Auckland, New Zealand – Vesper Marine, a leading manufacturer of innovative marine safety products, announced today that its WatchMate Vision™, the world’s first dedicated Class B AIS transponder with touch-screen control, has received the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) Innovation Award at the 71st Annual Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show. Judged by Boating Writers International (BWI), the innovation awards honor products that best meet the criteria of “innovative distinction from other products currently being manufactured; benefit to the marine industry and/or consumer; practicality; and cost-effectiveness.” Awarded in the consumer safety equipment category, WatchMate Vision is a dedicated display-based AIS transponder combining color touchscreen, WiFi and NMEA 2000 into a single compact unit creating an innovative new solution that leverages the synergy of all these technologies and gives boaters unprecedented access and control of critical AIS information. Offering the next-generation in filtering and functionality of the proven Vesper Marine WatchMate family, the highly sophisticated, easy-to-use Vision enhances the speed, flexibility, interactivity and convenience of accessing relevant, critical AIS safety information on the water.

“Eliminating the clutter enhances this products usability,” said Elaine Lembo, BWI judge. “You can instantly see targets around you and who’s headed your way on a clear color screen.”

“We are elated to receive this prestigious award as an industry endorsement of our product direction,” said Jeff Robbins, co-founder, Vesper Marine. “Vesper Marine strives to bring a new level of product innovation to the market and this honor is welcome recognition especially in light of the many other worthy applicants. We look forward to continuing to make new inroads into helping boat owners make the most of vital AIS information to ensure their on-the-water experience is safer and less stressful.”

The WatchMate Vision has a full color, sunlight viewable, touch-screen display with adjustable backlighting that can be accurately controlled with ease, even when hands are wet or while wearing gloves. The adaptive wheel system recognizes the specific menu required for a given crossing situation and boating environment. Vision features a built-in GPS antenna, 50-channel GPS receiver, best-in-class AIS receiver and powerful Class B AIS transponder. The unit incorporates Vesper Marine’s new multi-processor architecture for fast performance including dedicated AIS and display processors that ensure reliable data acquisition, and has a savvy user interface with fast coastal outline redraws. To provide boaters with a clear picture of potential hazards, Vision’s powerful proprietary target prioritization process plots crossing situations and clearly illustrates target vessels that pose the greatest collision risk. Selectable boating profiles such as harbor, anchor, coastal and offshore allow users to easily switch between pre-defined alarm settings. Users can also track a group of vessels and access ‘silent mode’ to suspend transmission of current position when looking for privacy or protecting fishing hotspots.

The only AIS transponder to integrate WiFi, the device can be made accessible on a boat’s existing network, or act as the WiFi access point, ensuring boaters boundless options for access anywhere on their vessel. Redefining interoperability, Vision’s safety data can be accessed on its own display and also used wirelessly with mobile devices running applications such as iNavX, and others. More than a simple viewer, Vision offers groundbreaking control with a custom iPhone/iPad app, allowing boaters to remotely access alerts, alarms and transponder settings. In addition, the device offers the first WatchMate NMEA 2000 support to integrate AIS data to other NMEA 2000-compatible equipment. The system is also NMEA 0183 compatible and offers waterproof USB connectivity.

Availability: The WatchMate Vision is currently pending FCC approval, pricing and availability to follow.