Moderated Discussion Areas
  ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
  Portable Marine GPS/Chartplotter

Post New Topic  Post Reply
search | FAQ | profile | register | author help

Author Topic:   Portable Marine GPS/Chartplotter
WT posted 08-07-2006 09:33 PM ET (US)   Profile for WT   Send Email to WT  
I would like some advice. Is there a clear market leader in portable marine GPS units? Lowrance or Garmin? Which [vendor] has the most detailed nautical chart information on a chip? Navionics, Blue Chart, or C-Map? I want to be able to see ocean floor contours, location of wash rocks, names of landmarks, etc.

My intended use is in the Pacific Ocean around the San Francisco bay area. (Bodega Bay to Monterey) Would it be better to just haul around a marine GPS with a 5 to 7-inch screen? Thanks for any feedback,


davej14 posted 08-07-2006 09:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for davej14  Send Email to davej14     
I used a Garmin etrex vista until I recently installed a Lowrance LMS332c with a 5" color screen. The difference is dramatic. The portable etrex screens may be good for a back up, but they are hard to read. As a minimum I would get something like the Garmin GPSmap 76 which is blue chart compatible and has a slightly larger screen. Still, there is no comparison of its 1.6" x 2.2" display with a 5" diagonal color display.
jimh posted 08-07-2006 10:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Your requirements sound far beyond any handheld unit.

GPS receivers are about commodity devices; there is a GPS receiver in every cellular telephone.

The world of marine cartography has been turned on its ear by the release of NOAA charts in digital form for free.

As for who has the best cartography, I believe it is highly dependent on the location of interest. I would check with local boater who have various brands and see how they compare for your area. C-Map seems more globally oriented; the others seem to concentrate on North America.

WT posted 08-07-2006 10:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     
Here are 2 portable marine GPS units I have considered.

The Lowrance unit reads Navionics Gold Charts and the Garmin unit reads BlueCharts. Both should show contours, depths, current tide tables, wash rocks etc...

When do GPS manufacturers announce their new products?



WT posted 08-08-2006 12:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     
I think I found the cat's meow. Real time weather displayed through XM Satelite!!

bluewaterpirate posted 08-08-2006 08:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
Take a look at the GPSMap 376c from Garmin. Cheaper and comes with the XM Weather Antenna as part of the package and not as an add on. Uses Blue Charts instead of G2 Charts. Detail-Garmin-GPSMAP-376C-XM-Satellite-Weather.asp

Here's what it looks like installed. sitebuilderpictures/furuno2.jpg


rjgorion posted 08-08-2006 08:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for rjgorion  Send Email to rjgorion     

that looks like a very good choice, with all the features. However, I have not seen the g2 charts so I can't comment on their detail. Two years ago I purchased the Garmin gpsmap 76S for its portability and budget concerns. I'm using the west coast version of the Blue Charts and I can tell you that they are very detailed. So if you choose the garmin, I would get the Blue Charts as well unless someone with g2 experience can give you more detailed information. Good luck with your choice,


bluewaterpirate posted 08-08-2006 08:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
I use a Garmin 2206 with embedded G2 Charts. The G2 Charts are much clearer and easier to read. They are a mirror image of NOAA Charts. Here are some pictures of my 2206 in action. You can't go wrong with either format

The 1st picture is a spit screen with the Chart Display on the left and the 3-D Highway page on the right. Area display of Big Rock located 45nm SE of Cape Lookout NC. I have the G2 Bathy Chart cartridge enabled in this picture.

The 2nd picture is the Chart Display inshore.

The 3rd picture is the 3-D Highway approaches to Beaufort Inlet NC. sitebuilderpictures/220612.jpg sitebuilderpictures/warndepth.jpg sitebuilderpictures/2206.4.jpg


bluewaterpirate posted 08-08-2006 08:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
A better picture of the 376c and 2206 on my Ventura. sitebuilderpictures/completeinstall.jpg


WT posted 08-08-2006 09:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     

Was that a picture of a 747's cockpit?

Thanks for the pictures and the recommendation. West Marine has the Garmin 376, they can't keep the 478 in stock.


bluewaterpirate posted 08-08-2006 11:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
One note on the GPSMap 376c. It does not come with very good embedded charts so you have 2 choices:

1. By the Map Source software that will give you 2 licenses out the box. You load the Map Source software into your PC then download it to your 376c. It give lots of flexibility in regards to route planning, entry of waypoints, and trip planning. In other words you don't have to sit in front of your GPS and enter data, it can all be done from your home computer.


2. Buy the Garmin Blue Chart cartridge you need.

The 376c is a terrific value because it comes standard with the XM connectivity which is an add on to the 498 series. I think the additional cost is 275.00 to the cost of the 498.

Remember there is an additional subscription expense and month fee to activate the XM functionality. The activation fee is 50.00 and monthly subscriptions vary in price form 22.00 to 50.00. If you choose to add the XM Music then there is an addition 11.00 a month fee.

Adding the Map Source software still keeps your price under the cost of the 498. Your choice.

Hope this helps.

mbking1 posted 08-08-2006 03:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for mbking1  Send Email to mbking1     
Hust had my first day trip with garmin 498c. One word:AWESOME!!!!


mbking1 posted 08-08-2006 03:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for mbking1  Send Email to mbking1     
"just"...typo on prev post
surfkast posted 08-11-2006 07:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for surfkast    
I just bought a Garmin 76map as a back up unit for my montauk's Garmin 198c. I like it a lot, $169 at Bethel Marine on the web. It's not color, but it is the same navigation and buttons as my 198c main gps so I didn't need to learn a new system. If you get the marine waypoint software, you can edit all your waypoints on your pc, and then load them into both gps units. saves time if you have a lot of waypoints. No complaints except the bluechart bundled with the 198c is not transferrable to the 76map.

Post New Topic  Post Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | RETURN to ContinuousWave Top Page

Powered by: Ultimate Bulletin Board, Freeware Version 2000
Purchase our Licensed Version- which adds many more features!
© Infopop Corporation (formerly Madrona Park, Inc.), 1998 - 2000.