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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking to purchase a handheld GPS. I need it for basic offshore navigation like waypoints and reverse nav. I prefer it to be a handheld as I do not have the space or the money for a permanently mounted model. I was hoping that I could figure out a way to load marine charts in to my Garmin NUVI, but I have had no luck in figuring that path out. Any suggestions that are under, say, $200?
 

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West Marine currently has the excellent Garmin 78sc that has a compass, barometer/altimeter and US GS coastal charts including usa and bahamas...for $250. The fact that the price is the same as I paid for my 76Csx several *YEARS* ago with *NO* charts makes this a no brainer. Oh, btw, it also is rugged (IPX7) and it floats.

Sure the screen isn't as big, bright, or fancy (no touchscreen) as the consumer grade garmins...but this is a gps that is meant to be in a marine environment. It can be in the big boat, it can go in the dink, and it can go in the ditch kit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I've got a WM two blocks from my work. I think I'll run down there this afternoon and take a look. Thanks for the advice!
 

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The annoying thing is that I paid $500 for my 78sc when they first came out.
 

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Bombay Explorer 44
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The basic Garmin 72 is still available for even less. $150

Does the job for me and I prefer the nav screen options.
 

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The basic Garmin 72 is still available for even less. $150

Does the job for me and I prefer the nav screen options.
The older 76 is still available on eBay, and many people swear by it. If you get the optional cable you can even connect it to your 25 watt Station VHS for DSC reports to the USCG.

Only black and white. But many people who have had both the 72 and the 76 say that the 72 is a down run from the 76. The 76S model can be had for about $100 on eBay(I got one because I'm too cheap to spring the a $500 new one. The 76s was about $450 back in the day. The S model has more memory)

None of them are terribly user friendly, but Garmin doesn't really have much competition. you could also try your iPhone(there's probalby at APP for that).
 

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+1 for the 78sc

Garmin Glo for $99 is a good option to hook up to an iPad or similar via bluetooth. That way, one can use iNavx with GPS. Lots of posts online on this.
 

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I have a 76csx which is actually more than I need. It is connected to a Clipper Marine Speed Log for a larger SOG display, and to a DSC-enabled VHF, both using simple direct-wired NMEA 0183 protocol. My GPS does have the Garmin Bluechart G2 map chip, but frankly I find mapping near-useless in a handheld as the screen is just too small.

If I were buying again I'd pass on any pretense of mapping in a handheld and simply look for one with NMEA 0183 outputs for the speed log and VHF... you're probably under $150 new and maybe well under $100 used on eBay.

Note though, that I always daysail in very familiar waters so we never encounter "where am I?" issues. In the rare event that might happen, I also keep a GPS-enabled Android tablet with the MX Mariner app and free NOAA charts onboard that'll give a fix if ever needed.

You can score a perfectly adequate used GPS-enabled Android tablet (like an 8-inch screen Acer A1-810) on eBay for under $100, MX Mariner application is $7 and NOAA charts are free... voila, you have a quasi-chartplotter. It is not weather-proof nor easily viewed outdoors... figure on using it belowdecks, but it will provide an accurate real-time fix on the chart image.

Note many here will poo-poo the notion of using an Android tablet as primary navigation device... and they are right. But for my good-weather sailing in familiar waters, a handheld, paper charts and GPS-enabled tablet backup are fine.
 

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I have a 76csx which is actually more than I need. It is connected to a Clipper Marine Speed Log for a larger SOG display, and to a DSC-enabled VHF, both using simple direct-wired NMEA 0183 protocol. My GPS does have the Garmin Bluechart G2 map chip, but frankly I find mapping near-useless in a handheld as the screen is just too small.

If I were buying again I'd pass on any pretense of mapping in a handheld and simply look for one with NMEA 0183 outputs for the speed log and VHF... you're probably under $150 new and maybe well under $100 used on eBay.

Note though, that I always daysail in very familiar waters so we never encounter "where am I?" issues. In the rare event that might happen, I also keep a GPS-enabled Android tablet with the MX Mariner app and free NOAA charts onboard that'll give a fix if ever needed.

You can score a perfectly adequate used GPS-enabled Android tablet (like an 8-inch screen Acer A1-810) on eBay for under $100, MX Mariner application is $7 and NOAA charts are free... voila, you have a quasi-chartplotter. It is not weather-proof nor easily viewed outdoors... figure on using it belowdecks, but it will provide an accurate real-time fix on the chart image.

Note many here will poo-poo the notion of using an Android tablet as primary navigation device... and they are right. But for my good-weather sailing in familiar waters, a handheld, paper charts and GPS-enabled tablet backup are fine.

What he said! I have the Garmin 76cx (or whatever the letters are) and it's great. I also have a Samsung tablet and loaded it up w/ Nav stuff and Weather apps. Great to have.
 

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To me the most important feature of a handheld GPS is a database of buoys and other navigation marks you can use as waypoints. I can't imagine trying to use the map on a handheld as a substitute for a "real" chart, but its great for finding the next waypoint in conjunction with one. A useful option is a 12v power cable that allows you to plug into the boat battery and avoid carrying lots of AA batteries.
 

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I second the GPS76 series and the 78.

It took me only a few minutes to connect a Garmin serial cable to my VHF to enable DSC functionality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I have a 76csx which is actually more than I need. It is connected to a Clipper Marine Speed Log for a larger SOG display, and to a DSC-enabled VHF, both using simple direct-wired NMEA 0183 protocol. My GPS does have the Garmin Bluechart G2 map chip, but frankly I find mapping near-useless in a handheld as the screen is just too small.

If I were buying again I'd pass on any pretense of mapping in a handheld and simply look for one with NMEA 0183 outputs for the speed log and VHF... you're probably under $150 new and maybe well under $100 used on eBay.

Note though, that I always daysail in very familiar waters so we never encounter "where am I?" issues. In the rare event that might happen, I also keep a GPS-enabled Android tablet with the MX Mariner app and free NOAA charts onboard that'll give a fix if ever needed.

You can score a perfectly adequate used GPS-enabled Android tablet (like an 8-inch screen Acer A1-810) on eBay for under $100, MX Mariner application is $7 and NOAA charts are free... voila, you have a quasi-chartplotter. It is not weather-proof nor easily viewed outdoors... figure on using it belowdecks, but it will provide an accurate real-time fix on the chart image.

Note many here will poo-poo the notion of using an Android tablet as primary navigation device... and they are right. But for my good-weather sailing in familiar waters, a handheld, paper charts and GPS-enabled tablet backup are fine.
I, too, am sailing in familiar waters, and always in sight of land. However, this will be my first summer taking my kids out beyond the breakwater, and I just feel that it would be a good idea to have some minimal electronic navigation on board. I'll certainly look in to your suggestions. Thank you.
 

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I bought a Garmin 72 used on ebay about 8 years ago. I think I paid $50. It still works fine, except that it can no longer provide "celestial" information such as tides and moon phases. The Garmin help desk informs me that this is an internal software problem related directly to the info that it gets from the satellites. Because Garmin no longer makes this model, they were not going to provide a software fix. So if you want something like the 72, you will have to go with the 72H.

For what you describe, the 72H sounds like a good choice. Whoever above said that the screen on a handheld is too small to usefully display charts gets a gold star in my book. I upgraded to a 5" chartplotter last year, and even that is limiting. The monochrome display on the 72H (which looks exactly like the 72) is just fine for what you want: that extra level of comfort. In an emergency, you can backtrack on your own "trail", or hit preprogrammed waypoints. Once or twice, I've looked up from my reveries, and even though I'm within sight of familiar land, I've wondered "where the heck am I? I've got to get back within a couple of hours, and I have little idea the quickest way to get to the dock." The gps is great for that, and the little screen on the 72 will do you just fine.
 

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IMO, the GPS units are useless without a NOAA chart. I simply use mine to be ready for a possible emergency, and to make notations on the chart where I am now and then.

But everyone should have a NOAA Chart for where they are sailing and now that you can download them in PDF format and blow them up big and print them, no one has an excuse for not having a chart for the area that they are sailing in.

Atlantic NOAA Nautical Charts

Using the GPS in connection with a little dead reckoning and everyone should be OK, especially in FOG.
 

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Well I've had the 72, and now the 78SC with charts. I find the 78 a much more useful device. Of course the small screen is harder to work with than a full size chartplotter, you find yourself zooming in and out a lot. Still, it's a great backup to the plotter. Sometimes when I'm not at the helm and can't see the plotter I'll sit with the 78 and keep an eye on the course and speed.

If it's $150 for a 72 or $250 for the 78SC it's a bit of a no-brainer as far as I can see.

$100 extra for G2 charts, a 3-axis compass, barometric altimeter, tide tables & colour display? Back when it was $150 or $500 (when the 78SC came out), I can see the choice being harder.
 

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Bombay Explorer 44
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Note that it is possible to transfer lists of waypoints such as the ones from Chris Doyles guides into the Garmins using a utility like GPSU and a cable to connect it to a laptop.
 

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That reminds me, I use the 78 when I want to view my track. I take it home, download the track into the PC, then import it into Open CPN. Easy.
 

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None of them are terribly user friendly, but Garmin doesn't really have much competition. you could also try your iPhone(there's probalby at APP for that).
Eric-If you possess an iPhone, there actually is as app called iNavX that has worked failry well for me. Costs about 50 bucks to purchase.
 

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Since the sinking of the boat off Hawaii that was using an iPad for navigation (locked up at a crucial moment with demands to log into the cloud and iTunes), I'm surprised anyone would dream of using an iDevice for navigation. They might be really cool toys, but that's all they are - toys.

Now and then my iPad gets royally screwed up and I have to reset it, and re-download all my apps from the cloud. How are you going to do that at sea? Have you got the NavX app on a USB stick? Oh sorry, I forgot, the iPad has no USB port anyway. Don't get me wrong, it's a great toy, I love it. But to depend on it, no chance - anymore than I'd depend on a toy Fisher Price First Sailboat.

A few more points :

The iPad and iPhone aren't waterproof.
They don't float.
The screens aren't daylight viewable.
Touch screens don't work well when they are wet.
 
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