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Old 06-10-2019, 09:46 AM   #1
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Navigation redundancy???

Here is a big question for the active cruisers...

Do you have Navigation and especially depth redundancy in your system?

Do you have redundancy down the the circuit breaker level?

Do you have redundant mapping sources?

Do you think these things are important?

Here’s what I have, and this is at the top of my mind because I just added the last part of the redundant equation.

I have an older Furuno VX2 Nav system. I have three displays in the system

The “port side” has it’s own breaker that powers the port display which has the RADAR, and a GPS sensor attached, as well as a chart card. It also powers the port black box sounder module, and the port layer 2 switch.

The “starboard side” has it’s own breaker that powers the two starboard displays. One of these displays has a GPS sensor attached, as well as a chart card. The breaker also powers the AIS and the starboard black box sounder, as well as the starboard layer 2 switch.

If I loose the depth reading all I do is flip a switch on the dash to power down one black box sounder and power up the other one. It takes about 30 seconds to regain depth readings. That way the two sounders do not interfere with each other.

The only non redundant parts of the system are the AIS and the RADAR. AIS I consider a non critical function, and RADAR I think is an acceptable risk.

We all boat in different areas. I am currently in Alaska and it can be difficult to get parts here in a hurry to many locations. My cruising plans include Baja California, which is similar or even worse for getting quick parts, so I feel that Nav redundancy is a pretty critical part of the cruising safety equation.

All parts issues aside, I feel that at a bare minumum depth redundancy should be something every boater considers in their voyage plans.
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Old 06-10-2019, 10:10 AM   #2
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I think for most of us, permanently wired redundancy is a bit over the top. Maybe for long range, blue water cruisers, but not me.


I use an iPad running AquaMap which I keep plugged into the helm for redundancy. It is on a separate breaker and can operate for a few hours with no power.


I have never thought about depth redundancy and since the depth is displayed on the MFD, I have no redundancy for this item. But if you navigate properly, you can live without depth, right ;-).


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Old 06-10-2019, 10:33 AM   #3
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A lightening strike will take out all that stuff in one go. Best to have at least some paper charts as well. More of a problem on the east coast. I've had problems on the networked system that basically froze the whole thing, navigated by iPhone back to the dock at night, in weather.
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Old 06-10-2019, 10:39 AM   #4
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An RDF and a Handheld VHF radio, both small battery operated. Both in/near a lifeboat. That is redundant.
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Old 06-10-2019, 12:03 PM   #5
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I run 2 computers (desktop and laptop) with different nav programs, separate inputs. 2 radars, several radios. I have several GPS receivers, some older kept as backup. All 12v radios, radars, GPS, etc., have a backup deep cycle battery bank that automatically switches on with a loss of normal 12v power. I carry basic area charts. Old 12v inverter is available for emergency 120ac power, current 48v inverter normally supplies 120/240ac 24/7, 2-14kw generators, twin mains.
I don't cross oceans anymore, but usually cross the Gulf of Alaska from Dixon Entrance and sometimes from Astoria. I've been far out in the Aleutians visiting WWII sites.
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Old 06-10-2019, 12:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksanders View Post
Here is a big question for the active cruisers...

Do you have Navigation and especially depth redundancy in your system?

Do you have redundancy down the the circuit breaker level?

Do you have redundant mapping sources?

Do you think these things are important?

Yes, sort of, yes, and yes.

Nav is a fixed Furuno NN3D chartplotter/MFD, a laptop with TimeZero, at least two tablets with 3x nav apps each. Depth is two separate fixed units, one simple DST, the other a Fishfinder with DST.

Sort of is about the various platforms; none are dependdent on only a single circuit.

Charts are NOAA raster and vector (2x, MFD and laptop), plus another NOAA raster on a tablet app (MX Mariner), plus C-Map on a tablet app (Plan2Nav, being superceded by Embark), plus Transas charts on a tablet app (iSailor).

We also have VHF redundancy, two fixed, one handheld.

Radar, AIS, and autopilot only 1 each.

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Old 06-10-2019, 12:33 PM   #7
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How about a paper chart. Hard for it to fail. Seems like a lot of people have gotten a long way from using a paper chart or never used one to begin with. Try it, go buy a chart and on your next trip navigate off the chart, I think a lot of people will be surprised at how interesting and engaging it is. You have to pay attention and look at your surroundings and think about what you are doing rather than just look at a screen.
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Old 06-10-2019, 12:49 PM   #8
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How much redundancy really depends on the use of the boat, level of safety the operator wants and the cost.

Overall, NONE of the about are absolutely paramount for most of us. I'd bet that the average person here, if we lost ALL electronics, phone, Ipad and everything, it would not be a life or death situation... not even close. It might be awkward coming into a marina without notice, but certainly doable.

However, redundancy for navigation and communication are so cheap in the whole cost of things, it's easy and cheap to have a few backups.

A lot of us operate with one plotter (a few with none). An Ipad and/or phone is a cheap backup and will get us home.

Adding a second depth tranducer at the time the boat is hauled is relatively cheap. I put two in when the boat was hauled for paint and to me only a few hours including wiring (and I'm just a weekend mechanic). Depth is nice to have.

There's a lot of us that operate without a back up engine!

As for radar, there's multi million dollar jets that fly 8000 miles at a time with a revenue of almost a million dollars per flight that only have one radar. We can easily do without a back up, however, they are cheap and you can get a new one for only $1000 if you wish.

And how many have a back up fridge? God forbid if the beer gets warm.

Now, if you're an ocean voyager like Richard, backups may be a bit more important. For us coastal cruisers, not so much.
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Old 06-10-2019, 06:33 PM   #9
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I have total chart plotting redundancy but kind of by accident. I have a complete Raymarine system. Then I have a computer with its own AIS and GPS system. I do not have Depth redundancy but I find I only need the depth sounder to figure out anchor scope. I do not have Radar redundancy.
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Old 06-10-2019, 07:07 PM   #10
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Sextant, and training on how to use it.
























Not!
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Old 06-10-2019, 07:28 PM   #11
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Navionics on an ipad.

Paper charts.

Only one depth sounder...really should get an el-cheapo one as a back up.

1980's GPS.

Modern radio.

Spot Messenger if all else (including the boat) fails.
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Old 06-10-2019, 07:51 PM   #12
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Lots of electronic redundancy.

Garmin 5212 primary
Garmin 540 backup and anchor drag alarm duty
Laptop with Open Capn for planning

Cellphone with Garmin BlueChart Mobile for Active Captain data plus Navionics app

Tablet with AquaMaps app



Ye old manuel systems:
Left eye and right eye.
Maptech Chart Kits
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Old 06-10-2019, 09:26 PM   #13
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I'm for redundancy.

I have installed in the pilothouse, which is the only nav station:

2 Radars, one 10kw open array and one 4 kw dome.

2 Depthsounders, one DS only and the other has GPS and chartplotting capability. Each DS with it's own in-hull transducer.

2 VHF radios, one VHF only and the other with GPS and AIS capability. Each VHF with it's own antenna.

1 Laptop running Nobeltec, which is the primary chartplotter.

1 Autopilot

1 Stand alone GPS

All the above is permanently installed with each instrument having it's own dedicated circuit breaker. The only interfacing is between laptop, GPS, AIS and autopilot.

In addition to the above, I have stored on the boat, another complete autopilot, another laptop with Nobeltec, handheld GPS and VHF and complete paper charts for our cruising area.

About 18 years ago we were approaching Friday Harbor in fog with about 200 foot visibility when the only radar quit. We had a chartplotter and radar - no AIS. The last radar screen showed a Washington State Ferry coming into Friday Harbor about 1/8 mile from us and a swarm of pleasure boats going in and out of the harbor.

We were able to get a new radar motor from Anacortes, repaired the radar and continued the summer cruise.

As soon as we came home, purchased a second radar.

Another time, we were negotiating through rocks in Beware Passage in the Broughtons when the depthsounder quit. Bought the second depthsounder when we got home.

What we do now is use alternate radars every other day unless range or close maneuvering requires a specific radar. When there is fog, the 4 kw is on 1/8 mile and the other 4 miles. The depth sounders are alternated daily unless navigating a shallow tricky area.

We boat for 2 to 3 months a year in remote locations and equipment malfunctions can spoil a trip so I rather be prepared. In most remote places, replacement equipment or a technicians are either non-existent or very very expensive. Parts can be flown in by floatplane but expensive.
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Old 06-10-2019, 10:42 PM   #14
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Redundancy in nav equipment is a must in my opinion and you seem to have it with 2 displays each with dedicated gps antenna. Communication redundancy can be covered with VHF/DSC and handheld. I prefer depth redundancy as well and have 2 transducers.
Autopilot, AIS, and radar can be single systems. if you run at night or in frequent fog you might add some spare parts but not complete systems.

Only addition I would make is an EPIRB (and a lot of spare circuit breakers)

I personally use my iPad as primary tool due to ease of updating charts, ease of use, weather apps, manual storage, etc. My iPhone also has navionics and weather apps. I keep chartbooks on board in case lightning takes everything out.
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Old 06-10-2019, 11:20 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sean9c View Post
How about a paper chart. Hard for it to fail. Seems like a lot of people have gotten a long way from using a paper chart or never used one to begin with. Try it, go buy a chart and on your next trip navigate off the chart, I think a lot of people will be surprised at how interesting and engaging it is. You have to pay attention and look at your surroundings and think about what you are doing rather than just look at a screen.
OK you have a paper chart in your hand.

it’s night, or foggy.

Where Exactly are you?

How deep is the water under your keel.

That my friend is why I have redundant systems.
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Old 06-10-2019, 11:22 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syjos View Post
I'm for redundancy.

I have installed in the pilothouse, which is the only nav station:

2 Radars, one 10kw open array and one 4 kw dome.

2 Depthsounders, one DS only and the other has GPS and chartplotting capability. Each DS with it's own in-hull transducer.

2 VHF radios, one VHF only and the other with GPS and AIS capability. Each VHF with it's own antenna.

1 Laptop running Nobeltec, which is the primary chartplotter.

1 Autopilot

1 Stand alone GPS

All the above is permanently installed with each instrument having it's own dedicated circuit breaker. The only interfacing is between laptop, GPS, AIS and autopilot.

In addition to the above, I have stored on the boat, another complete autopilot, another laptop with Nobeltec, handheld GPS and VHF and complete paper charts for our cruising area.

About 18 years ago we were approaching Friday Harbor in fog with about 200 foot visibility when the only radar quit. We had a chartplotter and radar - no AIS. The last radar screen showed a Washington State Ferry coming into Friday Harbor about 1/8 mile from us and a swarm of pleasure boats going in and out of the harbor.

We were able to get a new radar motor from Anacortes, repaired the radar and continued the summer cruise.

As soon as we came home, purchased a second radar.

Another time, we were negotiating through rocks in Beware Passage in the Broughtons when the depthsounder quit. Bought the second depthsounder when we got home.

What we do now is use alternate radars every other day unless range or close maneuvering requires a specific radar. When there is fog, the 4 kw is on 1/8 mile and the other 4 miles. The depth sounders are alternated daily unless navigating a shallow tricky area.

We boat for 2 to 3 months a year in remote locations and equipment malfunctions can spoil a trip so I rather be prepared. In most remote places, replacement equipment or a technicians are either non-existent or very very expensive. Parts can be flown in by floatplane but expensive.
Yep, that’s the way I feel about it!
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Old 06-11-2019, 12:20 AM   #17
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Quote:
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OK you have a paper chart in your hand.

it’s night, or foggy.

Where Exactly are you?

How deep is the water under your keel.

That my friend is why I have redundant systems.
A First Nations (Indigenous) friend of mine was down the channel from Kitamaat, in mid winter, with another friend when they were teenagers in a small open outboard boat. Bad idea, but they were teenagers after all.

They got delayed and made their way home in the dark and in a snow storm.

His friend had spent a lot of time fishing and hunting with his father and grandfather. He found his way home by recognizing wave patterns as they rebounded off steep rocky shores, or the way they bent around islands and made crisscrossing wave sets. He also yelled into the snowy dark occasionally to hear his echo off steep shores invisible in the dark.

Point of the story is; some people posses skills long forgotten and what seems impossible to you and me, is possible.
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Old 06-11-2019, 01:31 AM   #18
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Seiwa explorer3 chart plotter head unit with dedicated 23 inch monitor
Opencpn chart plotter on laptop connected to another 23 inch monitor
2 tablets with navionics
A 3rd tablet with "all in one offline charts for android"
2 handheld GPS (mobile phone)
A drawer full of paper

JRC radar
Soon to get a new 4g as well to overlay on opencpn

Tmq ap500 autopilot
Complete spare unit just in case

1 Koden fishfinder
1 depth sounder, numbers only and a heart stoppingly loud alarm

1 vhf radio
Toying with the idea of HF if I can get a cheap 2nd hand commercial unit at the right price.

No AIS yet but will get one within 6 mths

Dinghy also has a 5 inch plotter/fishfinder that could come into play if needs be.
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Old 06-11-2019, 01:42 AM   #19
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.

And how many have a back up fridge? God forbid if the beer gets warm.

.
Indeed.

Main fridge is a two door 500litre
Bar fridge in lounge is 125 litre with very small freezer
Bar fridge in wheelhouse is 125 litre with very small freezer
Also have a 100 litre 5 draw freezer

All run on 240v via inverter, battery, solar.

Soon to install spare inverter/charger as a just in case.
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Old 06-11-2019, 05:07 AM   #20
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Kevin made a really good point in his first post that seems to have slipped away. Redundancy, and also spares, can be as much about what it takes to get going again when something fails.


There are places where you can be stuck waiting for parts for a very long time, causing significant disruption to your cruising. For most US coastal cruising, this just isn't a concern because you can get anything, anywhere, in a day or two.


Not so in other places. Even just 70 miles away in the Bahamas, "overnight" shipping takes about a week. In Alaska, you can get stuff quickly to a major airport, but from there it can be a challenge. In most areas the USPS works best, but some places like Amazon can't ship to General Delivery. Don't ask how I know....


And then there is Mexico. Something shipping via the major carriers has about a 50% chance of ever being seen again. There are enterprising people who do regular courier runs to the US, and I hear are the most reliable way to get something for your boat.


So redundancy, and spares which are just a slower version of redundancy, is not only about having an alternate display to glance at if one fails, it's about the level if disruption to your trip that you want to risk. And of course all that is heavily influenced by where you cruise. If you operate in one area, can recognized the ripples on the water, and can echo-sound with your voice, no redundancy is required. Or if you otherwise know the waters and the hazards and can repair any problem within a day or two, no problem. But if a failure will place you at risk because of unfamiliar or more hazardous waters, or will cause a week or month delay in your cruise, then redundancy starts to look pretty important.
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