Re: Minimal Electronics reqirements and alternatives
In general I think there is a lot to be said for good hard-wired electronics. When things are rough you don't want to drop your handeld stuff or worry about batteries.
I recommend this:
1) Hard wired VHF with built in GPS. The built in GPS can transmit your location in an emergency. This costs about $50 or $100 extra but avoids networking and is a great safety feature. I really wish I had this.
2) Mounted GPS ($500) or a handeld (~250) with 12V from boat.
Personally I'm hoping to build a permanent mounting place for my handeld GPS in the cockpit where it can run off 12V from the boat.
3) Nav App for your phone (or tablet), at $20 it's a no-brainer and is honestly the best GPS experience. Get a waterproof case for your phone.
4) Have a backup handheld radio.
If you really want to keep things simple handheld VHF/GPS combos are coming down in price. You could consider your phone your primary nav/communication and this as your backup.
5) Depth finder, mounted compass with light