Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Long Island, NY
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Re: What kinda mounted GPS unit should I buy?
Personally I prefer a fix mounted, large screen plotter. I have an IPhone that I use, as well as a small Garmin hand held. I have an IPad but I almost never use that for navigation. I do use the IPad and phone for planning, but rarely for navigation.
IMHO, the cost of a good plotter is way less than the cost a modern phone. You never have to worry about the plotter running out of battery power, you can read it in sunlight, or darkness (without being too bright), or water damage, etc.
Some things for you to consider:
1. Do you want to have an integrated fish finder / depth sounder? Many units come with the ability to receive SONAR data from a transducer. At a minimum this provides water depth. Most units allow you to determine the bottom type which can help with anchoring.
2. Do you want to integrate other electronics, like wind data, speed through water, autopilot, AIS, DSC, etc.? This is easy with most modern plotters. It can be done with tablets and phones but it's not as easy.
3. Do you have any other electronics where keeping the same brand would be helpful?
4. Do you race or any other specific needs or wants?
5. Do you have a preference over touch screen, real keys, or both?
Personally I have owned or used plotter from Garmin, Lowrance, Raymarine, and B&G. In reality they are all good and mostly have the same functions. My personal favorite is B&G. B&G plotters have sailing specific functions that I find helpful. It's true that Garmin and Raymarine have similar functions but B&G had it first and IMHO works better.
For under your $1000 price you can have a B&G Vulcan 7 with Navionics charts. This is a fully featured plotter with built in WIFI, free SW that allows you to control the plotter from your phone or tablet. It includes integration with SONAR transducers (and you get one that works well for about $100).
There are 5" units that are less expensive, as well as 7" and 9" units that cost more.
Again, IMHO I would only buy a plotter that used the NMEA2000 interface.
Can you go to a west marine and play around with the display units? That's a nice way to check them out.
Deep Blue C, 2002 C&C 110
Mt. Sinai, NY
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