Not even new Covid variants and ongoing supply chain woes can stop the avalanche of new boating gear that’s coming to market in 2022. Masked and sanitised, Boating New Zealand’s Craig Ritchie went to METSTRADE – the world’s largest boating parts and accessories trade show – for a first-hand look at what’s coming to store shelves over the next 12 months.

Held in Amsterdam, Netherlands each November, METSTRADE is the world’s largest marine equipment trade show – a global supermarket of boat bits and marine accessories that’s quite unlike anything else in the world.

Off limits to the public, METS is where the boatbuilders and marine equipment stores go to shop, and where all the newest nautical gear makes its global debut. In a normal year METSTRADE attracts around 20,000 visitors from more than 100 countries. Yet even in 2021, with large chunks of the world still blanketed under Covid travel restrictions and the Netherlands itself under a partial lockdown, a masked and socially distanced METSTRADE still attracted more than 1,000 exhibitors from more than 40 countries.

Among a literal landslide of new product announcements, two key themes emerge. New gear coming to market is increasingly focused on making boating easier than ever, while bringing high-end features once found only on huge megayachts down to smaller boats and the core of the market.

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With vaccination receipts in hand and with a briefcase loaded with hand sanitiser and N95 masks, Boating New Zealand was there to bring you this sneak peek at just some of goodies coming your way in 2022.

ACR RESQLINK VIEW

ACR Electronics’ new line of next-generation ResQLink personal locator beacons with return link capability are the world’s first user-wearable rescue beacons with two-way communication, meaning the device can actually confirm that its SOS signal has been received and that help is on the way. Thanks to a multi-constellation receiver utilising both the Galileo GNSS and GPS satellite networks for faster location and improved accuracy, the candy bar-sized device comes with a built-in clothing clip for collar or belt mounting. Battery life exceeds 24 hours.

AQUA-BASE ARUBA WATER MAKER

With its high-capacity and fully-automatic operation, the Aqua- Base Aruba quickly turns sea water to potable fresh water, churning out anywhere from 60 to 300 litres of the stuff per hour. Unique inverter technology means it draws little power, with all operations controlled by a simple touch-screen panel. While it’s intended for use in new-build boats, the company says the Aruba is an easy retrofit to existing boats, with its compact dimensions and low power draw being key reasons to upgrade.

GALE FORCE 150HP ELECTRIC OUTBOARD MOTOR

While electric outboards have been around for years, Gale Force aims to make an impression in 2022 with its 150 horsepower-equivalent electric outboard. The whisper-silent motor generates a peak output of 185 horsepower and cruises all day generating thrust comparable to a 150, all with no emissions, noise or fumes. The Norwegian company unveiled the motor for the first time at METSTRADE, and is now setting up a global distribution network.

DOMETIC SEASTAR TRIM TABS

Dometic Marine introduced a lot of new products at METSTRADE this year, topped by its SeaStar Standard trim tab system. The tabs feature an intelligent actuator and a simple dial control to make operation as easy as it gets – just rotate the dial in the direction one wants to level the boat. There’s also single-press Bow Up and Bow Down inputs for manual adjustment, and a Favourite button that lets boaties save a desired tab position, making it easy to return to a vessel’s “sweet spot” ride position with the touch of a finger.

GARMIN SURROUND VIEW CAMERA SYSTEM

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Garmin says its new Surround View camera system is the world’s first fully-integrated system of cameras to offer live, 360o bird’s-eye video monitoring, giving boaties unequalled situational awareness when docking or negotiating tight spots. Six onboard cameras support augmented reality features, such as distance markers and a visual bumper that helps the captain see when docks or other objects breach pre-set barrier limits.

ICOM IC-M94DE

Icom took advantage of METSTRADE to launch its new IC-M94DE, which it says is the world’s first VHF handheld radio with integrated DSC and AIS. The receiver displays vessel traffic information right on its own dedicated screen, while the built-in AIS target call function allows the owner to easily set up a DSC individual call. Distress calls can be made with the rear panel Distress button. It even includes integrated GPS and Float’n Flash features, making it among the most fully-featured handhelds on the market. Since every vessel needs a handheld backup, expect to see a lot of these around this year.

I-CARBON CLEAT

Whether you’re a boatbuilder looking to make a statement with your spiffy new yacht or you’re a weekend boatie just looking to spruce up your current ride, the new I-Carbon retractable mooring cleat can’t help but impress with its bold design and carbon fibre and titanium construction. The device’s carbon fibre and titanium construction ensure light weight, extreme durability and total resistance to corrosion for great looks and a long life. Installation is an easy DIY, requiring only a screwdriver and a drill.

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LUMISHORE LUX FLOODLIGHTS

Lumishore attracted a lot of attention in Amsterdam with its new LUX floodlights, which are described as the world’s first full-colour floodlights to be controlled by an MFD. Ultra-wide beam angles provide broad, even illumination of open areas like cockpits and foredecks, while the light’s unique capability to combine a full range of RGB colours – plus both warm and cool white – vis touch-screen control on the MFD let owners literally dial in any shade, hue or intensity they desire.

SAILSERVER

Sailserver is an automatic logbook that records any and all events it detects on a sailboat’s onboard network. Data is uploaded to a server that can be accessed from anywhere in the world, making it a breeze to keep track of things like maintenance schedules. The device will also send emergency messages via SMS in case of alarm. The Sailserver is easy to install and comes with a 10-year worldwide pre-paid data plan for the ultimate in convenience and affordability.

SMARTCRAFT CONNECT

With its new SmartCraft Connect module, Mercury Marine brings its VesselView engine monitoring experience to Garmin and Raymarine multi-function displays. The system allows the MFD displays to serve as information portals by displaying critical engine data alongside GPS, chartplotter and sonar data.

RAYMARINE YACHTSENSE

Raymarine also attracted plenty of media attention at METSTRADE with its all-new YachtSense digital control system, which allows boaties to control pretty well any onboard function with the flick of a fingertip. Modular construction and an extensive digital switching array provide three levels of redundancy to ensure reliable operation under any conditions at sea. A highly customisable user interface allows easy operation, along with remote monitoring from connected MFDs and mobile devices.

NEW BOATING GEAR FOR 2022

FUSION APOLLO MS-WB670

Let’s face it, the helm station on any boat gets pretty crowded these days, and there isn’t always space to add new things. Fusion Audio gets that, which is why its remarkable new Apollo MS-WB670 stereo simply installs in a convenient spot belowdecks, with control delegated to the boat’s existing multifunction display. Right now it works with compatible Garmin devices only, or a range of Fusion wired or wireless remotes. While you may not see it on the dash, Apollo’s MS-WB670 still packs an incredible punch with full digital signal processing, Apple AirPlay 2 compatibility and Fusion’s PartyBus-Network.

ASG POWERBASE

The Powerbase from Brunswick’s Advanced Systems Group is an electrically-activated elbow mount that raises and lowers antennas or lights at the push of a button. The device allows boaties to erect or retract roof-mounted accessories directly from the helm, eliminating the need to climb up the top in order to clear low bridges or to prepare the boat for trailering or storage. Simple, but brilliant.

INTERNATIONAL PAINT ONE UP

One UP is a single-pack primer/undercoat for use above the waterline with International one-pack finishes and deck paints. The exclusive formulation is said to make boat painting easier for DIY customers, without compromising on aesthetic appearance or substrate protection. One UP goes on easily and leaves a smooth, even finish that substantially reduces sanding time between coats. Now that’s something we can all cheer about.

MASTERVOLT LITHIUM-ION ULTRA 1250 BATTERY

Reflecting more than a decade of experience in developing lithium-ion batteries for recreational boating, Mastervolt’s MLI Ultra 1250 set enough new standards in battery construction that it won a coveted METSTRADE design award. Compact and lightweight, the Ultra 1250 includes an intelligent battery management system, an integrated battery switch, a heat pad, IP65 design and extended connectivity options, making it an easy drop-in replacement in a wide range of watercraft.

VISION MARINE TECHNOLOGIES E-MOTION

Canadian electric boatbuilder Vision Marine Technologies used METSTRADE to officially launch its all-new E-Motion 180 horsepower-equivalent electric outboard. E-motion is described as the first fully-electric powertrain that utilises software to control a proprietary assembly between the electric motor and a transmission – an intricate bit of engineering that is said to significantly increase both performance and range. The company’s 60kW battery is roughly the size of a 75-litre fuel tank, and is said to deliver equivalent range to a traditional 175hp internal combustion outboard fed by a 75-litre tank.

XANTREX XPLORE BATTERY CHARGER

While a number of boaties have adopted lithium-ion batteries to power house loads like air conditioners and galley appliances, traditional lead acid cells remain the go-to choice as crank batteries for the engine. The new XPLORE battery charger from Xantrex is said to be the first in the world that can charge up to six banks of both lithium-ion and lead acid cells simultaneously, eliminating the need for multiple onboard chargers – simplifying onboard electrical systems, reducing overall weight and freeing up considerable space belowdecks. Built-in Bluetooth & NMEA2K communications make the XPLORE supereasy to configure and monitor.

ZHIK DRYSUIT

Zhik’s all-new dry suit uses cuttingedge technologies and design elements from ocean racing and inshore sailing experience to make it exceptionally lightweight, streamlined and durable. A three-layer breathable Vecta fabric allows a low windage fit, with soft latex neck and wrist seals for an excellent waterproof seal and maximum comfort. The airtight TiZip zipper is completely waterproof, while all inside seams are fully taped with further reinforcement on critical junctions. Internal braces allow the fit to be easily adjusted.

SEA-TAGS PRO

Sea-Tags introduced its innovative wristband MOB system at METSTRADE a few years ago, and returned in 2021 to unveil its new Sea-Tags Pro central monitoring system. Fully-compatible with existing Sea-Tags wristbands, the new monitoring system links to all Sea-Tags on board to provide multi-tag MOB capability. It’s NMEA 2000-compatible, allowing MOB events to display on a chartplotter display so skippers can quickly mark the incident location. The system can also combine with additional Bluetooth antennas and the company’s new external active GNSS antenna.