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Old 04-01-2021, 11:37   #16
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Re: Garmin maps for the Bahamas.

Drew, as other have said, The Explore Chart Books are all you need and they are a wealth of information as you go along. I only found 2 spots they were not dead on accurate, one was the reef opening at the bottom of Cat island and another was a shoal in a "not surveyed" area. Interesting as we bought a small Garmin chartplotter ( I think as around $200 on sale) on closeout that had the entire Bahamas on it. The new replacement model excluded the Bahamas.
You will quickly develop an "eye" for reading water depths. And make sure you know the offset for your depthsounder, you will use that a lot.
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Old 04-01-2021, 16:59   #17
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Re: Garmin maps for the Bahamas.

We used our eyeballs.
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Old 04-01-2021, 18:15   #18
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Re: Garmin maps for the Bahamas.

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Originally Posted by chris mac View Post
That may be true for the caribbean. But bahamas, not so much. Just today I followed explorer charts showing 6'(1.8m) and actual was a little over 7'. I was on a rising tide so pretty accurate. Navionics showed I was going through an area charter at 2'.(I draw 4.5')
Navionics is hard to rely on in the bahamas. Explorer is much more accurate
What Chris Mac said. I tracked my course from Memory Rock to Green Turtle Cay on the Explorer lines, and the depths were dead on, accounting for tide. Navionics occasionally has some very inaccurate data in Bahamas.
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Old 04-01-2021, 18:38   #19
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Re: Garmin maps for the Bahamas.

Thanks everyone for the info.
I am pretty excited to have a depth sounder on the boat this week. We have been navigating solely by the charts from the Chesapeake to Florida with no issues but we know that a grounding can be much worse in the Bahamas. I have an i pad but it doesn't have gps functions built in. Can i use my cell or should i get a gps plug for the i pad?
Thanks again!
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Old 04-01-2021, 19:16   #20
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Re: Garmin maps for the Bahamas.

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Originally Posted by Drew- View Post
Thanks everyone for the info.
I am pretty excited to have a depth sounder on the boat this week. We have been navigating solely by the charts from the Chesapeake to Florida with no issues but we know that a grounding can be much worse in the Bahamas. I have an i pad but it doesn't have gps functions built in. Can i use my cell or should i get a gps plug for the i pad?
Thanks again!
For aquamaps you need gps, either built in or added. If your phone has that, use it. If you decide you would rather have it on the larger tablet, you can always move it over.(as long as they are on the same profile)
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Old 04-01-2021, 20:15   #21
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Re: Garmin maps for the Bahamas.

I use Garmin chip HXUS604X - it covers all of the US, most of Canada and the entire Bahamas. I don't know if it's compatible with your chartplotter.

https://www.westmarine.com/buy/garmi...card--10770055

Also strongly agree with the suggestion of getting Explorer Charts on AquaMap. They did a beautiful job programming it - even the colors are a perfect match to the books. Up to date. Costs less than the books.
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Old 05-01-2021, 10:04   #22
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Re: Garmin maps for the Bahamas.

I second Audrey and others using Explorer charts. My numerous trips to the Bahamas have been uneventful thanks to Explorer charts.
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Old 10-01-2021, 15:50   #23
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Re: Garmin maps for the Bahamas.

As a boater that has been using electronic navigation in many of it's forms from LORAN A - then LORAN C (when they were just used to give you a point to look up on your paper chart) to all the iterations of GPS technology I have never had the experience I see reported by some on this forum. My experiences ( which are limited to Florida and the Bahamas) find that they have shown an ever increasing usefulness and accuracy. I have used Raster and Vector charts from several providers - Garmai, NOAA, Navionics and a couple of others displayed on PC's and/or chartplotters. I have traveled with friends using other systems and they are reasonably good as well.
My experience has always been that as I travel along I am amazed to regularly see the "chart" show a rock and look along that bearing and there it is just as predicted. More often than not the level of details is little short of amazing and fantastic.

Mostly these last 25-30 years I have settled on Garmin for my chartplotters and backup things with Navionics on an Ipad and Raster charts on the PC running Open CPN.

Vector charts that I have looked at that are free are pretty much worthless IMO with little more than giving you the ability to see land contours and larger islands. Virtually no sounding data that is useful.

My mix is Garmin or Navionics on plotters and iPads and Raster charts (many free) on the PC. For general traveling from place to place and just wanting to know where you are and relative positions to your destination there is plenty of info on the Raster charts that should suffice most boaters.

For those who want greater detail for fishing and diving purposes nothing beats the chartplotters with their proprietary electronic charts.

As far as Garmin's marketing decisions everyone has a position on that and I understand the frustration where chart packages can't be individualized to each and every persons wants. Not like the old days when you could pick out one or two charts of different places and scales for this or that location - skipping some if not needed.

Their decision to divide the Bahamas into two groups I suspect has to do with demand from buyer research. The number of powerboaters who would want to purchase the lower half of the Bahamas is nowhere near those that desire Florida and the Upper and Central portions which are easily reached from South Florida - that's a much busier traffic pattern.

Keep in mind that with Garmin's newer systems - if more than one device is onboard they can "share" the one purchase.

Their charts and instruments are managed much like your PC software - with licenses. We don't "own" the charts anymore than the software on our PC's.

All in all the cost of charts is small potatoes in the expense of owning and operating any boat be it sail or power.
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