Monitoring marine electronics can be like watching TV at a sports bar. There’s so much going on, you’re not sure where to look.

Put part of the blame on ever-expanding recreational sonar technology that has created more ways than ever to see underwater, including sounders, down imaging, side imaging, forward imaging, 3D imaging and full-circle scanning.

Some systems show where you have gone; others update in real-time, so you know instantly what’s below, to the side or in front of the boat.

Electronics companies pack two or more of these technologies into a single system. For example, Raymarine’s new Axiom Pro multifunction display with RealVision 3D can look down in two different modes, look sideways, and show the underwater world in a three-dimensional format—all using one screen and a single transducer.

Now you have no excuses for getting skunked or running aground. But how do you choose the best technology? We’re here to help you see straight.


Just want to look under the boat? Try an ol’ fashioned fish finder (aka sounder). Equipped with transducers that transmit sound waves vertically in a cone pattern (think upside-down ice-cream cone) and display the returning echoes on a color LCD screen that scrolls from right to left, fish finders remain among the most popular way to

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