What are the best navigation systems for a small boat? Are they really necessary? Whether you are an entry level boater or a seasoned pro, you do not know what lies just beneath the surface of the water!!! Unless you know the areas that you boat in intimately, you put yourself and your boat at risk with every departure.
This might sound like an extreme statement, but just price out what it will cost to repair a prop or better yet a lower unit. Water depths can be very deceiving, since the farther out from shore you are, doesn’t necessarily mean that you have deep water. If you are in an unfamiliar area, the best practice would be to consult a chart or speak with a local resident to find out what to watch out for. Every boating area is different and requires different precautions so you don’t end up having a bad experience.
Consider this, for the inexperienced boater, you are flying along and run into a sandbar. The boat stops suddenly and the people don’t. Or, you are not aware of the fact that there is an outcropping of rock and are just cruising at a slow to moderate speed. Here are two totally different scenarios that happen frequently. The first would have been avoided with a depth finder and the second a GPS. These marine navigation systems do not require a lot of bells and whistles, but they certainly perform the task at hand.
The following are a group of marine navigation devices that are basic units, perform the necessary functions and are the most cost effective ways of telling water depth and in most cases finding fish while you are at it.
Here are thee depth finders that are as cost effective as you can find. They are rather equal in performance and after viewing the specs and deciding on the type of display, you can determine which one is best for you.
Also in this group of marine navigation systems you will find the lowest cost VHF radio that will get the job done.
My personal choice within this group is the last device. It not only provides you with dual beam sonar with temperature and a GPS/Chartplotter but is also upgradable to display Navionics charts which are among the best in the industry. All this functionality at a cost of less than $280 makes it a very affordable alternative to buying individual units.
I have chosen to recommend these for the entry level boater since they represent the lowest additional cost to get a marine navigation system that will keep you out of trouble on the waters. Choices differ but this is a good starting point. Below is a carousel of these products showing available pricing and bringing the store to you.
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