Matt Wood, national sales manager at Furuno USA, learned about sonar on the job, facilitating joint ventures with the Russians in the 1990s. It probably helped that he speaks Russian. He’s seen a lot of changes in the industry and still gets excited about innovations with sounders and sonars. “The transducers are changing,” he says, speaking from his home office. “And the equipment is changing. But what’s changing radically in the last two or three years is the way we visualize the information. What people like now are our PC sounders and sonars, and these are scalable.” Furuno has systems for almost any application, from small recreational fishing vessels to freezer trawlers.
At the top of the scale is Furuno’s F3DS software combined with the latest FSV25 color scanning sonar. “It offers a 3-D view 360 degrees around the vessel, from the surface to the bottom,” says Wood. “We’re selling mostly to the big trawlers in Europe. They can look directly ahead and to the side. If they see fish ahead but they slip to the side before the boats gets there, the captain can steer onto them.” He notes that more economical systems like the DFF3D can benefit bluefin tuna fishermen like those off the coast of Maine.
The new Furuno sonar combination has evolved from advances in transducer and PC processing capacities. “We’re leveraging the speed of processors and more sophisticated graphics cards,” says Wood. “That’s what enables us to do this.” He notes that conventional multifunction displays don’t have enough memory to handle all the information the new transducers can collect. “Young captains have grown up with a PC mouse in their hand,” says Wood. “For them it’s easier to manipulate data with a PC.”