Raymarine Electronics is a popular manufacturer of marine electronic equipment that targets both the recreational and business market. Originally known as Raytheon Inc. during 1923 when it was founded and released their first ever depth sounder, the company was able to make a name through the years.
How It Started
As Raytheon Inc. continues to grow, it first acquired Apelco in 1958 and further acquired Nautech/Autohelm several years after in 1974. At this time, the company seemed unstoppable with amazing marine electronic innovations. A year later, in 1975, they got their first ever award which is a British Design Award for their first Autohelm tiller pilot.
It was in 1973 when the company Autohelm invented tiller pilots and it has been a hit ever since for its remarkable standard for performance, reliability, and ease of use. Note that Autohelm was acquired by Raytheon in 1974, a year after the invention of the tiller pilot. Today, one can still find improved tiller pilots at Raymarine. They have kept it alive all these years without any sign that it is going to be replaced or pulled out of the market.
The next great thing was the Autohelm micro autopilots which are regarded as the first cockpit autopilots that use digital control system all over the world. This happened in 1984 and shortly thereafter, for two consecutive years in 1989 and 1990, the company again received British Design Award and Silk Cut Nautical Award for the SeaTalk digital communications protocol, linking instruments, and autopilots.
In 1992, the company started incorporating GPS technology into the then already established SeaTalk Navigation, instrument, and autopilot control systems. In the same year, they received the DAME Award for the Autohelm ST2000 Tiller Pilot – EU.
The awards just kept pouring in especially in the early 1990s. Marking another milestone is the year 1996 when they received two awards – Imtec Award for Apelco L365 entry-level LCD fishfinder in the United States and the DAME Award for the Autohelm ST80 Instrument Range in Europe.
With one milestone after another, the company launched yet another amazing product – the Pathfinder Radar which is the first leisure marine radar that is designed and built outside of Japan for 15 years. Two years after this, High Speed Bus (HSB) protocol integrating high resolution radar and chartplotters were launched.
How Raytheon Became Raymarine
It was in 2001 when Raymarine acquired Raytheon’s Recreational Marine Division. What happened is a management buy-out which is backed by Hg Capital. In this same year, Advanced Steering Technology (AST) inboard autopilot course computers were launched.
Awards came pouring in for Raymarine from year 2002 onwards with Imtec Award for RayTech Version 4 PC Navigation software integrated with onboard navigation systems, 2002 DAME Award for ST290 instrument system for Europe, NMEA Best in Show Award 2003 for HDFI – High Definition Fish Imaging, DAME 2004 Award for Raymarine C Series Multifunction Displays in Europe, NMEA Best in Show Award 2004 for Raymarine C Series Multifunction Display in US.
Because of all the great achievements under the Raymarine trade name, it came as no surprise when the company floated above everyone else on the London Stock Exchange. To be exact, it was December 6, 2004 when Raymarine first made its mark on the London Stock Exchange.
Recognition resumed for the company from 2005 onwards as they were awarded the Motor Boating Magazine Best of the Year Awards for Raymarine E Series High Performance Multifunction Navigation Displays and S1000 autopilot for year 2005, NMEA Best in Show Award 2005 for Raymarine E Series Multifunction Display in the United States.
In 2006, Raymarine was finally able to complete outsourcing of manufacturing as the demand greatly increased. Furthermore, they bagged NMEA Best Navigation Product 2006 for the Raymarine E120 Multifunction Display in US, NMEA Best in Show Award 2006 for Raymarine RayTech v6.0 Navigation Software in US, and CES Innovations 2007 Design and Engineering Award in US for the SR100 SIRIUS Satellite Weather Receiver.
In 2007, the Raymarine Asia Pty Ltd was founded and their LifeTag Man Overboard System wins the SAIL Pittman Innovation Award in Electronics category in US. By this time, Raymarine was working overtime and not just focusing on one country. In France, they successfully acquired SDM Electronique SAS while in Germany, the HE Eissing KG (GmbH & Co) was acquired as well.
Raymarine was also honored as Sponsor of the Year at RYA Powerboat Racing Gold Awards in UK while the LifeTag MOB system won the Salt Water Sportsman’s inaugural 2007 High Hook Award in Safety category.
In June of 2009, the planned relocation of Raymarine headquarters to new leased single site was finally completed. Came 2010, they acquired FLIR Systems which marked yet another milestone in the company’s timeline.
In 2011, Raymarine acquired Belamarin which was originally their distributor in Norway and Sweden. In the same year, TH24 and TH32 hand-held thermal cameras was launched to the public along with AIS650 Class B AIS Transceiver, AIS350 AIS Receiver, and the e7 multifunction display.
It was in 2012 when the some of the now famous innovations of Raymarine was launched, namely the Voyage Planner software, i40, i50, and i60 instruments, e165 multifunction display, aSeries touchscreen multifunction display, RayRemote and RayControl apps, eSeries 9 and 12-inch models, CP450C ClearPulse CHIRP sonar, T470SC gyro-stabilized thermal camera, and AIS950 Class A Automatic Identification System transceiver.
In 2013, Raymarine (wiki) makes another history as being the first company to have received four DAME Award nominations while Evolution wins several awards in US. In spite of all the nominations and awards, Raymarine continued their innovations.
Numerous features that were introduced in the same year are Evolution autopilots, Ray260 premier VHF radio, gS Series glass bridge navigation system, T200 thermal camera, Dragonfly Sonar/GPS, CP100 network sonar module with CHIRP Downvision, a6 and a7 multifunction displays, InstAlert technology for TH Series handheld cameras, ECI-100 Universal Engine and Control Interface, and Lighthouse II.
In 2014, FLIR starts to make waves in the industry and gather awards. Raymarine even wins Outstanding International Supplier-Catching at the 6th Icelandic Fisheries Awards in Iceland. In this same year, they released Ray70, Ray60, Ray50, CP200 SideVision sonar, CAM200IP marine video camera, aSeries 9 and 12 inch multifunction touch displays, gS195 GlassBridge Multifunction Display, Hydro-Balance technology for Evolution, and Dragonfly 7.
Lastly, in year 2015, Dragonfly 4 and 5 models were launched and within less than a year since its launch, it already gained awards.
Raymarine’s timeline only proves one thing – that they have and will continue to make innovative marine electronics focusing on GPS chartplotters, VHF radios, HD digital fish finders, radars, instruments, satellite televisions, autopilots, sunlight viewable displays, and navigation displays.