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Old 04-28-2013
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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. FIXED MOUNT VHF WITH GPS (BLK): GPS & Navigation FIXED MOUNT VHF WITH GPS (BLK): GPS & Navigation

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
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