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School me on all the benefits of adding autopilot

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School me on all the benefits of adding autopilot

Old 09-13-2020, 05:52 PM
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Default School me on all the benefits of adding autopilot

I'm considering adding autopilot on our Cobia 280CC with twin 250s. I haven't owned or even been on a boat with autopilot installed...I use the boat for equal amounts of fishing and family time in South Florida. What are the best features???

I have a quote for a Garmin Reactor 40 Corepack with Smartpump V2.

Thanks

Old 09-13-2020, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by ed_b View Post
I'm considering adding autopilot on our Cobia 280CC with twin 250s. I haven't owned or even been on a boat with autopilot installed...I use the boat for equal amounts of fishing and family time in South Florida. What are the best features???

I have a quote for a Garmin Reactor 40 Corepack with Smartpump V2.

Thanks
If you make long runs offshore, you will save an incredible amount of time and fuel. The auto pilot will keep you straight on course where as a human driver after a few minutes will be off course and constantly correcting back eventually zig-zagging all the way to the destination.

Old 09-13-2020, 05:55 PM
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It’s like having an extra set of hands on the boat, and on long runs it saves time and money by keeping a straight run going. I will never have another boat without it.
Old 09-13-2020, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by ucf_motorcycle View Post
If you make long runs offshore, you will save an incredible amount of time and fuel. The auto pilot will keep you straight on course where as a human driver after a few minutes will be off course and constantly correcting back eventually zig-zagging all the way to the destination.
Im new to the offshore fishing game and holy shit am I a zig zagging Sonofabitch. I absolutely am.going autopilot on next boat
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Old 09-13-2020, 06:02 PM
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When you've been out fishing all day, and you can punch in "Home" and not have to touch the steering wheel for the next two or three hours, the exhaustion level when you get back to the dock is decreased exponentially. It's amazing how tired that run home makes you when you're manning the wheel the whole way, but I had no idea until I got one with autopilot.

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Old 09-13-2020, 06:03 PM
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Safety......instead of constantly staring at your compass trying to hold a course you can concentrate on watching the water in front of you and you can also pay closer attention to your electronics.
Old 09-13-2020, 06:03 PM
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An autopilot is a great tool when used as another set of eyes (to keep you on course so you are free to keep a better lookout). It should not be used as a tool to free you up so you can do other things. How many times have we all read or heard stories something like “ the guy almost ran me over and there was no one at the wheel, he must have had the autopilot on”.
Old 09-13-2020, 06:04 PM
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It helps to keep your eyes up on the horizon looking for fish/obstacles, really cuts down on fatigue of trying to fight swells and stay on course. Can turn marginal seas bearable because you aren't working so hard to drive.
Old 09-13-2020, 06:05 PM
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It helps to keep your eyes up on the horizon looking for fish/obstacles, really cuts down on fatigue of trying to fight swells and stay on course. Can turn marginal seas bearable because you aren't working so hard to drive.
Old 09-13-2020, 06:11 PM
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I love my autopilot. Aside from saving gas and time it’s great when trolling and when driving in fog.
Old 09-13-2020, 06:15 PM
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Aside from a lighter wallet everything is beneficial imho.
Old 09-13-2020, 06:18 PM
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It has a rate compass so your GPS is correctly orientated even while the boat is not moving, when you get a fish on you can help clear lines, and every thing in all the post above. try running a course using your compass and look back at your trail, if it looks like a snake you need an AP
Old 09-13-2020, 06:22 PM
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Your shoulders will thank you when you are old, especially if you do multiple trips, days in a row
Old 09-13-2020, 06:28 PM
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I am a charter boat captain and for safety reasons we don't have an autopilot on our passenger boats. However I recently decided to splurge on an autopilot for my personal 25' center console. Wow... huge difference in my experience on my "day off". It's like I can actually relax and enjoy being on a boat. It takes the "work" out driving a boat, literally for me. As someone else said, it's like having an extra hand on the boat while you can set a heading hold and rig fishing rods or otherwise tend to other tasks while the boat drives straight. It was about $5,000 for all parts with a professional marine installer but....not regretting it.
Old 09-13-2020, 06:40 PM
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I completely agree with all the positive comments above, particularly the ability to keep your eyes up looking ahead. We lived in Norfolk, VA before moving to SWFL and fished 75nm offshore. The run back in was into the sun and really needed to watch for turtles warming in the afternoon sun.

As mentioned above, the ability to troll straight, run patterns, assist in the cockpit (yes, at seven knots with no vessels in proximity), or proceed slowly in restricted visibility keeping a lookout and watching the radar.

This is running in from offshore at 30kts, on Simrad AP-24 autopilot.
.

Old 09-13-2020, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Rodngun762 View Post
I am a charter boat captain and for safety reasons we don't have an autopilot on our passenger boats.
I don't understand what the safety reason would be for not having and autopilot. IMO there is safety reasons for having it, namely the with the autopilot engaged it allows you to spend more time focused ahead of the boat and around it to watch for other vessels. Additionally, it allows the captain to look to the cockpit and other areas of the boat to keep an eye of the passengers while maintaining course.
Old 09-13-2020, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Capt. KJB View Post
I don't understand what the safety reason would be for not having and autopilot. IMO there is safety reasons for having it, namely the with the autopilot engaged it allows you to spend more time focused ahead of the boat and around it to watch for other vessels. Additionally, it allows the captain to look to the cockpit and other areas of the boat to keep an eye of the passengers while maintaining course.
The issue is that not everyone uses that spare time to watch where they are going. Good in theory, but humans are not always true to the theory. Personally i don't run my AP if i can see the water in front of me. Too easy to take your eyes away and end up trusting to luck. After dark when i can't see the water it is my best friend. Have had several close calls with other boats running on AP. Collision alarms on radar help, but always have to remember that your AP is blind. People don't always remember that unfortunately.
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Old 09-13-2020, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Aliboy View Post
The issue is that not everyone uses that spare time to watch where they are going. Good in theory, but humans are not always true to the theory. Personally i don't run my AP if i can see the water in front of me. Too easy to take your eyes away and end up trusting to luck. After dark when i can't see the water it is my best friend. Have had several close calls with other boats running on AP. Collision alarms on radar help, but always have to remember that your AP is blind. People don't always remember that unfortunately.
Someone is either a responsible captain or they aren't, to me it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to remove a piece of equipment that adds to the safety of operation because some people will forget to pay attention. I use my AP constantly and never thought of it providing me an opportunity to get lazy or the idea of not using it to force myself to keep watch ahead of my vessel.
Old 09-14-2020, 01:29 AM
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Autopilot is a game changer. Do it
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Old 09-14-2020, 01:32 AM
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And if you care concerned about the safety element just only engage the autopilot while you are wearing a kill switch. I’ll be honest though, while I am very vigilant about what’s in front of me I will occasionally take my eyes off the water to tend to other tasks. That is part of the beauty of it

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