The 6 Best GPS Systems For Boating

Posted: Mar 29 2019, 9:33am CDT | by , Updated: Mar 30 2019, 4:46am CDT, in Technology News

 

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The 6 Best GPS Systems for Boating

Technology has changed boating in many ways, but one of the best is being able to tell just where you are without paper maps and a compass. Check out the 6 best GPS systems for boating.

Navigating the open road without GPS can be tricky, but finding your way across the ocean is nearly impossible. Unless you're skilled in the art of using a sextant — if you are, good for you — computer navigation is the only ticket to open water navigation. It's also quite helpful for navigating riverways.

Unlike cars — which have started incorporating integrated GPS or options to handily mount your phone and rely on Google Maps — seafaring GPS is still best accessed through an appliance. Here are six of our favorite choices for open water GPS systems in 2019.

1. Garmin Striker 4

Fishermen may note that Google Maps is noticeably lacking a fish-finding feature. We do not encourage the use of a smartphone to learn what's beneath your boat, but for just over $100, you can pick up this handy Garmin unit complete with swiveling base and CHIRP radar. It also sports a clean, easy-to-use interface with physical buttons. If you're like most anglers, this tool is everything you need and nothing you don't.

2. Humminbird 410210

The name might be a mouthful, but this $260 unit represents a solid step up from the simple Striker unit, most notably thanks to its high-resolution graphics and 5-inch screen. The 'Bird can see down to 2,500 feet and features a waterproof battery compartment that also houses your SD card.

3. Garmin GPSMAP 78sc

For those who want to be able to transport their GPS with them on and off the boat, a handheld unit like the GPSMAP line from Garmin is a good call. This compact full-color unit will help you find your fish and a dock to launch from using the optional BirdsEye satellite imagery feature. It also offers a share feature, so you can invite your friends to join you once you find a spot for the day.

4. Lowrance gen3 Fishfinder

If stepping out of your comfort zone with a lesser-known brand doesn't bother you, the Lowrance gen3 is a full-featured fishfinder that combines the large screen, exceptional sonar technology and ease-of-use you'd pay more for elsewhere. Because it has a large screen, you can use the Sonar and StructureScan features simultaneously for an exceptional view of fish in the area.

5. Simrad Go7 XSE

Simrad takes the "don't bring a knife to a gunfight" approach to finding fish with more electronic power than a small air-traffic control tower available in the Go7's sleek touchscreen interface. This is basically a tablet made to fit your boat, with a hi-def screen that measures 7 inches and packs all your essential information onto a single heads-up interface. It includes a full cartography complement and is Bluetooth- and Wi-Fi-capable. The catch? You'll pay $719 for this marine supercomputer.

6. Standard Horizon Explorer VHF

Bringing some utility to the game, the Horizon Explorer VHF does double-duty as a GPS system and emergency radio. With a memory that can save up to 100 distinct waypoints, the VHF specializes in emergency situations. It can also locate and guide you to other marine vessels' distress calls.

Other Things You Need

Ready to grab a GPS and get boating? Make sure you have everything you need first. First, find what kind of dock is best for whichever kind of boat you have. Then fill up on fuel, a first aid kit, and a flair gun. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher, and tell somebody where you're going. Then you can think about the GPS. These six options run the gamut from basic low-res units that do the job without issue to the Enterprise-class Go7 XSE and all points in between. The unique demands of fishfinding and the sonar requirements of marine GPS systems make it unlikely that we'll see these tools go away any time in the near future, and with the consistent march of technology, boat builders seem not to want to start integrating them because something new and better could come out next year. Whichever unit you choose, good fishing to you!

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/56" rel="author">Scott Huntington</a>
Scott Huntington is a writer and journalist from Harrisburg PA who covered movies, tech, cars, and more. Check out his blog Off The Throttle or follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington.

 

 

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