Boat Show “Future Shock”

Published on January 7th, 2014

By Richard Hazelton, editor, 48° North
In 1970, Alvin Toffler wrote a book called “Future Shock,” defining it as, “…the human response to over-stimulation.” In the 44 years since the book, this certainly has come to pass, especially in the area of electronics. What used to take experience and study, now comes at the push of a button. Location, course, speed over bottom, velocity made good, charts, wind, weather, depth, all immediately at hand with a glance, is now even available in fabulous 3D. There is literally a world of information at your fingertips.

So, here you are in a sea of miraculous devices, now it’s up to you to choose which ones are for you – future shock! One good way to start is to break them down into two categories; tools and gadgets. Unfortunately, in today’s boating world, like most of the modern world, that line between what is really a necessary tool and what would be really nice to have has become quite blurred. Probably your most basic tools would be a knotmeter and a depth finder. We could probably add radar to that because of the safety aspect it brings with it. You can stick a wet finger in the air to get wind direction, but an anemometer with true and apparent wind speed would be nice. Paper charts are becoming an endangered species, so let’s add a chartplotter to the list. Yes, it’s a line that’s blurred and easily crossed, and always with some logical justification.

It’s great fun to explore all the booths at the Boat Shows and see all the cool stuff you can put on your boat; some familiar, some a taste of the future, and some you don’t know what it is but it’s way cool and I want one. But if you start to feel overwhelmed, just think back to what it was that you were most interested in before you got distracted by all the bells and whistles. Once you get back to the basics, than pick out what best suits your needs. If it just happens to come with a few indulgences, so much the better to enhance your enjoyment out on the water. Having said all that, to paraphrase an old car saying, “the most important part on any boat, is the nut behind the wheel.”

Source: January 2014 edition

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