Navico was born as a fusion of two of the most important international players in marine electronics, Simrad Yachting and Lowrance Electronics. With the addition of Brunswick New Technologies’ marine electronics division in March 2007, Navico is truly a house of brands, with the B&G, Eagle, Lowrance, Northstar, and Simrad brands all manufactured and distributed under the Navico umbrella. Visit website for more information
Lowrance has been a world leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of high-quality sportfishing SONAR and Global Positioning System (GPS) mapping instruments for more than 50 years. Lowrance has established a global distribution network, encompassing more than 1,500 domestic dealers, distributors, mass merchants and original equipment manufacturers in the U.S., as well as sales distribution outlets in 53 countries worldwide. Visit website for more information
Simrad Yachting’s history is one of entrepreneurs and pioneers in technology who, through hard work, dedication and technical excellence, created and shaped one of the world’s largest and most respected marine electronics groups. Simrad Yachting today is the result of the union of a number of companies that in their time were ground-breakers in their areas of technology. Names such as Robertson, Simonsen Radio and Shipmate were all recognised as the foremost names in their fields in their time, and their legacies live on in Simrad Yachting to this day.
The story starts just after the Second World War with the production of radio telephones for the fishing fleet and goes on to include chapters on automatic steering, satellite navigation, communication and sophisticated instruments for the fastest racing boats in the world.
It begins in 1946 when Thorleif Robertson, the founder of auto-steering in Egersund, started out converting war surplus radios for use on fishing vessels, as did Willy Simonsen in Oslo the following year, naming his company Simonsen Radio, which later became Simrad. Robertson went on to develop echosounders and the world’s first civil sonars, and these commercial fishery product ranges continue to be sold by the Kongsberg group. By 1948 his company had progressed to manufacturing its own transceivers, radio compasses and course calculators. With fishing fleets very much in mind, the first autopilot was developed in 1951 with three Egersund fishing boats receiving the first AP1 autopilots, and these soon gained favour with the rest of the fleet earning the nick-name ‘Helmsman Robertsons’, as the AP1 meant that crewmembers no longer had to spend long hours standing at the wheel, hence its massive popularity.
A milestone was reached in 1984 with the introduction of the first microprocessor based autopilot, the AP100. This series was the forerunner of today’s generation of autopilots, and from then on rapid development of technology led to many more sophisticated auto-steering solutions. Robertson became a Simrad manufacturer in April 1993.
Shipmate in Denmark was founded in 1977 by Erik K. Rauff and Erik Sørensen, its mission to develop, produce and sell light marine electronics on the world market. In the first years it focussed on VHF radios, but in the early 80s the development of satellite navigation (GPS) and electronic chartplotters began and rapidly became an important part of the business. Shipmate became a part of Simrad in 1994 and today the former Shipmate facility at Støvring produces VHF radios, GPS chartplotters, echosounders and multifunction navstations, all under the Simrad banner. In addition to this Simrad Støvring also designs and manufactures Simrad’s own radar scanners.
The original Navico was launched in Margate UK in 1985, selling instruments and autopilots for small sail boats. A period of rapid growth both in the UK and overseas encouraged it to launch the RT6500 range of VHF radios in 1987 which became the de facto standard entry-level product among European boat builders. In 1993 the AXIS range of commercial handheld radios was released and in 2000 the RD68 was launched as the world’s first compact VHF with built-in DSC. In 1998 Simrad purchased Navico Ltd and in so doing extended Simrad’s product range in instruments, autopilots and VHF radios, helping to consolidate the company’s position as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of electronics for the yachting market.
The Navico that exists today is a completely new entity created in March 2006 by the merger of Simrad Yachting and Lowrance. With the addition of Brunswick New Technologies’ marine electronics division in March 2007, Navico became a house of brands acting as parent company to five distinct and renowned marques: B&G, Eagle, Lowrance, Northstar and Simrad Yachting, all of their products now being manufactured and distributed under the Navico umbrella.
Today the Simrad name is used by two distinct entities: one of these is part of Kongsberg Maritime AS and dedicated to the manufacture of electronics specifically designed for commercial fishing boats, while the other is Simrad Yachting, incorporated into the Navico group in 2006.Visit website for more information