Marine electronics

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Marine electronics refers to electronics devices designed and classed for use in the marine environment on board ships and yachts where even a small amount of salt water can destroy some electronics devices. Therefore, the majority of these types of devices are either water resistant or waterproof.

Marine electronics devices include chartplotter, marine VHF radio, autopilot and self-steering gear, fishfinder and sonar, marine radar, GPS, fibre optic gyrocompass, satellite television, and marine fuel management.


The electronics devices communicate by using a protocol defined by National Marine Electronics Association(NMEA), with two standards available, NMEA 0183 (serial communication network) and NMEA 2000 (controller-area network based technology). There is also Lightweight Ethernet (LWE).

In recent years, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has created a new standards suite for "Digital interfaces for navigational equipment within a ship". This is known as IEC 61162 and included NMEA 0183, NMEA 2000 and LWE.

Additionally, different suppliers of marine electronics have their own communications protocol.

  • A+T Instruments has ESP Ethernet over Ships Power
  • B&G has FastNet
  • Furuno has NavNet ("NavNet" refers to a product family, and is not a communications protocol. Furuno uses industry standard NMEA 0183, NMEA 2000, and standard Ethernet for communications protocol in their products)
  • Mastervolt has CZone
  • Nexus has FDX
  • Raymarine has Seatalk / SeatalkNG
  • Simrad has SimNet
  • Stowe has Dataline
Marine Electronics Communications
Standard Electrical standard Protocol type Connector Simplex/duplex Termination Manufacturer Compatibility Power Notes
NMEA 0180/0182 RS-232 ASCII serial Simplex
NMEA 0183 RS-422 ASCII serial Terminals Simplex N/A Various 4800baud 8N1,
Seatalk RS-422 ASCII serial Raymarine 4800baud
NMEA 2000 CAN bus SAE J1939 binary DeviceNet 5-pin A-coded M12 screw connector Duplex 120R Various IEC 61162-3, 250kbs
SeaTalkNG CAN bus SAE J1939 Binary Proprietary Duplex 120R Raymarine NMEA 2000
Simnet CAN bus SAE J1939 Binary Duplex 120R Simrad NMEA 2000
Furuno CAN CAN bus SAE J1939 binary Furno NMEA 2000
Signal K Ethernet, WiFi HTTP
NMEA OneNet Ethernet, WiFi
SeaTalkhs Ethernet, WiFi RayNet Raymarine


Another important part of marine electronics is the navigation equipment. Here compasses, which includes both gyrocompasses and magnetic compasses, make up for equipment that is used by the entire shipping industry.


Some manufacturers specialize more in equipment for commercial vessels such as tankers and general cargo vessels. This industry is relatively small with worldwide sales of $3.2 billion in 2015. The top manufacturer was Japan-based Furuno, followed closely by Norway-based Navico, a holding company for several current and former industry brands (B&G, C-MAP, Lowrance Electronics, Simrad Yachting), with revenue of $308 million.[1] Rounding out the top five are Japan Radio Company in third, Garmin (popular with recreational users) in fourth, and Wärtsilä (Sam Electronics and Transas) in fifth.[1] The next four top manufacturers are Raymarine Marine Electronics (a subsidiary of FLIR Systems), Raytheon Anschütz, Sperry Marine, and Tokyo Keiki.[1] |url-status=dead |archiveurl= Other companies outside of the industry's top ten that have a significant presence chartplotters include Samyung ENC, Hummingbird (Johnson Outdoors), Murphy (Enovation Controls), Naviop, SI-TEX Marine Electronics, and TwoNav.[2]


  1. ^ a b c "Marine bridge system industry valued at US$3.2 billion". Marine Electronics & Communications. June 13, 2016. Archived from the original on 2020-02-15.
  2. ^ "New Nautical Charts released". Navionics. February 10, 2014.

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