The best chartplotter
in your price
range is called Garmin
44dv. It costs about $300, can be had for cheaper on sale
. It does everything but radar
and has pretty good maps. It also comes with sonar that you can use for depth
(mount the transducer
, no issue). I suggest you spend the rest of the money
to get the Lowrance Link-8 VHF
(one of the few that allow you to output AIS
data over nmea 0183
at 4800 bps). This way for $550 you have a system that does everything the larger systems do except for radar
Later, if you decide to get an autopilot
, you get a second hand ST4000+ that interfaces nicely. This is where the 4800 bps AIS
becomes handy. Next, you would want to get a wind sensor
(you need that for the autopilot
, trust me). You can get a NASA marine
10 Hz nmea 0183 sensor
for $200. Then you are set.
Some will say go nmea2000. May be but you will need to spend 2-3x the money
to get similar capabilities from a nmea2000 system.
I had the system above for a couple of years and I was very happy about it. Simple, capable and you can rotate the display so that it is visible at the helm
and from under the dodger
. (I then got the radar bug and started spending serious money. Still miss the simplicity of the old system.