NMEA 2000


Two years of hard work by the NMEA 2000® Standard Committee have culminated in an updated and significantly improved version of the internationally accepted network standard. Called NMEA 2000 Standard Edition 3.10 February 2015, the new version of NMEA 2000 yields better product interoperability through more stringent certification requirements and minimizes implementation misunderstandings through improvements in the NMEA 2000 Main Document language.

Nineteen new NMEA 2000 Network Messages (PGNs) have been added to Appendix B, including a full suite of 12 Audio/Entertainment PGNs, which manufacturers can use to implement standard audio controls via NMEA 2000-certified multi-function displays (MFDs). Three new AIS PGNs along with all PGN amendments from 2013 and 2014 have been rolled into this new version. These include important additions such as Man Overboard, Heave, Watermaker, Heartbeat and user-defined alerts.

Other changes include consolidation of certification levels A and B into a single level for all products, along with elimination of listen-only devices with the exception of diagnostic tools. Enhancements to the Application Notes (Appendix D) will provide better standardization of device implementations by manufacturers. In addition, there are new testing documents for device and data instances within Appendix C. 

Manufacturers are required to certify new products to the updated standard within 18 months, although the National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) is encouraging them to do so before the July 2016 deadline. NMEA is also urging manufacturers to update their current products’ firmware to the latest edition.

“The volunteer committee members spent countless hours ingesting, digesting and reviewing the technical minutiae that is needed to get it right,” said Steve Spitzer, NMEA Director of Standards. “They and all of the partner manufacturers deserve huge kudos for their involvement and investment in NMEA 2000.” 

In a related action, NMEA has announced two key volunteer technical committee appointments: Lee Luft, a veteran systems analyst and AIS program manager with the US Coast Guard Research & Development Center, is the new chair of the NMEA 2000 Standard Committee. Luft has been a major contributor for many years to the development of both NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183. He is an advisor in various capacities for the American National Standards Institute to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

Dr. Kwangil Lee is now chair of the NMEA OneNet® Committee, which is developing NMEA’s new Ethernet interface standard. Dr. Lee manages the Automation Division at Korea’s Electronics and Telecommunication Research Institute, a high-tech think tank better known as ETRI. He is also a Technical Member of the IEC and International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

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