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Old 03-10-2017, 10:22   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Dallas, TX
Boat: 1979 Chrysler 26'
Posts: 24
Easy Depth Finder System

I am still pretty new to sailing and the built-in depth finder on my 26' Chrysler does not work. The boat is on an inland lake, and for the most part knowing the depth is not necessary for pleasure sailing around. However, the other day while choosing a spot to drop anchor I was wishing I had a depth finder.

What is the easiest way to know the depth of the water you are in?

Is there an "app" available for my phone that would tell me "you are right here on this lake and it is x' amount deep with current water levels"?

How difficult is it to install a new depth finder/fish finder system?

Are there any convenient/inexpensive portable depth finder systems you know of or have experience with? I saw some that you toss a little floating sonar device overboard and get data through your phone or a receiver, called "wireless fish finders".

Any advice is appreciated!
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:09   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Southern Tier, NY
Boat: Newport 28
Posts: 326
Re: Easy Depth Finder System

Apps are only dependent on the most recent data in maps, and for inland lakes, that can vary a little still, and may not be most current. The easiest way I've seen, is using a basic fish finder, and either mounting the transducer inside the hull forward of the keel if possible, IF your hull is solid glass, or off the transom for some others. Toilet wax works great in the hull. And keep in mind that if you mount it off the transom, your depth can be off in just the 12' or so from the keel, to where the reading is being taken. Some water can get shallower pretty quick, so you want to make sure you have a buffer. Usually people aren't trying to get up close and personal so it's not ALWAYS a huge factor, just one to consider.
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:16   #3
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Palmetto, FL
Boat: "Wanderlust" -- 1999 Jefferson Rivanna 52'
Posts: 875
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Re: Easy Depth Finder System

The "Boating" app by Navionics is a free download for your phone or tablet but there is a charge for the maps of your choice. Not pricey but not free. Nearly all of the inland lakes in Florida... and there are a LOT of them... have detailed depth readings in Navionics. My Garmin Blue Chart software does not contain the same inland lake depth readings.

T-Box is one of the manufacturers of the wireless, "add-on" depth finders and fishfinders that you describe. They make a float-behind type and a type that can be either attached to the stern or epoxied inside the hull. We had one on our last boat. It was epoxied to the inside of the hull and worked great.

We just put one of the Garmin Striker 4 depth/fishfinder on our dinghy and it works great! Highly rated and you can't beat the price. Might be the cheapest/most effective solution for your needs. Does more than you need but the extra functions might prove useful.
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