The genesis of Simrad Yachting dates back to 1946, when Willy Christian Simonsen began converting marine surplus radios left over from World War II to use on commercial vessels. The company name is an amalgam of Simonsen Radio, which was based in Norway. In the 1950s, the company introduced echosounders for the commercial fishing fleet. This helped to establish a company mantra of pushing innovation and fueled a long stream of innovative products over the decades.
To celebrate the company’s 75-year anniversary, Simrad is looking back and pinpointing some of its most important products that have impacted boating. Topping the list are the RS80 Simrad VHF Radio, the B24 Broadband Radar, NSE multi-function displays, AP50 autopilot and the NSO evo3S processor that let you run a tailored multi-display system.
In 2009, Simrad introduced its broadbrand radar, staking its claim on solid-state technology rather than utilizing the legacy magnetron system. The benefits of using a broadband transmitter included more power, better efficiency and improved target resolution. “True digital solid state took a while to be adapted,” said Mike Fargo, EVP of Simrad. “[We] really leaned into it, and it changed the industry.”
The same could be said for the AP50 autopilot, a descendant of the AP100, one of the first marine autopilots to use a microprocessor. This unit “changed the way folks thought about steering boats and automation,” Fargo says.
But the company is not about to rest on its laurels. “We definitely have a legacy bias toward performance,” Fargo said. “With our heritage, we couldn’t get here without being reliable. People cross oceans with our equipment, and that’s always a part of what we think about.”
Connectivity and integration between systems will continue to be a strong focus as Simrad looks to the future. In June, Navico (Simrad’s parent company) announced that Brunswick would acquire the company for more than $1 billion. The acquisition plays right into Brunswick’s business strategy to elevate boating as a pastime, and to make it easier to run, dock and use boats. Brunswick is a boating behemoth with boatbuilders like Boston Whaler and Sea Ray and Mercury Marine under its growing umbrella of brands.
“The acquisition of Navico and its award-winning brands will immediately accelerate Brunswick’s ACES (Autonomy, Connectivity, Electrification and Shared-Access) strategy, and support our vision to deliver distinctive new products and technology-enabled experiences,” said Dave Foulkes, Brunswick Corporation CEO.
As part of its 75-year celebration, Simrad turned to its global network of employees to come up with a list of 75 great boating destinations. The U.S. led the list with 11 selections, while New Zealand and Australia each notched six. Countries that border the Mediterranean and Caribbean Seas also made the cut. The entire list can be found on the World of Simrad blog.
“Over the last 75 years, our products have touched a lot of people,” Fargo said. “Simrad stands for innovation, reliability and performance that provides boaters with the assurance they can do more out on the water, safely and confidentially.”
Charlie Levine reporting courtesy of our network publication Power & Motoryacht.