We don't use paper maps very much when we drive on the highway anymore, and it is fast becoming that way on the waters as well, since many boats now have Marine GPS units - portable or mounted. Boaters in larger inland waterways or on the ocean may depend on their GPS for their lives, but for many boaters, it's just an accessory that is very handy to have along. It's becoming more important to have a GPS unit on your boat, just in case you might need it. And you'll probably use it for navigation on larger bodies of water.
Types of Marine GPS Units
When you select a marine GPS unit for your personal boat, keep in mind the type of boating you normally do, since this will help you to decide what features you need most in boat GPS systems
. If you don't boat much, or if you only sail on smaller lakes, you can use a handheld GPS device that can be taken from car to boat and back, as needed. Off-shore and river boating isn't as dangerous as boating on the ocean, but it can be helpful for you to have a gps navigation system with a depth-finder, regardless of where you boat.
If you sail your boat in deeper or wider waters, you will want a GPS unit that is made for marine use. One with a system to plot courses is worth the extra money. If you are able to gauge your speed, angle and time, these gps map systems
can help you to determine how long it will take you to get from point A to point B, or give you more choices when you are selecting the best route, especially if you are on the ocean.
You should also keep in mind the more physical aspects of the marine electronic devices you look at. While a car GPS will work on your boat, and in fact they are not hard to mount, each vessel has its steerage system hooked up in a different way, and you may need a special format for your GPS. If you need both hands on the wheel to steer your boat, you should buy a marine GPS system that you are able to mount on your boat, so you can look at it while you are steering. You may also find handheld systems that are cheaper, too, if you find that those work for you on your boat. Be sure to purchase a unit that has a screen that is easy to read, and one that you can see even in bright sunlight. Even if you normally are below deck when steering, an outdoor screen may be essential if you need to use it above deck.
Features of GPS MAP Units
If you are planning to use your boat for fishing, you will want a marine GPS unit on your boat. If you purchase a boat that doesn't already have a GPS unit, check the various features that are available on today's portable waterproof marine GPS receivers. Chart-plotters are handy for fishing trips. Echo-location and sea coordinates are found on most newer GPS navigation devices too, but units made for cars may have features you don't need on the water.
Marine GPS units made by Garmin and Lowrance have features that you will likely use often, including a chart-plotter that will receive data for you to use while you're boating. Satellite imagery with high resolution will help keep you more aware of where you are on the water. GPS products with this feature work well for quite a lot of boaters, whether you are fishing, power boating or sailing. The prices are reasonable and the design has a good-sized screen for ease in viewing, even in sunlight. You can also use a unit like this to see what is below your boat, which is handy when you're fishing. It also comes with details including port plans, restricted areas and detailed coastlines. It can provide you with up-to-date weather, as well. It can even transmit a signal for you if you experience an emergency situation. You can click here for a Garmin GPSMAP 76 review
Marine GPS units are favored by many fishermen. They will give you in-depth coverage of more than 100,000 water bodies you may sail, and they show most U.S. lakes in vivid detail. The best GPS navigation devices are compatible with mapping systems, and their own maps are updated at regular intervals. Garmin and Lowrance GPS units both work quite well in many boating situations, and they are worth the money you've spent, once you're on the water.
About the Author
Jane Warren is an avid outdoor water enthusiast who enjoys swimming, diving, boating, ski tubes, and anything else related to outdoor water sports. Out of this love of water sports, Jane started the website TowableTubesDirect.com, where she provides information and reviews on watersports equipment including towable tubes. She also provides articles reviews on boating items that contribute to safer water activities, including Marine GPS units, and tips for water sport safety