Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Cape Cod
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Re: Radar Chartplotter?
I was not a fan of integrated radar/chart plotters, then I got one. I changed my mind.
There is nothing like having a display at the helm. This makes 1 person navigating work, even when running through a narrow harbor in the fog. In a boat the OP's size, multiple screens in the cockpit can get ungainly. Integrated systems solve this problem as well. Then there's radar overlay. No thinking involved when a marker and a radar return are at the same location on the screen. For additional cost, you can add an additional display below if you want, but if you can afford only one, put it on deck IMHO.
For redundancy buy a simple hand held GPS for short money, even if it only has numbers and you should have a paper chart anyway. If you have a cell phone or tablet, load your favorite nav software for a cheap chart plotter 3rd backup system for real short money.
Not sure it matters which vendor. We have Raymarine, seems to work fine, their support is not so great, but usually you don't need much support once everything is working.