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Old 13-08-2018, 04:38   #1
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Is depth important?

Is a working depth instrument mandatory equipment?

The reason for the question is I left the old transducer (thru hull monted bronze 200khz) in the boat and now that it is in the water I get no readings with two different head units. So I have 2 options
1 - go with out depth and trust charts and only tie up to moorage buoys
2 - have the boat hauled $300 and put in either B117-DT-BL or DST800

I am in the Puget Sound and plan on spending lot of nights out explore the islands and state Marine parks which have plenty of moorage buoys set up.
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Old 13-08-2018, 04:42   #2
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Re: Is depth important?

Mandatory - no
A good idea - yes.



I've got a lead line if ever need it
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Old 13-08-2018, 04:46   #3
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Re: Is depth important?

Not knowing how yours is fixed but can you just replace it quickly and minimise the amount of water that gets in. ?
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Old 13-08-2018, 05:20   #4
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Re: Is depth important?

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Originally Posted by Dave_S View Post
Not knowing how yours is fixed but can you just replace it quickly and minimise the amount of water that gets in. ?

To add more information/pics the transducer is thru Hull flush mounted to the bottom of the keel slightly forward of the lowest part of of the draft (See attached picture install point is inside the red circle). On the inside I can gain access but it is limited as it is encapsulated inside a 6" maybe 8" tube (extra lead/concrete ballast was installed in the keel around the transducer mounting point). I am not entirely sure how I am going to even get the nut loose to uninstall.



In the pictures the rubber tube going across the access hole is removable.
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Old 13-08-2018, 05:23   #5
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Re: Is depth important?

only important if you think it is (It sure is to me)
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Old 13-08-2018, 05:25   #6
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Re: Is depth important?

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I've got a lead line if ever need it

We made our first trip from Puget Sound to Alaska and back with a compass and a lead line 38 years later we make good use of a video depth sounder (fish finder). If you're going to be anchoring, a good depth sounder can give you a far better picture of the bottom. Even an old flasher will be better than a digital readout.


Before going too far on the transducer, check to make sure it isn't covered with bottom paint and that the wiring/connectors aren't corroded.



Yes, the state parks have bouys. There is a lot of competition for them, so be prepared to anchor.


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Old 13-08-2018, 05:52   #7
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Re: Is depth important?

Depending on your hull construction, you may be able to fit a new transducer inside the hull.... some transducers are designed specifically for this, but won’t work in a cored or metal hull.
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Old 13-08-2018, 05:55   #8
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Re: Is depth important?

I would rather go without my plotter than a depth sounder. To me, a sounder is second only to a compass and good charts. With a sounder you can feel your way around an anchorage, or coastal waters. I consider it essential equipment.

And yes, have a leadline as well. I’ve been using mine this past little while as we swing within a foot to of my draft in new-moon low tides. We went a whole season using only the leadline when our sounder gave out.
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Old 13-08-2018, 05:56   #9
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Re: Is depth important?

Mandatory is defined by your local laws.


When close to shores, we have only one instrument ON and all alarms set on it.


It is our depth sounder.


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Old 13-08-2018, 06:08   #10
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Re: Is depth important?

Yes knowing the depth is important and another tool in navigation providing additional information to help double check your possible position. If the depth reading doesn't match the depth on the chart for your position you may have a problem.

If you suspect the transducer is bad you may possibly be able to get one to test it. Most of the transducer were/air made by Airmar. If you know the frequency of your old one, find a similar one (working) and test the system. As long as the frequency is the same, you don't necessarily need to replace it with a bronze one or haul your boat to install the new one.

We currently have 3 working depth sounders in our boat (obviously we think the depth info is important w/ a 6.5' draft). One is a forward scan, the second is a standard thru hull mounted transducer and the third is an interior mounted "thru hull" sounder placed in a PVC tube filled w/water mounted to the hull. The sounder in the PVC tube produces very accurate readings even going though our > 2" thick hull and bottom paint. The 4" PVC tube was cut to match the contour of the hull and affixed to the hull w/adhesive. Adding a cap to stop water evaporation is useful and remember to remove the water (w/turkey baster) if you haul out for the winter on the hard.


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Old 13-08-2018, 06:17   #11
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Re: Is depth important?

Depth gauge is only important if you don’t want to run aground.

Like others, I feel a depth gauge, a compass, charts and a watch are all, that is really needed on most boats for near coastal navigation.
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Old 13-08-2018, 06:19   #12
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Re: Is depth important?

Nothing is mandatory, including safety But I'm with the other guy, I would rather lose my plotter than sounder. I have a handheld unit as well as a line backup. And a forward sonar. I really like to know what's under my bottom! Of course I also have a backup plotter, a Pad and Navionics on at least 3 phones onboard
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Old 13-08-2018, 06:23   #13
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Re: Is depth important?

When we put bottom paint on we taped over the transducer and then I applied on some transducer paint directly to the face of the transducer. I wonder if the transducer paint could be the problem?
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Old 13-08-2018, 06:27   #14
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Re: Is depth important?

I made my way up a good chunk of the ICW once without a depth finder. It was not particularly fun, but it was not particularly anxiety provoking either. Interestingly, it's the only time I've not gone around in the ICW lol. I think at times having ones makes you lax or less mindful of your course or location.

If you're satisfied not venturing into shallows until you next haul the boat (taking your reference of moorings to that effect). Then you should be fine so long as you're careful.

It's really all about that $300. No one can make that decision for you.
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Old 13-08-2018, 07:04   #15
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Re: Is depth important?

Is altitude important to a pilot? A plotter is subject to the accuracy of the data it's fed, and the shoalings of time. A depth sounder reflects and confirms the reality of where you are now. It doesn't require updates, and when feet (and hard bottoms) matter, you can trust it more than a GPS fix.
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