2019 is already half over, but it’s turned out to be a big year in the boating world. In our fast-paced, tech-forward world, boating is changing all the time with new technologies that make boating safer, faster, and easier. Check out this review of 2019 boating trends so far to see if you’ve kept up with this year’s boat tech.
New technology is set to transform the way people get out on the open water, and the ways they stay connected with their boats (even when landlocked at work). But not everything this year is going to be apps and devices… some more traditional spaces are changing in ways that benefit boat owners — not to mention first-time boat buyers— in a big way.
What are the 2019 boating trends to watch? Here we go:
GPS Tracking, all the time
Thanks to cell phones, we tend to take GPS tracking for granted. Everything on land has been mapped pretty well for a number of years now. Out on the open water, tracking isn’t evolved in the same way. All that is set to change.
2019 is slated to be important for implementing Automatic Identification Systems. These systems allow GPS activated location and communications between individual craft and the marina. Beyond radar, this allows watchers on land to know which craft is out of the marina.
For boat owners, this offers a sense of assurance both on the water and on land. GPS technology helps track boats to ensure they don’t become unmoored from the marina and set adrift — and helps to locate them when they do. Increased connectivity can also prevent theft and monitor property from anywhere.
Analog dashboards are becoming a thing of the past. Today’s dashboards feature digital touch screen displays that connect the pilot to vital information from all systems in the boat engine, not to mention GPS and — important! — the stereo. That way, you can control everything from the help with little more than a touch of the finger.
On-board tech is going beyond simple touch screens, though. Leading boat operating systems are preparing to connect wirelessly using mobile apps, which can be used to monitor and adjust systems during operation and at the marina. Plus, some tech firms are starting to formally integrate with Amazon Echo to bring Smart Home technology out on the waves.
Growth of boating as an investment
Tax provisions included in this past year’s tax overhaul are beneficial for boat buyers. As more people look at the stock market and see instability on the horizon, alternative tax-beneficial investments like boat ownership look like a better deal than ever. Don’t be surprised to see some fresh new faces at the marina this spring!
Both new and used boats can be purchased using many of the same tax benefits as a newly purchased home. Buyers can receive both acquisition debt and home equity debt deductions for their purchase. In addition, a new provision allows buyers who operate as an LLC or corporation that rents or charters the vessel for at least part of the year to write off 100% of the purchase price as “bonus depreciation” in the year of the purchase.
There’s no dollar limit on this benefit, and it can be used to cover any improvements made or equipment purchased on the boat up to a year after you buy your boat — including new canvas boat tops and high grade marine windows. For aspiring pilots who want to buy a used boat and upgrade it to their needs, this is a marvelous opportunity.