Today, thanks to modern advancements such as GPS, people across any body of water can determine their exact location and safely travel towards their destination. In this article, we’ll guide you on how to pick the right GPS that suits your needs, and which of the best boating GPS devices to choose from in 2021.
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What is a Marine GPS?
Generally speaking, a marine GPS is a navigation tool that can determine your exact location and give you your bearings. Aside from this basic function, several types of marine GPS devices function as emergency radios, fish finders, chart plotters, and more. These devices are extremely helpful if you are boating on a large body of water where it’s very easy to get lost.
What Should I Look For In A Marine/Boating GPS?
Here are some factors to consider before purchasing your Boat GPS.
Maps and Charts
This is the first and most basic thing you should consider when choosing the best bating GPS on the market. Just like in choosing your RV GPS, you should pay attention to the maps and charts that are loaded into the GPS device. Ensure the map bodies of water you will be traveling to are included on the device. You wll also want to chose a GPS that allows you to add maps and has enough memory or a micro SD slot.
If you’re using your boat GPS for watercraft such as kayaks, canoes, or jet skis, it’s ideal to get a smaller GPS that you can easily transport and store in smaller spaces. For larger boats or watercraft or longer navigation trips, you may wish to choose a heavy-duty device that you can directly mount onto your boat.
The screen size and resolution are important because no matter how accurate your boating GPS is if you can’t see it properly then what’s the point? Make sure that the GPS you choose is clear enough for you to see in direct sunlight as well as while wearing polarized sunglasses.
Choose a marine GPS device with a high-sensitivity GPS receiver that can connect to multiple satellites so you’ll receive fast, accurate, and reliable information no matter where you are located.
Not all boating GPS devices are built with waterproof materials, however, choosing a device that is waterproof could be to your advantage. Even if you’re traveling on calm waters it is best to get a boating GPS that is durable to withstand different weather conditions and won’t be damaged with a single splash of the water.
Boating GPS Terms You should Know About
To help you better understand some of the tchnical jargon around GPS systems, here are a few definitions.
- GPS- or Global positioning system is developed to allow accurate determination of geographical locations by military and civil users.
- Chartplotter- This is a device that Integrates GPS satellite navigation with charts of the water and the coastline, allowing you to accurately place yourself on the map and track your speed and direction.
- Fishfinder- or Sounder is a device used to locate fish underwater by detecting reflected pulses of sound energy.
- Sonar- Is a technology that uses sound waves to sense the location of objects in bodies of water.
- CHIRP- stands for Compressed High-Intensity Radar Pulse. CHIRP sonar transmits a longer pulse than traditional sonar providing better bottom tracking with higher speeds even on deeper depths.
- Transducer- is considered as the core of any fishfinder system. It sends out sound waves and in turn receives the echoes, so the fishfinder can interpret what is below the surface of the water.
- NMEA- or National Marine Electronics Association is an industry association that made the NMEA 200o which in simpler terms is an electronic language that your marine electronic devices use to connect and communicate with each other.
- Waypoints- It is a specific spot or points of reference used in location and marine navigation. You can save multiple waypoints on your GPS devices to help you record the location of a channel, a shoal, or a fishing hot spot.
What Are The Best Boating GPS?
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