GPS is a basic accessory on board.
In addition to being useful for secure navigation, GPS can combine and integrate functions of other devices… even your phone calls and e-mails!
There are several options. Touch screens, different maps, size and many other features. Let’s see which GPS suits you the best according to your needs.
First of all, it is interesting to know that there are portable GPS and integrated GPS. The choice is easy, depending on the use and the type of boat.
Regarding the use, adopting the GPS for other activities, such as hiking, a portable GPS is an option.
Regarding the type of boat, if you are sailing with a RIB or a medium size boat, you can also opt for a portable GPS. As you know, portable GPS can have removable support!
Despite this, integrated GPS is usually the best option. It adapts perfectly to the dashboard and, opting for a complete accessory (multifunctional model, large screen, etc.), you will fully enjoy a pleasant navigation.
One of the advantages of the portable GPS -> you can keep it in the cabin!
One of the advantages of the integrated GPS -> you will not have to worry about battery life anymore!
The size of the GPS is naturally related to the type of boat and the navigation. As we have said, if you are sailing with a semi-rigid for coastal navigation, a basic portable and small GPS model is adequate. On the other hand, if you are sailing with a large boat for long voyages offshore, there is no doubt. A complete GPS is indispensable.
Do you fish? Or do you dive? Or do you sail with a RIB and you like going through shallow areas? Or, quite simply, do you always or very often navigate with the autopilot?
Some time ago, the installation of different gadgets was conceivable. GPS on one side, autopilot on the other, for example. Nowadays, we can find high quality multifunctional GPS.
We are talking about touch screen, definition and function.
Now, more than 80% of GPS devices have a touch screen. Some disadvantages persist such as the use when the screen is small or when navigation conditions are bad. To remedy this, a GPS also equipped with buttons is a good solution. On the other side, problems related to water or moisture are solved.
The definition of the screen is also important. The better the definition is, the more you will appreciate the details of the mapping.
Finally, it’s a basic to choose at least an antireflective screen, readable in daylight.
A GPS without maps is like a yacht without engine.
The question is whether you opt for a GPS with its own maps or compatible maps.
A GPS with its own map can only read maps developed by the same brand. Further, a GPS with compatible maps can read them from different brands.
One of the advantages of GPS with its own maps -> perfect compatibility between GPS and mapping, optimization of the use and details.
One of the advantages of GPS with compatible maps -> you are free to use any brand.
Remember that for a good mapping, it is important to have enough storage capacity. Especially if you want to save routes.
Essentially, there are two types of connections: those with cable and wireless ones.
About cable connections, such as NMEA, Ethernet, and USB, they are needed to update, load new routes, and most importantly create a network between the GPS and all other devices.
About wireless connections, such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, you can make updates, receive data such as weather forecasts, and connect your mobile phone or tablet to listen to music while sailing…
Two more things
The range of budget is wide. You can find simple and effective GPS for € 100.00 as you can find the pearl of technology for just over € 1,000.00.
To conclude, mobile apps or tablets can also be a good option.
Currently, this alternative has several disadvantages. First, some applications only work with an Internet connection; which can become complicated once away from the coast. Secondly, not all cell phones and tablets are designed to withstand water. Third, the GPS consumes a lot of battery, so you will need more regularly a power source. Fourth, this apps are not as accurate as GPS maps.