Marine Technology Inc just got back from visiting Miami Beach for the Miami International Boat Show and the Yacht & Brokerage Show. After exhibiting four new boats, MTI brings to you some of the newest technological upgrades to make your boat better.

MIAMI BEACH — If you’re looking to upgrade a boat you already own, chances are you attended the Miami International Boat Show and the Yacht & Brokerage Show, which both ran February 16th – 20th.

If you like to run at night, but you don’t want to put a bulky night vision system on your boat, check out Latham Marine’s NightHawk Vision System, which was featured at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

The NightHawk consists of a FLIR thermal imaging camera housed in a motorized lift that is installed at the bow of the boat. During the day, the watertight, theft proof unit, which is made of 316 marine grade stainless steel, is flush with the boat. At night, flip a switch and the camera pops up.

The camera, which is wired to your boat’s navigation display, lets you see hidden dangers such as floating debris and other boats, as well as someone who falls overboard.

“I could drive my boat looking at the screen and never look up,” said Ron Muller of Electronics Unlimited. “This camera sees everything the same, day or night.”

Muller, who is a dealer for FLIR, owns a high-performance boat and was looking for a camera that would be hidden during the day and be able to be pulled up at night.

“In the performance boating market, there is no way those guys are going to install a half-dome unit,” said Muller, who approached Bob Latham of Latham Marine, which is known for its finely machined throttles and steering parts.

Muller brought Latham the core of a FLIR camera and Latham designed a motorized mechanism to raise and lower the camera. The housing had to be tough enough for the camera to withstand daytime boat speeds of 100 mph.

“Bob got it right the first time,” said Muller, who field tested the NightHawk. “It exceeded our expectations 100-fold.”

The unit retails for $6,995 and several have been purchased by Cigarette Racing Team and MTI. Muller said the NightHawk might also appeal to law enforcement agencies and airboaters.

Keeping track of your boat’s whereabouts is easier than ever with Global Satellite USA’s GSatMicro, the world’s smallest self-contained satellite tracking device.

Global worked with Iridium to create the GSatMicro. Global’s GSat Track keeps tabs of the GSatMicro’s location. Put it in your boat and using Global’s software, your family can track your progress on a voyage to the Caribbean or a kayak trip in Everglades National Park.

Boat owners can keep tabs on what their crews are doing. Using geofencing to create boundaries for where the boat can be, the GSatMicro can alert you when it is beyond the boundaries and even rigged to stop the motor if someone is trying to steal the boat.

If you plan to explore the Gulf Coast and your boat needs repairs, Saunders Yachtworks is the place to go. The company, which was at the brokerage show, has a boatyard in Orange Beach, Ala., and is opening a new yard March 30 in Gulf Shores, Ala.

Located on the Intracoastal Waterway, the green facility can haul boats up to 150 tons and 130 feet for painting, engine repair or replacement (Saunders is a factory authorized dealer for most major engine companies), carpentry and bottom cleaning. Saunders can also send one of its mobile service crews to you.

What if you hit something while at sea and want to see if there was any damage? The AquaLens, a waterproof camera with LED lights from AquaBotix, can be attached to a boat pole, put in the water and used to check out the rudder, hull and propellers by viewing the images on an LCD screen. Cost is $795.

The HydroView, which looks like a tiny submarine, is a self-propelled camera that you control wirelessly with an iPad, laptop or smart phone. It costs $3,995 and became available Feb. 28.

Marine artwork is big at the Miami Beach Convention Center, as in lots of it and lots of great artists, including Guy Harvey, Carey Chen and David Wirth, who all had paintings and T-shirts on display.

Wirth is also a talented sculptor who carves his signature circle hooks, fish and seahorses out of wood. New at the show was Blue Reign ($9,300), a bronze blue marlin on a fossilized coral base. Each bronze is one of a kind because each piece is painted and polished differently.

Also new was a king salmon with three trout carved out of cypress ($8,000), a hook carved out of Hawaiian macademia with the tip of a Hawaiian marlin bill in it ($1,000) and a hook with a spike from Henry Flagler’s Overseas Railroad ($2,600), which was built 100 years ago.

One of the most unusual pieces was  featured at The Billfish Foundation booth in the Big Game Room — a blue marlin sculpture built entirely from Costa sunglasses. The cool-looking fish has blue mirrored Costa lenses for scales and frames for fins.

Source:; Steve Waters; February 17, 2012