Lets see now, I'm moving at the breakneck speed of 7 MPH and I need to see details of what is 40 miles ahead. Hmmm! Think I'll just zoom in on my GPS/Plotter and see what is a quarter mile ahead in high resolution, and if it's nighttime, I'll fire up the 3G Radar that overlays the GPS/Plotter and make sure I'm not gonna run over something, or something is gonna run over me. Oh, and if it fails, I have two more of them on the boat, one handheld and one backup. However, I don't believe I'll ever need them - I've never had a GPS/Plotter failure in nearly two decades, and never had my Loran-C fail in all the years prior to GPS.
Yeah, I know, sextants don't usually fail either, unless you happen to drop them and bend something, or break the mirrors. And, the closest I could come in actual position with a sextant was within 9 miles of my actual position. Not good, especially when sailing up Delaware or Chesapeake Bay at night.
Oh, my GPS/Plotter also displays my depth on the screen, the actual depth, not the depth on a chart that was last updated in 1947. It also displays the time, date, battery voltage, lat/lon, distance to destination, time to destination, bearing, bearing to destination, COG, SOG, course deviation, and anything else that I wish to display to make the trip safer. I can change the display intensity in increments of 10 percent at a time as the surrounding light grows dimmer, thereby maintaining my night vision, and switch to an all red display if I wish to make nighttime reading easier.
My engine instruments are not lighted, therefore I cannot see them at night unless I fire up my red flashlight, however, they too can be interfaced with the GPS/Plotter and at the touch of a page button, I can place them along side my chart.
Today's GPS/Plotters are incredible devices that not only make navigating much, much easier, but they also should be considered as a multi-function, marine, safety device. They can monitor so many things at the same time, provide visual and audible alarms for those devices or functions, and do this in microseconds while you prop up your feet and sail for some distant destination just over the horizon, or across the oceans. And, it does all this efficiently and reliably, day and night, rain or shine. The beauty of this is it's all in one, relatively small, package.