I agree with a chart plotter - but have 2 iPads with cellular for a 2nd display and for redundancy if something goes wrong with the chart plotter. You don't need a current
iPad. I have an iPad Air I bought off Ebay for $200 that runs everything I need and has GPS. Get Aquamap for the iPad for Active Captain
, Bahamas charts
, and in the US depth
surveys. On our boat the person steering
watches the chart plotter while the other holds an iPad with AquaMap as a 2nd set of eyes as well as to plan beyond the next 15 minutes of course.
I would mount the chart plotter at the helm
as the iPad's are still not bright enough to read easily in full sunlight (although it's fine under the dodger). Get a chart plotter brand with wifi
and a companion app on the iPad that lets you display and control the chart plotter. My Garmin
chart plotter does this well - I believe some other brands do too. This allows you to sit in the cabin
and use the chart plotter. I've had no problem with leakage leaving my Garmin
exposed in the cockpit
. I never even put the cover on the display.
: While I had SSB
and a Satphone with my last boat, the current
one only has an InReach. This is my primary emergency
beacon (I have backup EPIRB). And it provides completely reliable communication with any phone
number or email
address. Face it, telephones are going away. My sons only communicate via text. The InReach's weather
reports are also adequate 95% of the time. When I need more, my son ashore sends me detailed forecasts from the Internet
as a few 160 character InReach messages. Within 5-10 miles of shore we just use our phones and iPads for internet
instruments. An interesting option is Calypso. It's solar
powered, wireless and displays on the phone/Ipad. Used by racers, I've found it very accurate. You can also buy a box to connect it to the chart plotter but I haven't bothered. https://www.panbo.com/calypso-ultras...wind-and-more/
: Any depth sounder
will do. With a chart plotter you know where you are so there's little need for a depth sounder
that displays beyond anchoring
AIS transponder. Definitely. Think of it as a 21st century radar
reflector to keep ships from running into you. All large ships use AIS (even most military ones now that the US destroyers had those collisions). A lot of fishing
boats don't use AIS but being run down by a fishing
boat isn't one of my nightmares. I also like the Vesper. It will display both on your chart plotter and an iPad.
is an interesting question. I cruise
in foggy Maine
but can count on my fingers how many times I turned it on last year. With a chart plotter to not hit the land and AIS to not hit a large ship, radar becomes a "nice to have" for me. It will spot thunderstorms - although near shore you can get a much better display in an iPad weather app. If you get Radar, consider getting a Furuno
wireless radar and use an iPad for display. Much cheaper to install too.
- I see little advantage to pay extra for VHF/AIS if you have an AIS receiver. Consider a high quality antenna
splitter like Vesper's. They work
just fine. This allows you to put both AIS and VHF at the masthead where they have much better range. Be sure to use a high quality coax. AIS signals are low power
. Be sure to have a waterproof handheld VHF (or two). If you ever have to abandon ship that's how you'll talk to the helicopter.
I have both NMEA 2000
and NMEA 0183
aboard. Both work fine if wired correctly. I don't notice one being particularly more reliable than the other. Do carry a few spare NMEA
2000 connectors and cables
. The easiest way to diagnose a problem is to swap parts
in until the problem goes away.