Written by Peter Janssen on February 23rd, 2017 for Cruising Odyssey.
Even in our constantly-on digital world, staying connected isn’t always as easy as it should be, particularly if you’re cruising offshore or out of Wi-Fi range. Everyone wants to stay connected, but it’s often expensive or complicated. Now the new Mazu app from SkyMate helps to solve those problems by making communications and nav functions both easy and inexpensive anywhere in the world.
The way it works is certainly easy enough. You download the free Mazu app from the App Store for your iPad. Then you purchase the mSeries system and install it on your boat (it’s designed to be user-friendly), and connect it with a single cable to a Smart antenna, which links to SkyMate’s servers via Iridium satellites anywhere in the world. Mazu service starts at $39.99 a month.
An illuminated keypad tells you when you have received a message. (You send and receive e-mail using your iPad.) The keypad also can initiate an SOS signal, including boat name and position, and is monitored 24/7 by GEOS for a SAR emergency response. You also can receive NOAA weather alerts and get NEXRAD storm tracking and seven-day forecasts showing wind speed and wave heights. And you can see real-time tracking on NOAA charts, create and edit waypoints or set a waypoint alarm, and send a position report to friends and family back home at any interval you choose.
When you’re away from the boat, a Sentry remote (which is a paid add-on option that requires additional hardware and a monitoring program) keeps track of up to 16 vessel functions – a high-water bilge alarm, for example – and sends you an alert if something is wrong. http://mazu-marine.com