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Hand Held GPS Adequat for Boating?

Old 10-22-2005, 01:33 PM
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Default Hand Held GPS Adequat for Boating?

I have an Edgewater 185cc with a flush mounted Uniden Oceanus VHF Radio (DSC capable) and Garmin 240 Fishfinder. I am looking to purchase a GPS unit for the boat. I primarily use the boat in Lakes orthe inland waterways although I do head offshorefrom time to time. When I take the boat offshore - I am usually w/in 10 miles or so off the coast of Jupiter Florida or Hilton Head SC. I am considering Garmins 60Cs, 76CS and 276C. I like the little handlhelds but am not sure the screen is large enough when being used on a boat while underway in a chop.The other consideration is the ability to hook my VHF radio up to the GPS to take advantage of the DSC capabilities. Anyone use a handheld as their primary GPS unit on a boat? IT seems most folks use them as backups in their ditch-bags.Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. ;?
Old 10-22-2005, 01:51 PM
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Default Re: Hand Held GPS Adequat for Boating?

Absolutely! I used a hand held for 4 years when I started boating dowm here in fla...made the keys all the way to key west countless times with it and at least 8-10 trips to the bahamas. Hand helds are fine with a good set of maps...in fact, everyone should start long trip navigating that way instead of looking at screens -that being said, the garmin 276 offers the best of both land and sea portability...
Old 10-22-2005, 02:13 PM
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Default Re: Hand Held GPS Adequat for Boating?

Thanks Glen. I appreciate the information.
Old 10-22-2005, 02:27 PM
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Default Re: Hand Held GPS Adequat for Boating?

i have the garmin map 76 and love it!! i fish the del. bay and it is perfect for me!! yeah its a little small, but i take it with me when i leave the boat!! its very accurate!! im considering getting cd rom for it. but think it might be too small for all the info on the screen??
Old 10-22-2005, 03:09 PM
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Default Re: Hand Held GPS Adequat for Boating?

Handhelds work fine. The small screens can be hard to see when bouncing around, but that is an ok trade off. I have a Lowrance iFinder H20. It works really well. The autozoom feature is nice. As you approach a waypoint or destination, the unit will automitically starting zooming in as you approach the waypoint. I would guess that others have this feature as well.

That said, take a real look at how you plan to use it. I thought I would be using my gps more in the car, hiking or elsewhere. In the end, I use it 90+% of the time on the boat. Next season, I am buying a fixed mount unit.
Old 10-22-2005, 03:19 PM
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Default RE: Hand Held GPS Adequat for Boating?

It's adequate, but does not hold a candle to the real capabilities of a fixed unit with a bigger screen. If it's just to help you get to a point, a handheld is fine. Neither should be a substitute for a real chart, compass and knowledge to use them.

FWIW, in a new area, with my mapping software and 182C, I look at a chart for orientation, then use the GPS to navigate in the area. When my chartplotter antenna crapped out I broke out my 76Map, but used that only as a backup for my charts and compass bearings. IOW, I found it easier to navigate using the charts because the screen is small on the handheld.
Old 10-22-2005, 07:41 PM
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Default Re: Hand Held GPS Adequat for Boating?

You can get away with it but I'd seriously consider a fixed mount unit. I used a Garmin 60c for a while and it worked fine but then I got the fixed mount garmin and found I was using it all the time and will never go back to a hand held.

Plus, I don't think you can connect a handheld to your VHF for DSC but I could be wrong. For some reason I don't think the software which comes with the handheld will support DSC.
Old 10-22-2005, 08:02 PM
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Default Re: Hand Held GPS Adequat for Boating?

i have the map 76....while it functions okay (freezes up now and then, i have to take the batteries out and then back in.....i have trouble seeing the screen.....i ended up building a little binnacle for it


bnasically, a 4 inch round glass magnifier inside a 4 inch black plastic pipe that is pointed at the gps.....works pretty good, but it is no match for the garmin 276C


i am 52, and i'll bet twenty years ago seeing the screen would not have been a problem

but if you plan on just getting one, i would get a bigger one....i think the 276 is the best you can get before you no longer have internal batteries
Old 10-22-2005, 08:08 PM
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Default Re: Hand Held GPS Adequat for Boating?

I have the Magellan 315 and use it as a backup. I will use it on the rear station for trolling speed.
Old 10-22-2005, 08:59 PM
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Default Re: Hand Held GPS Adequat for Boating?

i also use my magellan 315 for and odometer/trip odometer and speed. my 315 will not read below 2 mph. is this normal. i have a lowrance h2o that i use as a map/plotter. it reads at any speed. only problem is i use the map page function and the speed function is on a different page and i have to switch back and forth. i rarely troll below 2 mph, but was wondering why the magellan will not read lower speeds. any suggestions? thanks
Old 10-22-2005, 09:04 PM
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Default RE: Hand Held GPS Adequat for Boating?

JupiterEdge - 10/22/2005 1:33 PM

I have an Edgewater 185cc with a flush mounted Uniden Oceanus VHF Radio (DSC capable) and Garmin 240 Fishfinder. I am looking to purchase a GPS unit for the boat. I primarily use the boat in Lakes or the inland waterways although I do head offshore from time to time. When I take the boat offshore - I am usually w/in 10 miles or so off the coast of Jupiter Florida or Hilton Head SC. I am considering Garmins 60Cs, 76CS and 276C. I like the little handlhelds but am not sure the screen is large enough when being used on a boat while underway in a chop. The other consideration is the ability to hook my VHF radio up to the GPS to take advantage of the DSC capabilities. Anyone use a handheld as their primary GPS unit on a boat? IT seems most folks use them as backups in their ditch-bags. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. ;?

the handhelds work fine. the screens are small and scrolling around can be a pain in the butt, but i like being able to take it off the boat and using it for other things. you can hook your dsc up to most handhelds; you will need a connector. i have a lowrance h20 that i use navionics maps with and use my magellan 315 as a backup and for odo/trip odo and speed.
Old 10-22-2005, 09:14 PM
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Default Re: Hand Held GPS Adequat for Boating?

Get both. I use my handheld as a backup, and I use it all the time in the truck. The little screen really is hard to see when bouncing around. Other than that, handhelds are fine.
Old 10-22-2005, 10:21 PM
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Default Re: Hand Held GPS Adequat for Boating?

Either the 276C or the 376C (adds XM weather) offer portability with a screen large enough to see. They both have NMEA ports for interfacing to your VHF. The 2 units also have marine & land cartography (auto use) capability (purchased separately)
Old 10-23-2005, 07:19 AM
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Default Re: Hand Held GPS Adequat for Boating?

lureman - 10/22/2005 9:59 PM

i also use my magellan 315 for and odometer/trip odometer and speed. my 315 will not read below 2 mph. is this normal. i have a lowrance h2o that i use as a map/plotter. it reads at any speed. only problem is i use the map page function and the speed function is on a different page and i have to switch back and forth. i rarely troll below 2 mph, but was wondering why the magellan will not read lower speeds. any suggestions? thanks
You can display ground speed on the map screen. I have mine set that way. I don't remember exactly where in the menus, but I think there is a screen that allows you to choose data elements that will be displayed on the map screen.

Also, I have no problems seeing speeds below 2 mph. I remember a few occassions heading into the current where my ground speed was .2 to .5 mph.
Old 10-23-2005, 08:40 AM
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Default Re: Hand Held GPS Adequat for Boating?

Thanks to everyone for the information. I am leaning toward the 276c. Since its still a portable, can interface with my vhs Radio and could be used in my car as well. I really only want to purchase one GPS at this time and it seems to be capable of doing double duty. The only other unit I am considering is the 76cs which has the same capabilities (more portable but smaller screen). Great info from everyone - Thanks again!
Old 10-23-2005, 09:03 AM
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Default Re: Hand Held GPS Adequat for Boating?

Take a hard look at the 376c it also can interace with the GD20 sonar box (FF capabiltiy) and can display dsc info. I have a 376c as a backup to my primary unit. The XM interface is slick and in addition to weather it provides music. U can purchase a 12v external power cord with a powered speaker and whala u have entertainment. I got mine for $818 on line. Good luck
Old 10-23-2005, 10:18 AM
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Default Re: Hand Held GPS Adequat for Boating?

fishingdan - 10/23/2005 7:19 AM

lureman - 10/22/2005 9:59 PM

i also use my magellan 315 for and odometer/trip odometer and speed. my 315 will not read below 2 mph. is this normal. i have a lowrance h2o that i use as a map/plotter. it reads at any speed. only problem is i use the map page function and the speed function is on a different page and i have to switch back and forth. i rarely troll below 2 mph, but was wondering why the magellan will not read lower speeds. any suggestions? thanks
You can display ground speed on the map screen. I have mine set that way. I don't remember exactly where in the menus, but I think there is a screen that allows you to choose data elements that will be displayed on the map screen.

Also, I have no problems seeing speeds below 2 mph. I remember a few occassions heading into the current where my ground speed was .2 to .5 mph.
thank you, ill look into putting the speed on the map screen.

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