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Old 08-01-2006
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Garmin GPSMAP 60Cx ...? CS...? C?

I'm looking for a good GPS that I can take to the car, so I never have to stop at the gas station again. Except for gas.

Anyone have any experience with these models?

Realistically speaking, will I need more than 64 mb, if I get the C model? Would this mean I'd have to load up New Orleans maps, if I'm flying to new Orleans (vs. loading top 20 major metros). Guessing answer is yes either way.

Second, is there a way to get only San Francisco bay marine charts, rather than spending 120$ for all of North America or whatever?

alternatively, is there such a thing as Land and Sea combo deals somewhere that are too good to be true?

My intent is to use the thing to tell me when I'm aground. About three seconds before I'm aground. I jest. Mostly.
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Old 08-01-2006
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The best value right now in GPS units for both marine and automotive use are probably Garmin's 276/378/478 models. The 276 is available with both BlueChart and CitySelect maps on CD, where as the 378 and 478 have the US-automotive maps and either the inland (378) or coastal (478) BlueChart G2 marine charts built-in.

All three units IIRC can be expanded with Garmin Memory Cards, but the cards are proprietary.

I have the 276 unit, and use it as a backup on my boat as well as the primary unit for my truck.

These are not handheld units, like the 60xx or 76xx units, but are rather a bit larger, with voice prompting for the automotive directions.

You can also use either the 60__ or 76__ units from Garmin. If the unit has a X in the name, it takes flash memory cards (mini SD I think) otherwise it is limited to the base memory of the unit. BTW, I used the 76CS for many years for my fishing trips...and it lives in the ditch bag on my boat.

60c/60cs/60cx are a bit smaller than the 76c/76cs/76cx units, but IMO the controls aren't as good and the 76 series has the advantage of floating, rather than sinking...so if you drop them, you're less likely to lose the unit.

Worst Marine has had the 276 units on sale recently...so might be worth looking at.
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Old 08-01-2006
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thanks. I think you need to write a book, SailingDog...! What a treasure trove.
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One thing I would have to recommend. If you get a 276/378/478 unit, you will probably want to get a Garmin memory card for it... and the USB card reader. The card reader allows you to read/write the card, and you can use it to transfer waypoints, routes, tracks and firmware upgrades to the unit.

Currently, the software that Garmin supplies is Wintel based only. They have promised Mac OS X support later this year. Entering the waypoint and routes is a lot easier on the PC than it is on the units, although you can do it on the units in a pinch.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
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