This may well be somewhat outside the scope
of those that hang out here and I might be better off finding a fishing
site, but here goes ...
My wife and I are giving some consideration to adding a GPS
to our sailing experience.
Out boat is 19 feet that is sailed in Lake Ontario
, Lake Huron (North Channel) as well as inland waters including larger lakes and the Ottawa River.
We have paper "charts" (that is those documents that look like charts
but expressly say to not use for navigation) for all Great Lakes
areas we sail. On some of the inland lakes we have a simple fishing
chart which is a very weak document for navigational purposes, but is all that exists in published printed format as far as I can tell.
I think right off the bat I can rule
out the iPad
solutions. First, in a boat this size it must be assumed that it is used under wet conditions both outside and inside all the time. That is just the reality of breathing at low night time temperatures inside such a small space even in the summer. Then there is the issue of inland lake data. This does not seem to exist from CHS sources, but is entirely at the whim of whatever commercial
organization goes out to collect it. It seems to me that Garmin
has done this the best, but even here many (most?) of the lakes I am interested in have just shoreline and no bathymetry. Navionics
has some inland stuff on their premium product, but seems well behind what Garmin
has done. So to get the best lake inland stuff (which is still piss poor) Garmin seems the only game
in town. Anyhow, if I am in any way mistaken with these conclusions, please correct me.
Just as an aside, I have found no record
of any GPS
charting for the upper Ottawa River (Pembroke and West Ottawa sections) either free or proprietary. You would think this body of water
would be covered by the inland lakes data set, but you would be wrong from what I can see. They seem to take the “lakes” part of “inland lakes” quite literally.
So at the low end for consideration would be say the Garmin GPS 72H which is just a GPS with no chart capabilities. This would provide position as well as the usual odometer stuff: speed, average speed, elapsed time etc. This would at least bail me out when I lose awareness of where I am. I don’t like when this happens, and it doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. This also adds nothing to the considerably miserable inland lakes situation - one this factor alone I think I can rule
out this approach.
Next up might be something like the GPSMAP 78 series which will take a chart chip. I can see this arrangement telling me where I am a whole lot faster than transcribing lat/long to a paper chart (as per first option above ), but with such a low resolution display, I expect I would still do most of my long term pondering with paper. It is unclear how useful spending the extra $80 for the “s” version with altimeter and compass
would be when I already travel with 3 or 4 compasses - maybe someone can comment.
The next level might be an Oregon
600 or Montana 600 unit (or 650 units if I want camera) which provide most or all the features of the GPSMAP 78 and will provide larger displays (2.5 and 3.4 x as many pixels respectively), and the option of hard wiring
in a mount to the boat electrical system
as noted). One loses the floating feature here that the 78 has, but on such a small boat I would think the unit would be left on the mount.
At the high end of consideration might be something like the Garmin echoMAP 50s which is a GPS and fish
finder. I already have a depth sounder
, so it is unclear in my experience how useful the fish
finder feature will be for navigation
. My wife does fancy herself a fisherwoman so she might care LOL.
Finally I’d like to discuss the Garmin chart chips. I think I would need and want only the LakeVu HD as it has the inland lakes plus the great lakes
according to the documentation
. The other option is the G2 bluechart which is the great lakes and coastal areas of Canada
. I assume the great lakes data on both of these products is the same and I lose nothing here by going with the LakeVU HD product, but I do not know this for a fact.
Given wet conditions, inland charting desires, old eyes, no great need for mobility of solution on an 18 foot boat, the doubtful marginal usefulness of another compass
and altimeter, freedom from explicitly charging
batteries, and my wife’s fishing desires, and the lakeVU software
having the best inland lakes stuff, the echoMap 50s looks like the best idea.
All comment and alternative ideas most graciously accepted.