SailNet Community banner
1 - 20 of 64 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
While cruising for extended periods how often is your chartplotter powered up? Do you leave it on all of the time or do you turn it on to check your position and then turn it back off?
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
19,485 Posts
If it's wired to the house system it's on any time we're underway.. Back when we had a handheld, we'd sometimes spot-check it to preserve batteries.

Truth is, most of our navigation here is piloting visually amongst islands and channels and really the plotter is rarely 'necessary'.. but it's nice to have, and I find the record of progress made/distance remaining useful and more informative than 'I think that island looks closer now'.

With their recent advances like tidal predictions and current info they are more helpful still.


But in the end, as many say, ultimately rely on the 'mark I eyeball'. Goes without saying, too, that proper paper charts are on board as well.
 

·
Learning the HARD way...
Joined
·
7,667 Posts
Mine is a portable Garmin GPSMAP 478. It is on whenever I am under way - provided that I remember to bring it with me to the boat:eek:. Like Faster, I use it to show my SOG, review where I went, and where I found that uncharted rock...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
181 Posts
While cruising for extended periods how often is your chartplotter powered up? Do you leave it on all of the time or do you turn it on to check your position and then turn it back off?
I leave it on all the time. Mine is integrated to AIS and Sirius weather with weather alerts so there's a constant stream of chatter and warnings popping up. Extended periods for our cruising in the Great Lakes mean segments of 12 to 48 hours, not more than a couple days. Might be different if the rhumb line was 6 days.

As a Raymarine product, it has the curious feature of sometimes rebooting itself at arbitrary times, on average about once every 36 hours. After returning to Raymarine several times and being replaced once, I've resigned myself to acknowledging this as an inescapable attribute of the product.

GTJ
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,557 Posts
On most all the time. It is my second source for depth(sonar) and also has AIS and radar. I frequently scan for AIS sigs and that the spot sounding agree with my depth instruments. That being said, I also always have a chart book next to me.

But we mainly rely on the upgraded MKII eyeballS.
 

·
Master Mariner
Joined
·
9,225 Posts
Ours goes on before the anchor is pulled and off about an hour after the anchor is set, to check for any dragging. If the wind is above 25 or 30 knots, or we are unsure of the anchor, it goes on, with the anchor drag alarm set. We have a second one in the aft cabin which also doubles to monitor the boat and the helmsman, and an anchor alarm (or proximity alarm with the networked radar under way) while sleeping.
It not only supplies a very accurate chart (at least for everywhere we've been), it supplies speed, X-track error, course made good and several other things I like to know while sailing and especially in areas where the currents are irregular. Why in the world would anyone turn such a handy piece of expensive equipment off, while underway?
 
  • Like
Reactions: bljones

·
Registered
Joined
·
623 Posts
In the past 2 years I've gone from "never on" to "on occasionally to double check my position", to "on all the time". They are very tempting devices aren't they?

I prefer to not rely on them but ease and accuracy is remarkable. I intend to be back in the "on occasionally" camp this season.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,111 Posts
Ours goes on before the anchor is pulled and off about an hour after the anchor is set, to check for any dragging. If the wind is above 25 or 30 knots, or we are unsure of the anchor, it goes on, with the anchor drag alarm set. We have a second one in the aft cabin which also doubles to monitor the boat and the helmsman, and an anchor alarm (or proximity alarm with the networked radar under way) while sleeping.
It not only supplies a very accurate chart (at least for everywhere we've been), it supplies speed, X-track error, course made good and several other things I like to know while sailing and especially in areas where the currents are irregular. Why in the world would anyone turn such a handy piece of expensive equipment off, while underway?
Well, to conserve power, perhaps? :)

As usual, the answer for me is "It depends"... Primarily upon where I happen to be sailing at the moment, and of course whether I'm under sail, or under power...

I have 2 plotters on board, a smaller Simrad below, and a larger plotter/radar in the cockpit. The latter consumes a fair bit of power when running, so I'll usually only run it if I feel I really need it, when under sail...

The smaller one stays on most of the time underway. It is an older model, and is pretty slow to start up and acquire a fix, so whenever I'm anchored in a tricky spot, if there's any possibility I might have to bug out in a jiffy or in the middle of the night, it will stay on...

But on any passage of any real length, unless I need to be running radar, I'll try to use this stuff as little as possible... One advantage for me of having AIS integrated to the VHF, I don't have to be running a more power-hungry plotter to enjoy the benefits of AIS...
 

·
Super Fuzzy Moderator
Joined
·
17,136 Posts
We have two. One at nav station one in cockpit. Cockpit only ever gets turned on when outside harbour. If I cannot sail around Sydney Harbour without a bloody plotter then its time for me to give it away.

On passage we'll have both running at night, cockpit only during the day.

If anchored in an uncomfortable spot then we'll leave one running overnight for anchor alarm.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
8,353 Posts
My AIS is on all the time.

The plotter, one of three, will be on in congested waters with the AIS integrated.
Off shore on passage the plotter is off unless I am asleep (to allow the AIS alarm). Before AIS the plotter was on a couple of times per day, or when my ex was onboard at the end of each watch to not position.

I dont use paper charts as I think they are obsolete, unsafe and will be outlawed within some period of years.

Yes, my eyesight still works, I dont need irrelevant junk to see.



Mark
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
I keep it on all the time while sailing. Keeps a daily and running record of how fast, how far, and I find it's useful in conjunction with the depth finder as we get into the shallows. At anchor, it's on all night with this alarm.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
125 Posts
I used mine just yesterday. As I left the last green mark exiting Dinner Key on Biscayne Bay to starboard, my chart plotter said I was leaving it to port. Go figure.

My reservation with plotters is that one can believe that one is really where the plotter says you are relative to the hard things that will break your boat, and you too and maybe you aren't there.

The relative inaccuracy of the process of using my GPS and looking at where I think I am on a paper chart, has me more vigilant and therefore, in my judgement, safer.
 

·
Master Mariner
Joined
·
9,225 Posts
Well, to conserve power, perhaps? :)
If you haven't the power to run your chartplotter with all the handy dandy features on it, that aren't just for show by the way, for the duration of your voyage, perhaps your power situation should be looked at. With the inexpensive windgens and solar systems on the market today, "conserve(ing) power" for your chartplotter should not be a major concern. Running lights now eat a tiny bit of electricity compared to a few years ago, probably saving what a modern chartplotter uses.
Little changes in speed, course and/or VMG which can't be seen without the constant use of the equipment, can alert the navigator to a developing situation, long before it becomes critical. I can see a ship when it gets close enough to be a danger, but a set beginning to push me into a rocky shore, perhaps not quite as easily, especially at night. No thanks, I'll take the chartplotter over the AIS.
 
  • Like
Reactions: tsell

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,689 Posts
I fire it up when I leave the dock, and turn it off when I return to the dock. I have the Lowrance HDS7, which draws very little power, it's also my depth finder, and in a few months, it will also be my radar screen as well. It's my anchor alarm, speedometer, plotter, and soon will also be connected to the engine instrumentation. I've had GPS/ploters since they first became available, always used Lowrance, and never had a failure. I think the technology has advanced so much in the past decade that if it works right out of the box, the only way you'll be able to kill the machine is with a shotgun.

I still have a chart table filled with paper charts and book shelf with loads of chart books. They have not been used in more than a decade. Maybe one day they'll become valuable antiques and I can sell them for big bucks. ;)

Gary :cool:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
101 Posts
Ours is on all the time. I have a small Lawrence HDS5. Very very little power draw. I think it's "fun" to track the speed and see any differences as I adjust sail trim, course, "rail meat" position, etc. I think it helps me learn my boat better.

Even at anchor it's on too. 1) to keep an eye out for dragging, and 2) the sonar display to watch for big fish hanging out in the shade below . . . that just "might" become dinner for us that very night!!!!

~markb
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,111 Posts
If you haven't the power to run your chartplotter with all the handy dandy features on it, that aren't just for show by the way, for the duration of your voyage, perhaps your power situation should be looked at. With the inexpensive windgens and solar systems on the market today, "conserve(ing) power" for your chartplotter should not be a major concern. Running lights now eat a tiny bit of electricity compared to a few years ago, probably saving what a modern chartplotter uses.
Little changes in speed, course and/or VMG which can't be seen without the constant use of the equipment, can alert the navigator to a developing situation, long before it becomes critical. I can see a ship when it gets close enough to be a danger, but a set beginning to push me into a rocky shore, perhaps not quite as easily, especially at night. No thanks, I'll take the chartplotter over the AIS.
Perhaps I wasn't clear... I have 2 Simrad plotters on my boat, and as I wrote: "The smaller one stays on most of the time underway."

My power situation is adequate, a larger house bank than one would find on most 30-footers, and the capability of making amps under sail from either solar, or a towed water generator (I only use a wind generator at anchor) So, I suppose it's more of a case of old habits dying hard, I've just always made a practice of trying to conserve stuff like power and water when under sail because, well, you never know ... :)

Naturally, if I'm sailing along the coast of Maine, for instance, the larger plotter in the cockpit will likely be running... But, off soundings or away from the coast, I simply don't see the need to have TWO plotters running simultaneously (the larger one gets its fix from the smaller one at the nav station)... Plus, at night, I prefer to keep the cockpit as dark as possible, so unless I need to be checking the radar, I'd rather have the one above deck blacked out...

Once one gets away from the coast, or clear of any off-lying dangers, most of those "handy dandy" features of most plotters become pretty useless, they're not telling me much of anything that my little old Garmin 48 handheld GPS cannot. If I'm making the trip from, say, the Bahamas up to Beaufort, once off the bank and clear of any hazards, the use of a plotter becomes pretty superfluous, and I'll just mark my progress for the next few days on paper, instead...

Hopelessly old fashioned, I know... :) But it works for me, still gives me a better feel for my progress, and a sense of where I am, and what my strategy should be...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25,123 Posts
Mine come on prior to castoff and stay on, with the rarest of exception. It's a pre-launch checklist thing to know your stuff works before you need it.

For coastal cruising, power consumption is virtually a non-issue for us. For longer passages, one really should have sufficient capability to keep one running.

Of course, one should also be able to live without it. Electronics are not bulletproof, so redundancy and low tech backups are mandatory.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,554 Posts
Both my handheld and my PC-based chartplotter stay on all the time when underway. The handheld is a backup always at the ready, and more importantly it logs my position at all times. I tack back and forth in a river, so I use it to determine how close I go to shore before I come about (it's more proactive than a depth finder, which I also use). Both are powered by internal batteries with 6-10 hours, and I have 12V right at the helm for longer trips.

Occasionally I look up. :laugher
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,833 Posts
Unless I am tied up in a slip, my chartplotters are on 24/7. At anchor, just being able to look at the bread crumb trail to see how the boat is swing at anchor is nice. At night, I use it as my anchor alarm (along with a hand held GPS in my bunk).

Mine (I have two mounted side by side), don't use enough juice, especially with my solar panels, to make it work cutting them off.
 
1 - 20 of 64 Posts
Top