NMEA: The Marine Communication Standard

In 1980, a group of professionals from the industry met to develop a standard "language" for marine interfaces. The result was the National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) 0180 standard. It addressed one problem, that of making lorans and autopilots work together, and it was a success.

NMEA 0183

In the following years this standard, revised, broadened, then totally revamped to take into account the wide range of electronics appearing on boats, led to the NMEA 0183 standard.

NMEA 2000

Later need for more speed and the network led to the NMEA 2000.

NMEA 2000 is hard wired to the CAN bus. CAN affects the message format and it is different compared to the 0183. The basic talker-listner-structure is the same but where 0183 transfers ASCII sentences CAN transfers binary data messages. It is rather easy to decode NMEA 2000 binary data to ASCII sentences and transport them to upper levels.