistics including shift position, fuel and water tank levels, trip distance, RPM, speed, fuel flow and fuel economy, oil pressure, water pressure and battery voltage. Users can also customize the display with different style virtual gauges and background colors.

One of the greatest advancements is Command Link Plus’ new theft deterrent called YCOP. Incorporating a key fob instead of mechanical ignition, YCOP locks and unlocks your motor(s) with the push of a button. In the event a criminal tries to hotwire your motor, speed is limited to a mere 2500 RPM, so a quick getaway is out of the question.

No matter your outboard preference, computer monitors will greatly enhance your overall situational awareness and certainly help you increase fuel efficiency. These state-of-the-art gauges tell you exactly how much fuel you’re burning at any RPM for any amount of engines. The information displayed also includes an accurate miles-per-gallon number so you’ll never again have to question your efficiency and performance. In addition, modern gauges can be integrated with NMEA2000 components to patch the data directly to your multifunction displays. With the ability to receive real-time information on multiple outboards, access critical trip data and distance, set logs, depth alarms and most importantly review a plethora of fuel statistics, digital monitoring systems certainly make your on the water experiences more enjoyable.

Another benefit that can’t be ignored is valuable dash space. A complete arsenal of gauges for twin, triple and quad outboard engine configurations with multiple fuel tanks can eat up lots of dash space, not to mention creating a situation that could be challenging to monitor in heavy seas. With a single-screen-reveals-it-all monitoring system, you can keep tabs on exactly what you want when you need it. The benefit is that you’ll spend more time fishing and less time monitoring.

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