Fenix 3 Man Overboard Now Useful!

The Garmin Fenix 3 watch is a sports/fitness/navigation watch with a lot of features.  A firmware update that came out a few months ago included a new Man Overboard feature, ostensibly intended so that the owner can hit a button on the watch and have it record the location so you can navigate back to it at sea.

However, the original implementation had a number of problems which made it, well, completely useless;

  • Pressing the button required waiting until GPS had finished acquiring and then confirming you want to navigate.  Failing to confirm results in (after 15 minutes) the location being irrevocably discarded.  If you accidentally hit the back button before confirming, the location is discarded with no warning.
  • During navigation, cancelling out of the navigation causes the location to be discarded with no option to resume navigation and no save of the location.

These issues made the feature useless – especially for me, who wants a way to quickly tag a location for return navigation when I’ve got my hands full.  I can’t wait and press the nav button again to confirm after a delay, and having the location discarded would be really bad.  I’m talking lost in the woods, miles from anything, in the pitch black kind of bad.

However, a new firmware update has corrected this!  Now, it’s actually sensible.

  • The last triggered MOB location is saved in the Navigation menu (only the last one, unfortunately, no history).
  • Hitting the MOB hotkey results in immediate navigation to that point without requiring a second keypress.
  • Cancelling navigation requires three keypresses, and the location is still stored in the Navigation menu for recovery.

So, nearly perfect.  What would really make the grade is for the MOB hotkey to automatically save it in Saved Locations so if you accidentally hit it a second time the first location is not lost.

9/10 for Garmin, some more polish required for higher marks.

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