Back in 2010 a group of marine electronics manufacturers approached the National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) to help organize a better standard for allowing electronics on boats to talk to each other. The problem that they were trying to solve was the fact that each manufacturer’s “systems” for GPS, navigation, radar, etc. were all proprietary so once you bouht into one, you were tied at the hip to that company.

Now, the OneNet standard will allow all kinds of things to talk to each other no matter who you buy them from. What does this mean to the average boater? It quite simply means that boating will become even easier and more fun. Why? Because you will get more information at your fingertips while you also more easily monitor just what’s going on with your boat – from engines to navigation, to weather forecasts, to your refrigerator, and much more. Heck, you’ll probably be able to wire in your liquor cabinet so you can monitor supplies along side of speed and depth.

A key enabler of this standard is also moving to a faster, better connection between devices using Ethernet cables that can also transmit low levels of power. So with a single, wire, you can network devices and power them. It will simply transform boating in the same manner that GPS, AIS, and other navigation technology did because it will eliminate headaches and make it far easier to manage your boat. Plus it will fuel innovation around sensors because you won’t have to rely on a single manufacturer to give you want you want.

At one of his boat show seminars, Nigel Calder, author of Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual, went so far as to tell attendees to not upgrade their current electronics if there were thinking about it. He told everyone to wait until the new products using this new standard became available because it would be that much of a game changer.