I have used several PC based navigation
apps over the years starting with Maptech Offshore
Navigator, Sea Clear 2, Polar Navy
, and now OpenCPN
. As my main source of navigational data comes from a Garmin GPS chartplotter
I now especially like the fact that bith the Garmin and the Opencpn
Pc share Waypoint and Route data easily.
I like using Garmin's Homeport APP to do my planning and can then transfer the info to both the chartplotter
and the PC. I have other backup GPS
units installed as well. Either the Garmin or the PC can speak to the autopilot
when I want it to follow a route.
Recently I added an Apple iPad Air2 to the mix with the Navionics APP just for fun as we take it along anyway when in a marina and want to use WIFI. It doesn't import
the same data and can't interact with the other instruments but I don't want it to at this point. It's ability to use Raster and Vector charts where I boat mostly in FL and Bahamas
is worth the download. I added a Sonar Server to allow Bluetooth sharing of the GPS data while offshore
to the iPad. Mostly will be used in the enclosed areas of the boat to allow others to watch our progress as we move along and as a possible backup.
When I used the Maptech
, Sea Clear2, Polar Navy
etc I was always faced with maintaining two sets of data for each instrument - now is easy.
I have radar
, Sirius Weather
on Garmin, VHF
, GPS, additional dedicated depthfinder, autopilot
, 9 ft inflatable
traveling. All I am missing is AIS but seldom travel at night in the Bahamas. Very occasionally when coming or going.
Been doing this since the 60's when it was all done dead reckoning in 23 footers, over the years got bigger and added stuff as I found the need or just wanted them for convenience. As I get older the added toys seem to make the trips better and I am not one of those who would like to go back to the "good old days" - but I could. It's really nice to look at your electronic chart and see that the channel is right where it is supposed to be when you look out around your boat.
One thing that many of us that have been in boating
for a while appreciate is the independence to do it our own way. Unless your on the water
making a living this is supposed to be enjoyable. Just stay safe.