Re: What GPS to use
Some thoughts rather than a particular recommendation : (had my Lowrance HDS 5M for 3 years now)
The 5" screen on my fixed is far more useful than the less than 2" one on my handheld. I'd only recommend a handheld if you're changing boats a lot.
In SF Bay with currents, I love the "projected line of course" feature. It projects the actual course in a line (I have it set 1 mile ahead). So you can see where you are really going, not where you are pointed.
NMEA2000 support is nice if you want to have all the instrumentation interconnected (for example, GPS speed displayed on the GMI 10, and so on)
The AIS target display on the Lowrance is nice (connected to a AIS receiver)
The Lowrance is powerful for the money, but not easy to use. Garmin have a better reputation for ease of use.
Bristol 31.1, San Francisco Bay