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Author Topic:   GPS Recommendations
prm1177 posted 01-19-2003 02:24 PM ET (US)   Profile for prm1177   Send Email to prm1177  
I'm going to be getting back into Whaler ownership shortly (either a new Montauk 170 or a used Outrage 17), and it's been recommended that I get a GPS unit for S.F. Bay. Manufacturers seem to be pretty competitive, but the diplay qualities in sunlight appear to vary a lot.

Any of you old or young salts have a recommendation? I'd like something under $1000 if that's possible. B&W is OK as long as it's readable in a variety of conditions.

hanksaper posted 01-19-2003 03:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for hanksaper  Send Email to hanksaper     
Garmin 152 is compact and VERY user friendly.
Company is very helpfull if you have any questions-go to garmin website and get details on any of there electronics including a look at owners manual.
JBCornwell posted 01-19-2003 04:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for JBCornwell  Send Email to JBCornwell     
Howdy, PRM.

The question is, "Which model Garmin GPS should I buy?".

While the hardware appears competitive, Garmin's Mapsource firmware, specifically Bluecharts, are a decider.

Red sky at night. . .

FISHNFF posted 01-19-2003 05:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for FISHNFF  Send Email to FISHNFF     
I have the Garmin 162 with internal antennae on my 17 and love it. The BlueChart really makes it! Have several buddies with same unit. Only problem was the threaded insert came loose from unit housing from pounding. West Marine replaced unit.


OutrageMan posted 01-19-2003 06:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for OutrageMan  Send Email to OutrageMan     
I have to give a dissenting opinion here. While Garmin does make a good product, I do not use one. On both my personal boat, and on the Water Fire and Rescue boat I pilot we use units that use C-Map NT maps. As a matter of fact, all water rescue units in my area (NW Lake Michigan and Green Bay) use C-MAP. There are very simple reasons for this.

1) The charts are easier to change out rather than having to hook up to a laptop and download charts. Just slip in a new chip.

2) The detail level is much greater than Bluecharts.

3) C-MAP is to proprietary. More brands operate with C-MAP.

As far as which unitl to purchase, I personally use a Standard Horizon CP 150. Cost is around $500, and the size is great for a Montauk. Visibility is VERY GOOD in direct sunlight. The unit is very easy to operate and is very intuitive.

Just wanted to show you the other options out there.


OutrageMan posted 01-19-2003 06:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for OutrageMan  Send Email to OutrageMan     
Edit on item #3

C-MAP is NOT proprietary. Many different brands operate with C-MAP.

Sorry about that.


aubv posted 01-19-2003 08:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for aubv  Send Email to aubv     

We have a Garmin 2006c and while it is not your price range, the 2006w/a Bluechart chip is.

The visibility for the 2006c is terrific both night and day, very easy to adjust the brightness. The color units are worth the money if you can afford one. Built in numeric key pad is a great feature, as is the cursor function. The built in tide charts make catching tide changes very easy, a couple of key strokes and the closest tide station, to the boat, is displayed.

The Blue Chart chips have the same detail as a nautical paper chart plus includes extra information about marinas, etc.

Many of the Garmin units accept chip(s) or can use the down load from a CD, smaller units can only use CD download.

Over all ease of use and the ability to customize the displayed screen is also something to consider. It is very nice to not have to toggle from screen to screen.

The larger the screen the better.

The 232, 182c and 176c are in your price range, all are very nice units, but lack the numeric key pad.

We where considering buying the 232c until we saw the 2006c. Of course it depends on space also.

where2 posted 01-19-2003 08:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
I love my Standard Horizon B&W CP150. The only thing better IMHO would be a CP150C (Color), but I had to draw the line somewhere considering I've got a 15' Whaler which I mainly use for waterskiing!

Around the surveying office I work in, there's a flock of differnt Garmin products: 45xl, GPSII, GPS III, 162, 168, 176C, GPSMAP76, etc. Each has a niche for which it was designed. Uploading Garmin maps is a hassle compared to dropping in a C-MapNT card.

Whatever you get, check out Their service is first rate, and their prices are better than most.

I just noticed gpsdiscount carries Standard Horizon stuff!

John from Madison CT posted 01-19-2003 08:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for John from Madison CT  Send Email to John from Madison CT     
I know many a boat owner with CMap using GPS units.

Everytime they're on my boat with my Garmin 182 they say "WOW, wish I got one of those, it blows by CMAP away".

Really, no kidding. Get a GPS using Bluechart. If you can afford it, the 182 is an amazing unit. I have the chip that is preprogrammed and it is worth every penny.

John from Madison, CT

Hipplewm posted 01-19-2003 09:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hipplewm  Send Email to Hipplewm     
Not very many Garmin's left don't use chips. Anything $400 and up use chips. get a GARMIN, customer support is 2nd to no one and they are the most user friendly. The 2006 is a NICE piece, it will be on my next boat unless I can talk the other half into a 2010 :) but I will probably get a 2006c instead of a 2010. the 2010c is just a little too far out there.
triblet posted 01-20-2003 12:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
There are a fair number of Garmins that take
replaceable chips, so it's easy to swap
charts. So, OutrageMan, your #1 is a red
herring. Oh, and Garmin has some really
humongous chips (up to 128M, I think), so who
needs to swap chips?

And I'd suggest folks check out
#2 (detail level) for themselves on their
area. Here in NorCal, the BlueCharts look
like the NOAA charts. I can't imageine more

And there are perhaps more Garmins that work
with BlueCharts than there are units that
work with C-map. So #3 is perhaps a red

But even the 162 (with 2.5 or 3M of chart
memory) holds all the charts I'd ever want.
Monterey, SF Bay, the delta, large scale
all the way to San Diego, and a couple of lakes.

BTW, can you get C-map of obscure lakes?
You can get Topo maps for the Garmins, and
they cover everything, even the little
quarter acre pond three blocks from my house.

The BlueCharts for California and Baja
from just south of the Oregon border to way
south of Cabo San Lucas are 6.93M.


doobee posted 01-20-2003 08:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for doobee  Send Email to doobee     
The best and easiest GPS to buy in your price range is the Garmin 182C. ($999) You can buy a chip with the information on it or you can buy blank chips and download it yourself. Fully loaded chips cost @ $160 and cover an area as large as Portland, ME to Montauk, NY.

Garmin used to used chips based on Navionics technology which had poor detail when compared with CMAP. However the new Blue Chips are very high detail, and almost impossible to distinguish from CMAP.

If you want to use CMAP technology, get a GPS chart plotter from Standard Horizon. They have two color models in that range that are relatively simple to operate.

With either brand, color is the way to go. The technology has advanced to the point where it is now easier to read the color screens in direct sunlight. It's worth the extra money.

doobee posted 01-20-2003 08:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for doobee  Send Email to doobee     
In regard to question of using CMAP on obscure lakes. CMAP can make a chip out of any chart. If they haven't made a chip for your area, they can make a custom chip for you if you supply the chart.
triblet posted 01-20-2003 10:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
How much does C-map charge to make a custom
chip? With Garmin, you get the topo sheets
for the whole US for $100. That's a lot of
obscure lakes.


Jerry Townsend posted 01-20-2003 11:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
I researched the Garmin and Standard Horizon units last year and elected to buy the Standard Horizon 160 because of: 1) improved resolution, 2) better warranty and then a flat rate service charge 3) uses the C-map system (available for all coastal waters, every state and Canada), 4) capable of using two charts, 5) multiple user programmed and front panel selectable system settings and 6)display readable in any light conditions.

At that time,I wanted coverage for the Pacafic Northwest Coastal waters, west coast of Canada and the state of Idaho, however the BlueCharts were only available for those states east of Kansas (as I recall), California and the west coast. I talked with the manufacturer/supplier of the BlueCharts and learned that their covering the remaining states was not scheduled and no one was working on it at the time. Then, those desiring BlueCharts in states not covered, such as myself in Idaho, were out of luck for the foreseeable future. This went a long way to forming my decision.

Now, having said that, I still haven't bought the 160 yet - as I am thinking of the 170C - but the basic comparison still holds. That purchase will be made this spring - hoping that those of us in the intermountain area have enough water to float more than a canoe. ------ Jerry/Idaho

gss036 posted 01-20-2003 01:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for gss036  Send Email to gss036     
I have had a Garmin 176C w/bluewater chart for a little over a year now and love it. I went to the 176 because it can be used as a portable also, so you can put in 4 AA batteries and take it with you on a friends boat. I stay in the San Juans and Canadian Gulf Islands so I just have the Seattle chip. It is very detailed and Garmin just updated a lot of thier BW chips last June.
I had some problems and returned it to Garmin and they did a 2 day turn a round. Said, I had corrupted software. The 176 works on WAAS, so in Calif. you should get good reception. There are only 2 sats for the WAAS system and I have trouble getting the WAAS most of the time, as it line of sight. I still use my Loran also, it is still more accurate.
where2 posted 01-20-2003 01:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
Garmin's TOPO maps are TOPO maps, not to be confused with a NOAA chart that actually tells you the depth. I'm not too sure I'd be using a 1:100,000 topographic map for vessel navigation, that's what GARMIN says they used to make their TOPO map. The paper version of the USGS map Garmin digitized and dropped onto that TOPO CD had a resolution of 1" = 1.6 miles! If the plotted feature is plotted within typical mapping accuracy standards (less than 1/30th of an inch from its true position), then the shoreline off a 1:100,000 topo map is defined to plus or minus 300 feet from it's actual position.

Plotting yourself using GPS+WASS on top of a 1:100,000 map does not make the map any more accurate, even if you can zoom way in. The features on the map are still only plotted to plus or minus 300 feet from their "true" position.

If you compare the accuracies on the BlueChart maps for inlets, they run roughly 1:30,000 so 1"=0.5 miles. A 1/30th of an inch error at that scale is plus or minus 80 feet.

Any map can be a pretty picture, a useful map is an accurate picture plotted at the scale you need for the work you're doing.

reelescape1 posted 01-20-2003 02:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for reelescape1  Send Email to reelescape1     
I am very satisfied with my Garmin 182 grey w/bluechart. The best price I found is through VIT electronics online.
Jerry Townsend posted 01-20-2003 04:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
Where2 - that 1:100,000 TOPO map reference also caught my attention when considering the Garmin units and talking with those producing the BlueChart maps. But your experience and knowledge of the mapping accuracy (within 1/30th of an inch from the true position) is most informative - thanks. That resolution could be most significant if one were navigating when the visibility was nil. ----- Jerry/Idaho
TRAFFICLAWYER posted 01-20-2003 05:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for TRAFFICLAWYER    
Standard Horizon CP170, Color, c-map nt+,under $1k great support from standard and interfaces to the standard VHF to get and give position.
baltica posted 01-20-2003 09:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for baltica  Send Email to baltica     
last year I purchased a GArmin 168 sounder, which combines fish finder with GPS in a single unit. Works great, paid less than $500, so for a little more you ought to be able to get the larger model. The readability in sunlite is OK, but it helps to have some sunshading (T-top or bimini).
I also just bought the BlueChart CD, the quality of the charts is excellent (even w/ just B&W).

btw, customer support from Garmin has been excellent. Had some trouble this summer with the depth sounder functions, they fixed it promptly.

triblet posted 01-20-2003 10:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
USGS Topo maps come in scales down to 1:24000
(1" = 2000'). Garmin did their topo series
for the most part from the 1:63630 (1" = 1
mile) topos. I've found them to be quite
accurate on the GPS. I ran the 162 on the
ocean using topo sheets for about a year
because the Blue Charts weren't out yet. It's
a whole lot better than +/- 300'.

Note: I haven't said the C-maps are bad. I'd
just suggest people go compare.


fester posted 01-21-2003 12:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for fester  Send Email to fester     
I purchased a Garmin 162 when they first came out several years ago. I was generally pleased with the unit but had some problems with it and just wanted more. I had a lot of trouble with the connection where the power cord plugged into the unit. I would occasionally lose the signal and would have to wiggle the cord to get it back. I replaced the power cord twice and eventually got rid of the unit because the connection on the gps itself went bad. My problem may have been caused by the fact that I would unplug the unit and remove it from my boat every time I was done using the boat. I think the connecting and disconnecting was part of the problem. In addition to the connection, I thought the screen was a bit small. I never bought the blue chart in that I was told it was not as detailed as an actual chart. The good points about the 162 was it is cheap and the built in map is quite detailed for a built in map.

At the time I bought the 162, I also bought a Raytheon SL 70 radar which I have had no problems with. The radar is very ruggedly built and the power and antenae connections are very sturdy. So when I replaced the 162, I wanted a Raytheon unit and ended up with a Raychart 425 Chartplotter. I am much happier with the 425. The screen is quite large for the size of the unit and accepts the Navionics charts. The charts are great and very usable. The unit appears to be sturdily built and the screen is very clear in all light conditions. The unit is also easy to use. My only complaint is that the built in map is very general and does not show any offshore islands in my area. This is not really a concern for me in that I purchased the Navionics chart.

gss036 posted 01-21-2003 01:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for gss036  Send Email to gss036     
Where2, I was curious and just went to the Garmin site and checked the charts they use for the Bluewater charts, they are all NOOA charts and the scales vary from 1-100000 to 1-28000. I have the chip in my 176C and it shows the depths, etc very acturate and percise. Maybe the landbase charts are different than the water.
Being in the SanJuan Islands, I still use my Loran with the GPS as the loran will put my nose right up to a buoy if I had set there, not the GPS.
triblet posted 01-21-2003 10:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
gss036: Today's GPS, with SA off, and esp.
with WAAS on, will be more repeatable and WAY
more accurate than LORAN. With WAAS, accuracy
and repeatabilty are about 9'. LORAN accuracy
is in hundreds of feet, repeatability in the
tens of feet.

I have frequently dropped the anchor in the
same hole saveral times. There was this one
cabezon that started to give me dirty looks
when I swam down the anchor line. ;-)


MikeG posted 01-21-2003 01:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for MikeG  Send Email to MikeG     
I recently acquired a NAVMAN GPS unit. It is the 5500 color GPS that uses C-Map NT+. This is a little-known product from New Zealand but a friend of mine in the electronics industry recommended it to me. For the features and price, it is tough to beat. One of the accesories is a fuel metering system that displays through the unit's screen. I have not had a chance to use it on water yet since it hasn't been above freezing in a long time but everything I have seen looks good. At least worth checking out before you make a final decision. I think it normally retails around $700 and is easily as nice as the Garmin 182C.


BillD posted 01-21-2003 02:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for BillD  Send Email to BillD     
I have the Garmin 176c and love it. The main reasons are: Size, Built in antena (no need to wire anything else though you can), battery operated and portable, pr hard wired.

I bought the BlueChart that is permenantly on the card (rather than the down loadable version) because the chart covers so much area (from Canada to New York) if I thought I would use it in the car I would have gotten the down loadable one so I could buy the street maps as well.

This debale is almost as much fun as the 2 stroke 4 stroke debate.

ratherwhalering posted 01-21-2003 06:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for ratherwhalering  Send Email to ratherwhalering     
I purchased the Garmin 162i (internal antenna) a few months ago and really like it. The internal antenna works perfect with the Montauks open console. The Bluecharts are easy to download into the unit, and like Chuck, I have the entire coast, SF bay, and Delta at my fingertips, with room to spare. The screen is small, but I knew this going into the deal. The bluecharts have excellent detail, and the screen is easy to read in direct sunlight. To be truthful, I would like to have color as an extra goodie, but it isn't really necessary for what I use the unit for. I think Garmin has done a great job with its Marine GPS units and maps, and would buy the unit again.
alvispollard posted 01-23-2003 03:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for alvispollard  Send Email to alvispollard     
Magellan Meridian Marine is you want a great handheld for $240 (877harmony). I use it in my vehicle to pass the time when traveling. All maped roads are in memory from factory. Great on the water. WAAS. Glass suction keeps it in handy position in boat and car.
reelescape1 posted 01-23-2003 06:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for reelescape1  Send Email to reelescape1     
fester....and all...I remove my Garmin 182 also....I have found that if I coat the end of the power cord once or twice a season with white grease it prevents the corrosion problem you talked about.
triblet posted 01-24-2003 08:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
One message I'm getting here is that nobody
has a GPS they hate.


where2 posted 01-24-2003 08:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
No offense guys, but I wasn't saying the Bluecharts were not sufficient quality for navigation. I just suggested Garmin's TOPO maps were not designed for navigation. For my 1:100,000 comment, I reviewed Garmin's website where they said "U.S. TOPO features digital topographic maps for the U.S. that are comparable to the U.S. Geological Survey's 1:100,000 scale paper maps."

To come up with the 1:63,360 reply, Triblet obviously E-mailed Garmin, because most people have only ever seen the 1:24,000, and the 1:100,000 USGS sheets (Unless you're in Alaska where 1:24,000 were never compiled).

One intersting curiosity of ALL mapping GPS units is the lack of information regarding the original map scale of what ever map you are zoomed into. If I could hit a button somewhere and see "You're drifting around on a 1:40,000 scale map", you'd have an idea of the level of accuracy expected for things on the map.

BTW: It's nice to see someone finally purchased a Navman. Their looks (color), price, and C-MapNT have intrigued me for 2 years now. Yet, people don't seem to buy them and say "I bought a Navman" on this site.

mtbadfish posted 01-24-2003 11:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for mtbadfish  Send Email to mtbadfish     
I tried a new (to me) search on google that is specifically for shopping ( ) and found the Garmin 176c for $539 to my door from . I think this is good pricing and a hell of a product search. Just thought I'd mention it.
triblet posted 01-25-2003 12:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
My 1:63,360 comment was based on comparing the
available 1:63,360 maps to the those on the
TOPO disk. They match right up. They don't
match the available 1:100,000 maps at all.


Jerry Townsend posted 01-25-2003 11:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
The 1:100,000 scale is important to those of us wanting mapping capabilities on inland lakes in states not covered by Bluecharts. In those cases, one is forced to use the TOPO maps - and that is where the scaling caught my attention. Specifically, mapping is desired for some of the larger lakes where you can go from clear to fogged in in a matter of minutes and storms can roll in as quickly - water like lakes Coeur d'Alene or big and beautiful Pend Oreille (pronounced like Pond de ray) in northern Idaho. In those cases, resolution is a requisite and not just a nice feature and that is where the C-map performance comes in. As I mentioned previously, the Garmin higher resolution maps are not available for those states between California and Kansas (as I recall). ---- Jerry/Idaho
kglinz posted 01-25-2003 11:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for kglinz  Send Email to kglinz     

Have you tried Garmin "Fishing Hot Spots" for inland lakes. I am going to Lake Powell and can't find a chart CD, from anyone, of Lake Powell.
Kemp Lindsey/Boise

Jerry Townsend posted 01-25-2003 02:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
kglinz - We share the same problem. I talked with the "Fishing Hot Spots" president by phone and learned that it will be a long time before they produce their maps for states between California and Kansas. I had the feeling that the process is quite labor intensive whereas I thought that the conversion process would be quite fast. Idaho will be among the last charted because of the high number of lakes and rivers.

You and I have one solution that I am aware of - and that is the C-map system where chart/maps are available for every state. ----- Jerry/Idaho

prm1177 posted 01-26-2003 01:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for prm1177  Send Email to prm1177     
OK, here's another monkey wrench. I went to the N. Ca. Boat Show yesterday, and an electronics dealer (Johnson & Hicks) recommended a SiTex Nautilus iGPS (CMap NT+, color, WAAS, etc) for around $900.

Anyone heard of SiTex? The display looked great. To add to my confustion, I was strongly recommended to get a Furuno.

Any opinions on dead reckoning...

John W posted 01-27-2003 11:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for John W  Send Email to John W     
prm1177 (and also Mike G),

SiTex has been around a long time, since the 1970's I believe. At one time they were based here in Tampa, FL, and they may still be. They have always had a good reputation locally from people I've talked to over the years (I have no 1st hand experience, though).

It's all but cetain that SiTex's equipment is made for them by someone else, as is the case for a number of electronics companies. I don't know about the model you mentioned, but the SiTex large screen color LCD WAAS unit I saw in the Boater's World catalog the other day looks identical to the newest large screen Standard Horizon color model, which is made for Standard Horizon by "Navman" in New Zealand.

Navman has made all or most of Standard Horizon equipment for many years, and seems to have a very good reputation for reliability. If you can determine that the SiTex unit you're looking at is made by Navman, I would think it would be a good unit.

doobee posted 01-28-2003 09:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for doobee  Send Email to doobee     
All C-Map based machines have a certain similarity in the way they operate. However there are subtle differences in how their menus are set up and how they manage routes and waypoints.

Furuno is excellent, but stay away from the navionics based models.

I have not used the model in question, but my experience with Sitex is that they are harder to use. Sitex does offer some excellent RADAR and VHF radios.

My experience with all the different models suggests that Garmin is easiest and most intuitive to operate. Standard would be a close second.

prm1177 posted 01-29-2003 11:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for prm1177  Send Email to prm1177     
I want to thank everyone for their replies (verrry useful information). I've narrowed my choices down to a Garmin 182C and a Standard Horizon CP150C. Pundits say the SH has the lead in screen clarity in bright sunlight, the Garmin in ease of use. I will try to find someone who sells both and compare them.

Any recommendations on which C-Map to buy for the SF Bay area? Bay cruising mostly, with some ocean fishing if the salmon runs are good.

White Bear posted 01-29-2003 12:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for White Bear  Send Email to White Bear     
I've got to cast my vote for the Standard Horizon CP 150C. I bought mine for $409 on e-bay, got the wide+ chart which covers from NYC to just South of Boston. Visibility is good in all conditions; redraw time is great and chart features are all where they should be. Also, my past experience with Standard Horizon radio shows their customer service to be tops.
Jerry Townsend posted 01-29-2003 02:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
prm1177 - go into and you will have a lot of information regarding ALL of the GPS/charting units and all of the c-map cards - so you can select what you need - and order directly, as you desire. ---- Jerry/Idaho

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