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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking to add a depth finder with a shoot thru the hull transducer to my boat. I don't want to spend a lot of money and I don't care about large colorful graphics or images of fish. I just want to know how deep the water is. Any suggestions. Thanks
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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get a fish finder. I NEVER trust depth sounders that simply display a number. Fish finder will show you the bottom contour, cost less (about $100), and will shoot through the hull.
 
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Shanachie, Bristol 30
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You get what you pay for. A $100 Humminbird is better than a lead line, but that's about all you can say. The proper way is to spend about $180 or so on a good depth sounder (ex., Raymarine) and another $125 on a P79 Airmar transducer, which is designed to shoot through hulls and tilts up to 22 degrees to make up for the slant on your hull bottom. As always, it's your choice: Do it cheap and do it twice, or do it right the first time.
 

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Corsair 24
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plenty of boats use fishfinders...and plenty shoot thru hull fine...and its one less hole in your boat

just do research and youll be good
 

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I have a fish finder and it is accurate for depth on our lake and in the deep blue as well. IE: readings match what the charts say and what is easily visually confirmed with anchor and eyes. Can't imagine spending the $ for Raymarine on a boat that might be worth less than the electronics when all is said and done. That is my situation at least. Oh, and they show contours and fish. Handy.

Could you clarify what "do it right" gets you in this case? Does spending the most possible money always get the best results? Not trying to be a smart A$$ here but it seems common and it helps when folks point out the failings of the less expensive solution.

EDIT: What kind of boat is this on?
 

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amen....

do it right, go get an original signet head, and transducer for $600 for a damn depth reader...

then install...

or get a fishfinder...keep it simple and spend maybe $100 plus if you install it using wax you can take it off and use it on your next boat

now THATS the right way to do it...jajajaja

joking aside there are many ways to skin a cat...

yes the p79 is the golden standard for transducers...sometimes its just not feasible or worth it to go all out if you will

you dont need to
 

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Shanachie, Bristol 30
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A fishfinder won't shoot through the hull of any decent-sized sailboat. Tried that. Didn't work. You have to mount it on the transom. Also, the Humminbird I briefly owned a couple of years ago didn't list depth in fractions of a foot. For a sailboat, it's very important to know whether you're at 4 feet or 4.9 feet.

I speak from experience on do it right or do it twice. I brought back the Humminbird. :)

I also did the blob of silicone to mount the original transducer on the Raymarine. Yeah, it worked to 200 feet, but not to 400 feet, and it sometimes couldn't read grassy bottoms in shallow water, when I really needed it. It also worked loose eventually at an inconvenient moment.

The P79 gives great readings in all conditions. It's mounted permanently and won't work loose in bad conditions.

The problem with taking shortcuts is that they add up and eventually you have a shoddy/dangerous boat. If you need it, you need to do it right.

I spent several years undoing shortcuts and quick fixes on my boat after buying it. With most of them, a couple of extra dollars was all it would have required to do the job properly.
 

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Interesting issues. Never heard of anyone having those issues before up here. Almost everyone uses fish finders and the water is...well...DEEP! Too bad you had the issues. These work well for hundreds of boaters. But, if money isn't an issue then go for it.

And for the record, because you couldn't make something work that is in common use around the world doesn't make others that could install it have a "shoddy/dangerous boat". Using non marine parts on a boat is a short cut that is shoddy and dangerous. Using a product as intended and for it's stated purpose is logical.
 

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My sailboat is a 1981 Catalina 27. I sail on an inland resevoir with a maximum depth of 50ft. By "do it right", I meant that I will spend the extra dollars for a fish finder. Thanks all for the input.
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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A fishfinder won't shoot through the hull of any decent-sized sailboat. Tried that. Didn't work. You have to mount it on the transom. Also, the Humminbird I briefly owned a couple of years ago didn't list depth in fractions of a foot. For a sailboat, it's very important to know whether you're at 4 feet or 4.9 feet.

I speak from experience on do it right or do it twice. I brought back the Humminbird. :)

I also did the blob of silicone to mount the original transducer on the Raymarine. Yeah, it worked to 200 feet, but not to 400 feet, and it sometimes couldn't read grassy bottoms in shallow water, when I really needed it. It also worked loose eventually at an inconvenient moment.

The P79 gives great readings in all conditions. It's mounted permanently and won't work loose in bad conditions.

The problem with taking shortcuts is that they add up and eventually you have a shoddy/dangerous boat. If you need it, you need to do it right.

I spent several years undoing shortcuts and quick fixes on my boat after buying it. With most of them, a couple of extra dollars was all it would have required to do the job properly.
Dude,

I have a 35' SOLID GLASS hull. My boat draws 5.7' and the fish finder that I mounted next to the inoperative through hull transducer works great to 200', or as deep as I have been. In shallow water, the unit becomes accurate to a higher degree. The specific unit that I have is this; https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/on-t...prod85820.html

If a fish finder did not work for you, then it would be more helpful to understand why... The LOA or LWL, or whatever you mean by "decent-sized sailboat" has nothing to do with whether a transducer will work. On the other hand, if your boat has a cored hull, then no a shoot through the hull transducer will not work. With a cored hull, nothing but a through hull, or transom mount transducer will work.

Then you go on to say that 200 feet wasn't enough... What is the draft of your vessel?

[EDIT] I tried looking at your profile to see what year Bristol 30 you sail... As far as I knew most Bristol 30s had a solid glass hull... I can see where correctly placing any type of transducer could be a problem depending on whether you have the long keel or centerboard, version, but I don't claim to be an expert on Bristol 30s.
 

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My sailboat is a 1981 Catalina 27. I sail on an inland resevoir with a maximum depth of 50ft. By "do it right", I meant that I will spend the extra dollars for a fish finder. Thanks all for the input.
Sounds like a plan. I hope you didn't think my "do it right" question was for you though. You asked a good question and I wanted to hear clarification on one of the answers you got. Sounds like this will work great for an inland lake.
 

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Freedom isn't free
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My $75 hawkeye works fine... but then I drilled the hole too.
As an added bonus I get water temp and air temp too ;)

They make a shoot through hull model for I think $85, but it doesn't have the fancy temp readings.
 

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Shanachie, Bristol 30
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The depth function will work on the $100 Humminbird on an in-hull installation, but not the fish finding function, unless they have vastly improved the unit in the last couple of years. Humminbird warned about this when I tried the unit, but implied that it might work on smaller, thin-hulled vessels.

Maybe Garmin has a newer, better unit? Do you see accurate bottom contours shooting through the hull?

As a certified captain, I'm sure you know that depth is extremely useful for navigation and fishing as well as avoiding shoals. Being able to read up to 400 feet is useful when you sail along coasts.

As far as shoddy/dangerous, one thing I've learned sailing on the ocean is that stuff breaks, especially when you take shortcuts and buy cheap gear.

A second-rate installation that does just fine on an inland lake is sure as hell going to fail when you're getting bounced around in 8-foot seas in the Gulfstream or slamming through a 5-foot chop in an East Coast inlet.
 

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As far as shoddy/dangerous, one thing I've learned sailing on the ocean is that stuff breaks, especially when you take shortcuts and buy cheap gear.

A second-rate installation that does just fine on an inland lake is sure as hell going to fail when you're getting bounced around in 8-foot seas in the Gulfstream or slamming through a 5-foot chop in an East Coast inlet.
I agree. That is why one chooses horses for courses and context is important when making gear suggestions. A recreational sit on top kayak isn't appropriate for ocean passages but I wouldn't tell anyone they are dangerous or second rate if they asked online for an opinion on one. They are just built for the intended use. My 21 foot expedition kayak could be represented as the "only safe and appropriate" solution if I wanted to play that way.
 

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for what its worth Ive had a very expensive and well installed depth finder fail on me in rough conditions or heel angles or chop too

so your suggestion that only the best is useful for "ocean" going vessel is well pushing itas is saying that only the bes wont fail or wont have issues...

the bottom line is depth finders have had many issues from intermittent sounding to copletely blacking out or working intermittently to havng the head fail or transducer short etc...



but hey horses for courses...

I have no idea why anyone would deem knowing your in 400 feet usefull, to me if a depth sounder had better shallow water functions I would deem that more important

for example its beyond me why depth sounders cant be in feet and inches or more precise....in say 10feet of water and less...where you really need it

anyways
 

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I have an inexpensive "Hawkeye" depth sounder the display reads to 1/10 ft. The previous owner installed the transducer and display more than 10 years ago, I replaced the display only 3 years ago, the transducer through hull unit still works without any problems.

The LCD display does not last unless the protective cover cap is installed when not in use, as the manufacturer instructs.
 

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I'd spend my money on a good plotter/GPS and a decent numerical depth finder. If the depth finder is accurate to 150-200 feet, that's more than needed, unless you are a full on racer. The chart plotter will give you bottom info and matching depth, but the fish finder will give you lots of info you don't want and bells a whistles you don't need, for sailing. Having spent many years commercial and sport fishing, I'm a little bit familiar with fish finders and even the cheap ones really are overkill for a sailboat. Now sidescan sonar, but you did say inexpensive, didn't you?
However, I don't sail lakes, rivers or shallow draft day sailors, so I probably shouldn't be offering an opinion.
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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I HAD the Signet Marine unit that was common in the '80s and '90s... I HATED the damn thing. It would read 10.5' (which the chart and I agreed with), then, a foot ahead, would read 3.4'... This happened EVERY day that I turned it on. Considering that my boat draws 5.7', and I was still moving, it caused confusion. Was I aground? Was there a submarine under my hull? was it a fish? was it a spurious reading?? WTF?

When I had my hull soda blasted, and painted, the boob at the yard painted the transducer too. I was not happy initially, but after properly installing a decent fish finder, I considered that the boob had done me a service.
 
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