Incredibly useful boat GPS systems
Boat GPS and chartplotter systems are vital pieces of marine equipment for sailors of all sizes of vessel. With the sheer choice of equipment available, choosing the right system can be bewildering for people new to boating. There are chartplotters, sonar systems, transducers and more. Some systems are stand alone while others are modular based and rely on an ecosystem of connected sensors and antennas.
As an offshore sailor, you are more often than not likely to find yourself boating in remote locations without any internet access. This means that you should use a modular system which connects to the various sensors and antenna on the boat. You should also think about getting a system with built-in backup should one of the primary systems fail. Raymarine are the best known offshore cruising equipment manufacturer.
Garmin also builds reliable offshore systems. A thru-hull transducer is also a must for offshore boating. These are more reliable than shoot-thru or transom mounted transducers and are less likely to come loose in a rough sea.
If you intend to sail off the coast of Australia you should look for a plotter that includes ley lines and tacking angles, along with heading and course-over-ground lines and true wind data. Units which contain oceanography from C-Map should contain this information.
Fishermen are not short of options when it comes to GPS and sonar devices. Garmin and Navico are the marine market leaders but Lowrance also makes an excellent range of cost-effective fishfinders for inshore use. More advanced units provide 3D coverage of the ocean floor but require an extensive array of supporting equipment to work properly. You can also get autopilot features, such as the Humminbird Omni system, which allows you to set waypoints on the plotter for the boat to follow automatically.