Technology

Garmin’s GRM Fantom Helps Prevent Collision on the Water

1 December 2020By Claire Griffiths
GMR-Fantom-254/256-open-array-radars

Written by

Claire Griffiths

Claire Griffiths is Dockwalk’s contributing editor in the Mediterranean. She fled to the sunny south of France from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. Claire has a background in journalism for national and regional UK press and a career in political and corporate PR prior to that. Claire’s hobbies include eating, sleeping and dancing at inopportune times. She tries to avoid sheer drops and Olympic bobsled runs. Email Claire at claire@dockwalk.com

The latest whizz-bang thing to emerge from behind the gates of marine tech makers Garmin International is their recently launched GMR Fantom™ 254/256 open-array radars.

This is one of their highest powered solid-state marine radars on the market with 250w of pulse compression. This new series, which replaces the Fantom 124/6, comes with the Garmin signature MotionScope™ technology. The tech allows users to detect and highlight moving targets in different colors, helping to avoid calamitous collisions, find flocks of birds, track weather, a chase boat, dolphin, or even a friend...

“So if you are in busy areas you can be more aware of your surroundings and actually focus on a particular target(s) and see if the target is approaching (in red) or moving away (in green),” says Barry Parker.

Double the power of the previous model, the Fantom 254/256 gives detection for long- and short-range targets (20 to 96 nautical miles) and includes new scan-to-scan averaging and better mini-automatic radar plotting aid (MARPA). The MARPA Automatic Acquisition offers better precision and more visibility of what lies ahead, on shorelines, and on open seas. Users can simultaneously trigger and track up to 30 targets with no user prompting on all returns, boundary zones, guard zones, or MotionScope. “So if you are in busy areas you can be more aware of your surroundings and actually focus on a particular target(s) and see if the target is approaching (in red) or moving away (in green),” explains UK Marine Sales Executive Barry Parker. True echo trails take boat speed into account to help identify and avoid collision threats. The scan-to-scan averaging feature reduces sea clutter and interferences in the display view.

But what lies beneath? Ask the Garmin gang and in answer they have come up with high-resolution relief shading chart content to BlueChart® g3 Vision products for easy-to-interpret and clear views of the ocean floor. “By blending Garmin and Navionics data in our cartography content, everyone from leisure boaters to serious divers and anglers will discover the difference of high-resolution relief shading for their on-the- water experience and situational awareness when navigating the coasts,” says Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of global consumer sales.

“By blending Garmin and Navionics data in our cartography content, everyone from leisure boaters to serious divers and anglers will discover the difference of high-resolution relief shading for their on-the- water experience and situational awareness when navigating the coasts,” says Dan Bartel. 

The relief shading is created from multi-beam surveys and high-definition data for a multi-dimensional illustration of the seabed. The relief shading coverage is dependent on the survey data available but covers substantial patches of coastal areas of the Med, Europe, New Zealand, Australia, and the States, including the Gulf of Mexico. “The additional layer of detail will be excellent for finding wrecks and shelves for fishing and diving,” says Parker. “Also, it will be incredibly useful to understand the profile of the seabed to identify channels for navigating.”

Users simply download high-resolution relief shading directly to BlueChart g3 Vision cards via the ActiveCaptain® app. High-resolution relief shading is available for download to BlueChart g3 Vision cards in the UK, Ireland, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, and Australia.

This column is taken from the December 2020 issue of Dockwalk.

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