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The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Marine GPS

The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Marine GPS

What could be worse than being lost at sea?

Being lost at sea with no way to course correct.

That's where we come in.

We've got lots of marine GPS systems for you, and we can help you make the right selection.

From nautical newbies to big-time boaters, there's a right way and a wrong way to choose the best in marine navigation.

Select Your Screen

First and foremost, you have to feel comfortable using your boat GPS.

If you're used to tablets and smartphones, a touchscreen handheld marine GPS will probably be a good pick for you.

Make sure you pick one that's sturdy, and can withstand wet hands and sea salt. The MarCum RT-9 Touchscreen GPS Tablet is one of our favorites, but there are many different types and styles to choose from.

If you aren't the tablet type, try something simple from a trusted brand, like the Garmin GPSMAP 64st Handheld GPS. These are easily carried in one hand, or stored in utility belts and angler bags. Some offer topographic maps and water charts.

Pro Tip: Make sure to select the right mounting material if you want your boat GPS to be hands-free.

Chart Plotter vs. Trak Plotter Marine GPS

Not all GPS marine navigation systems are created equal.

And we know anglers and boaters have specific needs when it comes to finding your way in the water.

Chart plotter systems are more specific than typical satellite systems, and they will show you where you are on any number of charts. There are several industry standards, such as U.S. BlueChart g2 charts and LakeVu.

If you're entering a regatta any time soon -- you're going to want a marine GPS with a chart plotter.

Many of the best handheld GPS for boating incorporate fishfinding software into their chart plotters. Chart plotters are typically easy to use, and will give you the peace of mind of knowing your place on a map.

Trak plotters, on the other hand, aren't map dependent. A boat GPS trak plotter shows the course you've taken, and can orient you from your starting point.

As a shortcut for selecting your boat GPS, remember:

  • Chart plotters show you your absolute location.
  • Trak plotters show you your relative location.

Who needs WiFi?

Last but not least, you'll need to determine whether your marine GPS requires on-board wireless internet.

High-gain antennae and satellite connections make it possible for you to enjoy plugged-in boating. But your GPS marine navigation system may not require advanced technologies.

If you want to navigate and have the juice to monitor your progress from land, on-board wifi is your best best.

Comparing styles, prices, brands, and capabilities before choosing your handheld marine GPS is important -- but it's equally necessary to know what your boat needs before you even install your transom mount.

We've got the best handheld GPS for boating no matter what your preferences and needs. And don't forget to check out our rebate page -- we're committed to helping you find even better deals on our navigation systems!

15th Nov 2018

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