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All about Marine GPS Chartplotters

Jul 15, 2008
A marine GPS chartplotter is far different than the GPS (global positioning satellite) navigation systems that you often find on the dashboards of sport utility vehicles piloted by soccer moms across the country. This is because marine GPS chartplotters need way more knowledge above and beyond what is required of land navigation. From wrecks and rocks to shallow water and fog, marine GPS chartplotters need to have all of this information on hand for those operating a marine vessel.

Although boaters who do not frequently travel into deep waters may think that they do not need a marine GPS chartplotter system, they are actually the ones who could potentially benefit the most from such devices. This is because the majority of boating hazards are actually fairly close to land, and knowing where the bad stuff that they need to avoid could be of great help. As a result, just about all of the recreational boaters should have a marine GPS chartplotter, as it would certainly get put to good use.

As with any GPS system, marine GPS chartplotters need to have a compass and charts in its internal memory, as well as other information in case there is a failure in the equipment somewhere. For activities on the water, there are three basic choices: a handheld GPS device, a marine GPS chartplotter and a computer connected to GPS.

Marine GPS chartplotters are far superior to the handheld devices, because they display the GPS information laid over the nautical charts, which make it easy to read. While the marine GPS chartplotters should not totally replace regular paper charts, they can definitely be the primary navigation tools for boaters of all kinds. Another advantage that marine GPS chartplotters have over their handheld counterparts is that the screens are almost always larger and easier to read. Additionally, they have more buttons and an increased number of options.

Usually, marine GPS chartplotters need to be mounted onto a fixed surface. Because marine GPS chartplotters also have external antennas, placement near a window or outside surface is not an issue, which can prevent a lot of mounting problems and issues. Although marine GPS chartplotters have decreased in price over the last several years, they still cost a few hundred dollars to buy. You should expect to pay a bit more for a color screen, but the cost is almost always worth being able to easily discern important features.
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