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Offshore electronics - What are the essentials and the luxuries?

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Offshore electronics - What are the essentials and the luxuries?

Old 03-03-2012, 02:04 PM
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Default Offshore electronics - What are the essentials and the luxuries?

I'm in the market for an offshore boat. I have a line on a few local ones that I may have to outfit with some missing electronics. I'd really apprieciate some guidance from you all. What are the essential electronics to have and what are luxuries than you can or can't do with out. Its not that I won't spend on anything thats considered a luxury but I'd hate to purchase in the wrong order and not have all of the essentials because of that Digital Margaurita Maker I put on the boat. Thanks guys, I'm all ears.

One more question about this. If a boat had the electronics removed do I have to go back with the same brand/model? Would it be advantageous to do so? I'm thinking about not drilling tons of holes in the hull and would rather use existing ones if it makes more sense to do so. Thanks again.
Old 03-03-2012, 02:17 PM
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Assuming offshore is 25+ miles offshore, and glossing over the obligatory safety lecture, here goes.

Necessities:

Compass and a chart
Gps
Radar
Epirb
VHF with 8ft or better antenna
Ssb or sat phone

Luxuries:

Sirius radio and weather
AIS
Flir camera
Radio direction finder
Sat tv
Old 03-03-2012, 03:23 PM
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You missed Sonar. Could be a necessity depending on what type of fishing you are doing.

I'd also add a second fixed vhf and handheld in the ditch bag, as well as a handheld gps in the ditch bag.

Luxuries to me are anything that plays music or video, and anything that costs more just because its cool (like touch screen chart plotters vs. button driven).
Old 03-03-2012, 03:36 PM
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need, radar, plotter, sounder, vhf, epirb, compas
luxury, piliot, music weather
Old 03-03-2012, 04:09 PM
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OK guys, I need you to handle me like I don't know what any of this stuff is or does. I have operated boats out in Lake DesAllemands catching Sac-a-lait and catfish. Thats a freshwater lake that is not very deep in the areas we fish. I did catch a 13lb catfish on a flyrod in that lake. But you get the idea. I've used a 'fish finder' and thats about it. I don't even know what made that 'fish finder' work....radar? sonar? black magic? So a little education on the equipment pieces would be greatly appreciated as well. If I had to take a guess at what an 'Epirb' was I wouldn't know where to start.....probably guess something like - 'Epirb' is that the white stuff in birdchit?
Old 03-03-2012, 04:39 PM
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Before loran A we navigated with a compass only.Be sure your boat has a good quality no spin compass,learn to use it and a good quality vhf radio with dsc.IMO these two are the most important and having an epird(emergency position indicating radio beacon),gsp/sounder plotter/weather radio/would be a minimun for me.Good Luck
Old 03-03-2012, 05:28 PM
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Thanks. I'm liking the sound of that Epirb now that I know what it is. Thanks again.
Old 03-03-2012, 06:50 PM
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Obligatory Safety message: Find you local power squadron and take these classes before you go off shore in a boat: 1) Basic Boating Course (either America's Boating Course or your state's certificate course, then 2) take the Piloting course. 3) Add the DSC/VHF radio seminar and 4) the GPS Seminar. That will help you understand what all that equipment is for and how to stay alive. Take it slow, use the boat for inshore and close offshore trips several times to build confidence in the boat, your equipment and your skills before you head offshore.
Old 03-03-2012, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Buoy Scout View Post
Obligatory Safety message: Find you local power squadron and take these classes before you go off shore in a boat: 1) Basic Boating Course (either America's Boating Course or your state's certificate course, then 2) take the Piloting course. 3) Add the DSC/VHF radio seminar and 4) the GPS Seminar. That will help you understand what all that equipment is for and how to stay alive. Take it slow, use the boat for inshore and close offshore trips several times to build confidence in the boat, your equipment and your skills before you head offshore.

Please take this advice.
Old 03-03-2012, 07:23 PM
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don't forget SSB or like they tell me now sat phone.sorry PtJudeRI , didnt see the last line, ok glasses I add glasses to the list.

Last edited by freddy063; 03-03-2012 at 07:28 PM. Reason: addding
Old 03-03-2012, 08:02 PM
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I think it is important to rank in importance:

1. VHF
2. Radar
3. GPS
4. Sounder
5.AIS
6. EPIRB
7.SAT TV
8. FLIR
9.SAT Phone

Honestly, I feel very comfortable with 1,2,3. Everything after that is luxury.
Old 03-03-2012, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Capt_Andrew View Post
I think it is important to rank in importance:

1. VHF
2. Radar
3. GPS
4. Sounder
5.AIS
6. EPIRB
7.SAT TV
8. FLIR
9.SAT Phone

Honestly, I feel very comfortable with 1,2,3. Everything after that is luxury.
1. compass
2. Charts
3. VHF
4. EPIRB or PLB
5. Piloting skills

Everything else is a luxury.
Old 03-03-2012, 10:41 PM
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Great advice guys. I'm taking it all in. Thanks.
Old 03-03-2012, 11:16 PM
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a sounder is more than a luxury. knowing the water depth can help place you on a chart.

i think you are probably asking what level of each item is required .
for example a lot boats will have an array radar when you really only need a dome.
a lot of boats will have a 10 inch or 12 inch gps plotter screen when you really only need 4 inch.

Last edited by puppy; 03-03-2012 at 11:51 PM.
Old 03-04-2012, 01:34 AM
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Originally Posted by puppy View Post
a sounder is more than a luxury. knowing the water depth can help place you on a chart.

i think you are probably asking what level of each item is required .
for example a lot boats will have an array radar when you really only need a dome.
a lot of boats will have a 10 inch or 12 inch gps plotter screen when you really only need 4 inch.
I'm asking all of that. I don't even know the difference between an array radar and a dome. I am getting tons of terms to google though so thanks.
Old 03-04-2012, 07:21 AM
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In order of importance.
1. VHS (2 one handheld for ditchbag)
2. Chartplotter (handheld gps for ditchbag). Sure you can plot a course with a handheld, charts, protractor and dividers but do you want to in 6 foot seas? A compass is more necessary than a gps but isn't electronic.
3. Sounder. A basic one for navigation more sophisticated one is needed for bottom fishing.
4. Radar. A basic one will pick up a big steel target but you want one that will pick up a small outboard boat at 2 miles. A 48 mile four foot open array will do this reliably.
5. Auto pilot. Anyone who has steered a course for 4-5 hours will agree that an autopilot is not a luxury.
6. Eperb. Your ultimate insurance policy.
I prefer an all in one that combines radar, chartplotter and sounder.
Top quality electronics will do a lot of things like steer to a course when the auto pilot is interfaced with the chartplotter. An overlay of the radar over the chart is useful where the charts are not reliable like in my area. My radar will plot the course of the target and tell me I am at risk of collision.
Buy the best you can afford. Installation is critical. Even top quality electronics won't perform well if they are poorly installed.
Old 03-04-2012, 01:36 PM
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Thanks for the info. You all are very helpful. Thanks again.
Old 03-04-2012, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Buoy Scout View Post
1. compass
2. Charts
3. VHF
4. EPIRB or PLB
5. Piloting skills

Everything else is a luxury.
x2
Old 03-05-2012, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Buoy Scout View Post
1. compass
2. Charts
3. VHF
4. EPIRB or PLB
5. Piloting skills

Everything else is a luxury.
X1. 100%
NOAA has site where you can down load and print your own chartbook for the area you cruise in. I would consider these the bare minimum as far as charts go if you have a smaller type boat. I keep mine in a note book and the pages are laminated so I can write on them.
http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/s...kletChart.html
Old 03-05-2012, 01:08 PM
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If you have never had one, an auto pilot is a luxury. After you have had one it is a necessity.

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