Vesper Marine, a New Zealand manufacturer of innovative marine electronics, just introduced what it calls the world’s first VHF radio with touchscreen handsets, an AIS transponder and remote vessel monitoring. The new VHF is called Cortex, and it offers an unprecedented level of boating safety and communication that fits in your hand.
“Innovation in AIS technology, touchscreen devices and vessel monitoring has skyrocketed in recent years, but marine VHF hasn’t kept pace and remains an anachronism,” says Jeff Robbins, CEO, Vesper Marine. “Cortex fundamentally changes how you interact with safety communication systems.”
In addition to the normal marine VHF radio functions, Cortex provides AIS information about other boats and has a safety alert to warn of possible collisions. The touchscreen handset makes it easy to use; if you touch the icon of another vessel on the AIS screen, for example, and then press “call,” the radio makes a direct DSC call to that boat. Cortex also shows crossing situations, nav light sectors and even lets you make trial maneuvers while you talk on the VHF.
The VHF includes a dual-watch function, favorite-channels selection and one-handed operation with the click of a wheel. The system comes with up to ten handsets, either wired or wireless.
For greater safety, Cortex has a man-overboard function that activates an alarm for immediate retrieval; the alarm, with voiced alerts, escalates in volume until it is acknowledged. It also has an anchor-watch system; if the anchor drag, it sounds another alarm.
Cortex has a plug-and-play remote monitoring system, using a cell connection, that delivers free updates twice a day about your boat’s power, location, wind, depth, bilge and temperature to your smartphone. A premium monitoring subscription provides real-time information about the boat’s status and lets you control some boat systems, such as refrigerators, lights or heaters. Read more: