to top 10 table

Best Marine GPS

last updated Aug 26, 2019

For the fishermen or even avid hikers, it is important to know what the surrounding areas you explore. Including routes, tracks, or even how to get home while in the middle of a lake or ocean or forest. A great piece of equipment to help you keep handy while on the water is a Marine GPS. Marine GPS-s are great for locking onto coordinates across the water and their sonar capabilities also make them perfect for fishing. If you own a boat and you love to fish or be on the water, these can be your best friend. When looking for which Marine GPS fits you best look into the amount of clarity to the depth in which the GPS can reach depending on the type of fishing you are taking part in. Below we have listed the top ten best Marine GPS in the market today.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 18 hrs of research

icon
Garmin striker 4 built-in
98.5/100 our score
Ease of Use
98
Portability
99
Effectiveness
98
Features
99
Garmin striker 4 built-in
Why is it better?

It includes a CHIRP transducer that will provide clarity when looking for fish

Has a built-in flasher and displays the boat speed

You can upgrade to higher performing Garmin transducers

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Garmin striker 4 built-in
Test Winner: Garmin striker 4 built-in
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
15
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
2.1k
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
18
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
17
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Melissa Coleiro
By Melissa Coleiro:

This buying guide for marine GPS has been put together to show you the best researched and reviewed products to help you navigate while on the water. A marine GPS we recommend to check out is the Garmin Striker 4. We love this GPS because it has a built-in flasher and displays the boat speed.

Sorting Options
Ease of Use Portability Effectiveness Features By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.5
Ease of Use
98 %
Portability
99 %
Effectiveness
98 %
Features
99 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.09.19)
Amazon Link
$110.89
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.5
Ease of Use
97 %
Portability
96 %
Effectiveness
96 %
Features
97 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.09.19)
Amazon Link
$294.89
Cabelas
$349.99
See Deal
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
Ease of Use
95 %
Portability
96 %
Effectiveness
94 %
Features
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.09.19)
Amazon Link
$201.36
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.5
Ease of Use
92 %
Portability
93 %
Effectiveness
92 %
Features
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.09.19)
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.5
Ease of Use
91 %
Portability
90 %
Effectiveness
90 %
Features
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.09.19)
Amazon Link
$87.22
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.5
Ease of Use
90 %
Portability
89 %
Effectiveness
89 %
Features
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.09.19)
Amazon Link
$649.00
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.8
Ease of Use
87 %
Portability
86 %
Effectiveness
88 %
Features
86 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.09.19)
Amazon Link
$744.95
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.8
Ease of Use
84 %
Portability
83 %
Effectiveness
82 %
Features
82 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.09.19)
Amazon Link
$79.60
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.3
Ease of Use
80 %
Portability
81 %
Effectiveness
80 %
Features
80 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.09.19)
Amazon Link
$698.43
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.5
Ease of Use
78 %
Portability
79 %
Effectiveness
78 %
Features
79 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.09.19)
Amazon Link
$248.00
Cabelas
$299.99
See Deal

Top 10 Picks

1. Garmin striker 4 built-in

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.5
GPS Fishfinder with CHIRP Traditional Transducer
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
98
Portability
99
Effectiveness
98
Features
99
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$110.89
Pros:

It includes a CHIRP transducer that will provide clarity when looking for fish

Has a built-in flasher and displays the boat speed

You can upgrade to higher performing Garmin transducers

Cons:

No maps, just waypoints, and tracks

Get used to seeing Garmin on this list as they are one of the top GPS manufacturers in the world today. Their Striker 4 GPS is a perfect handheld device for marine goers. As a handheld marine GPS, it is hard to find much better than the Garmin Striker 4. If the non-mapping GPS technology does not bother you, then this is a no-brainer. Unfortunately, depending on your preference, this device does not include maps but instead waypoints of your area. Because this is a non-mapping GPS, you will not need to concern yourself with this.

Read more

Ease of Use
The depth solely depends on the type of water you are boating/fishing on. In saltwater, it can reach depths of 750 feet. However, in freshwater, this more than doubles to 1600 feet. The screen is large enough, 3.5 inches, to get a good interpretation of what you are looking at. Navigation wise, this implements a keypad operation instead of a touchscreen.

Portability
The Garmin striker 4 built-in is very easy to bring with you anywhere as it only weighs 8 ounces and has the ability to work even out in the middle of the lake or ocean.

Effectiveness
Equipped with a high-sensitivity GPS receiver, you can easily view your position in relation to the waypoints that you have marked. It is also simple to locate landmarks such as docks and brush piles. Plus, with a Garmin CHIRP transducer, this will also detail (in high clarity) fish lurking under the water.

Features
If you are riding on a speedboat, this GPS will actually display the speed of your boat on the interface. This comes in handy in instances where you are trying to catch a particular type of fish. In addition, you can also upgrade to higher-performance transducers (GT8 and GT15).

2. Humminbird helix 5 chirp GPS fish finder

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.5
Humminbird HELIX 5 Fish Finder
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
97
Portability
96
Effectiveness
96
Features
97
best offer for today
more shops
Amazon Link
$294.89
Cabelas
$349.99
See Deal
Pros:

Has a built-in feature that allows you to rewind to a particular sonar feed

You can scan the water with both sonar beams simultaneously

For the fisherman, the sonar view replaces the fish arches with fish symbols on the interface

Cons:

Fairly basic display and interface

The Helix 5 GPS Fishfinder from Humminbird may not sport the most advanced interface on the market, but it is hard to argue with its capabilities as a marine GPS.

Read more

Ease of Use
The Dual Beam PLUS sonar system has 4000 watts of power output and the internal GPS will plot maps and charts with a built-in Anima cartography. When needing a second look at an area, using the Sonar Recording feature you can rewind to a particular sonar feed.
Portability
You can expect this sonar system to capture data all the way down to 1500 feet. The resolution, 800 x 480, and size, 5 inches, are not terrible by any stretch of the imagination. Plus, with LED backlighting you can easily view the contents on the screen. But, in this modern world of technology, it may be too basic for some.

Effectiveness
As a GPS and sonar device, the Humminbird Helix 5 knocks it out of the park. The basic interface, which is one of the only issues here, is more of a preference than a hindrance. There is an included microSD card slot so you can upload maps from an SD card. In addition, you can also save waypoints on your SD card.

Features
When you are looking for specific types of fish, you can seamlessly switch between Clear Mode and Max Mode. The former will remove the clutter on the screen and display the strongest of targets. This comes in handy when fishing for monster pike and bass.

3. Standard horizon explorer VHF

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
Standard Horizon GX1700B Standard Explorer GPS VHF Marine Radio
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
95
Portability
96
Effectiveness
94
Features
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$201.36
Pros:

There is an included three-year waterproof warranty

It is capable of entering and saving up to 100 waypoints

Can navigate to DSC distress calls in a few steps

Cons:

Can have reliability issues with the GPS and battery

This GPS is a little special as it works as both a marine GPS and communicator. In instances where you may need both, Standard Horizon provides you with an amazing model.

Read more

Ease of Use
All the data is implemented directly into the radio/GPS. It also uses waypoints so you need not concern yourself with external maps. This will not be for everyone and is very special in the sense that it is a radio on top of a GPS that can be used for water navigation.

Portability
While it does not have a sonar system, it can be underwater in depths of under five feet for 30 minutes. Anything after that or deeper than that and you risk permanent damage. On the large 3-inch LCD display, you will see an oversized dot matrix display of your coordinates and waypoints. For operation, it is run by various buttons and keypads.

Effectiveness
The Standard Explorer GPS VHF Marine Radio has an internal 12 channel GPS built directly into the front panel. It is capable of entering up to 100 waypoints, which can then be selected and navigated to.

Features
In just a few simple steps, you can send out a DSC distress call in times where an emergency occurs. Plus, when mounting this GPS, the rear case design will grant you flexibility and you can mount it in extremely tight areas to save space.

4. Lowrance gen3 fishfinder

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.5
Lowrance HDS-7 Gen-3 / LSS-2 Bundle
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
92
Portability
93
Effectiveness
92
Features
93
best offer for today
more shops
Pros:

You can switch from a touchscreen or keypad interface

To get the best view of fish, you can view the sonar and StructureScan simultaneously

Can wirelessly connect to the GoFree app

Cons:

The manual does not recommend the best battery

While the Lowrance Gen3 Fishfinder is not the most popular GPS device in the world, for marine capabilities, it just so happens to be the best. When the biggest problem is manual, you know that you have an excellent product on your hands. There is not much not to love about this fish finder and it is a necessity for any fishing enthusiasts. Once you figure out how to use it, the rest is history.

Read more

Ease of Use
When searching in 2D, this sonar system can travel all the way down to 750 feet. In the StructureScan mode, though, it can only monitor down to 300 feet. This Lowrance gen3 fishfinder is very easy to use especially when you are out on the water.

Portability
For your convenience, the choice is yours between either a touch screen or keypad, operation. Meanwhile, the screen itself dynamically shows high-definition sonar returns with a subtle color scheme.

Effectiveness
This device comes with both a built-in CHIRP Scan Sonar system and an internal GPS antenna. What this provides is an unparalleled view of fish that are lurking under the surface as cutting-edge technology has been implemented.

Features
Using supported smartphones and tablets, you can wirelessly connect with the Lowrance GoFree app. In addition, you can easily switch from outboard pilot steering to the electric-steer trolling motor. Equipped with this GPS device are dual microSD card slots that allow you to add external maps. Plus, with the use of the GoFree app, you can upload maps and obtain new software features.

5. Garmin eTrex10 GPS

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.5
Garmin ETrex 10 Outdoor Handheld GPS Navigation Unit
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
91
Portability
90
Effectiveness
90
Features
91
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$87.22
Pros:

WAAS-enabled GPS receiver

Waterproof to IPX7 standards

See high and low elevation

Cons:

It lags

The Garmin eTrex10 GPS fits the bill for what everyone should look for in a marine GPS. It has excellent GPS and sonar capabilities and convenient features for added use. This Garmin eTrex10 GPS has a display size of 1.4" x 1.7" (3.6 x 4.3 cm); 2.2" diag (5.6 cm) and great resolution measuring in at 128 x 160 pixels. It has over 200 routes for you and displays transflective as well as monochrome. For your next fishing trip, you will want to bring this marine GPS with you to help organize maps and help you decide on which routes to go with. This GPS even helps you plan spots to save for your next fishing trip. It also allows you to save all of this data in order for you to keep a plan throughout your fishing adventure. So even in locations where you have no wifi, this GPS helps tremendously. Its map has a 2D, 3D, as well as a 4D option for you to use in case of emergencies. Overall this is one of the best quality and most popular marine GPS on our list and you can now see why.

Read more

Ease of Use
Pre-loaded in this GPS are US lakes, rivers and coastal maps. In addition, there is a microSD card slot in which you can insert an SD card to save screenshots. The double sonar system is what truly stands out here, but the screen is quite smaller than other mounting models. This GPS is very easy to use for even your children once you get the hang of the features and buttons. It includes terrains, locations, maps, and descriptions for tracks as you adventure the waters. This is one of the most simple GPS on our list to use and it even has a lock button which is actually 20 percent quicker than other GPS.

Portability
This comes equipped with a dual-channel sonar. The first is a CHIRP DownVision sonar that is used for photo-like images and the other is a conventional solar channel designed primarily to detect fish. Both of these sonar systems are combined with GPS navigation. This GPS is portable when it comes to using it while fishing as it does not require to be connected to wifi at all times. You can even save routes, locations, tracks or waypoints on the map for you to use while out in the middle of the water. It also weighs just 5 ounces which helps with how easy it is to transport wherever you are going.

Effectiveness
Each sonar system has different depths it can reach with the DownVision able to reach 600 feet and the conventional sonar 900 feet. The screen measures 1.4" x 1.7" (3.6 x 4.3 cm); 2.2" diag (5.6 cm) and is a high-definition LED backlight display that is optimized with sharp colors. With the power of the DownVision sonar system, you can also view photo-like sonar images. You also get a resolution of 128 x 160 pixels which truly helps you be able to see clearly even underwater. You can even share your locations and maps with friends with the Garmin Adventure app.

Features
When you download the Garmin eTrex10 GPS mobile application, you can stream your sonar data directly to your smartphone. Then, you can share your findings anywhere you would like. That helps while you are on family fishing trips with a larger number of people to all be able to know where each of you is. This Garmin eTrex10 GPS displays its map information on a 2D, 3D as well as a 4D screen to help you see its elevation profile. That way in a case of emergency you are able to see where you are located or if you even want to visit that fishing area again you can save the location.

6. Simrad go7 XSE fish finder

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.5
Simrad GO7 XSE Chartplotter/Fishfinder
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
90
Portability
89
Effectiveness
89
Features
90
best offer for today
more shops
Amazon Link
$649.00
Pros:

It has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities

An included 60 Day return and lifetime tech support

The technology tracks and displays all key information for boaters

Cons:

The plastic mount is cheap and poorly made

One thing is for sure, Simrad got it right with the touchscreen controls for their GO7 XSE Fishfinder. But, it also does a fantastic job in other key areas, as well.

Read more

Ease of Use
This is a chart plotter with the fullest of features and several cartography options such as NV Digital Charts and Insight. With the simplicity of touch, you can then set waypoints and record your destinations.

Portability
It depends on the frequency that you are using, but the highest depth you can reach with this device is 1000 feet. Besides its large seven-inch display, you can navigate the interface via the touchscreen. Tablet and smartphone users will find this convenient, and simple home screen and menu layouts make it simple to operate.

Effectiveness
It includes all sorts of maps and charts including over 3000 enhanced US lakes, a USA worldwide Basemap, Hotmaps and Hotspot maps, and optional chart upgrades. When in stable use, this is as good as it gets. There are only a few gripes that hinder the overall quality, but they do not prevent it from being the highest recommendation.

Features
On your screen, you can do more than just simple navigation. Conveniently, you can customize your home screen with the shortcuts that you want. In addition, you can adjust the screen views and the layout of the panel.

7. Garmin echomap chirp 94SV

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.8
Garmin Echomap Chirp 94SV with transducer
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
87
Portability
86
Effectiveness
88
Features
86
best offer for today
more shops
Amazon Link
$744.95
Pros:

It is preloaded with over 17,000 lakes, including 13,000 with one-foot contours

An internal five Hz GPS will update the location five times per second

The sonar system is terrific

Cons:

It really needs a touchscreen

It did not take long for Garmin to return, but this time it is their echoMAP 94sv GPS that makes its way on the list. With the way, the interface is built, it would be nice for a touchscreen but that does not take away from its brilliance.

Read more

Ease of Use
There are built-in maps and charts and there is availability for U.S. LakeVu maps, Canada LakeVu maps, and U.S. BlueChart g2 charts. Outside of the interface, for use as a sonar GPS, it is hard to argue with the results. Its elite sonar system and GPS make it worth the price alone.

Portability
When you are down imaging, you can do so down to 300 feet. Meanwhile, just using a frequency of 83 kHz and 50 kHz will allow you to view 1000 and 3000 feet below, respectively. The display is available in various sizes, four and five-inch square and seven and nine-inch widescreen. It is easy to see with an auto-dimming and sunlight-readable display. However, the keypad operation probably should be ditched for a touchscreen one.

Effectiveness
With the CHIRP sonar, this device is able to create crisp fish arches and a continuous sweep of the frequencies in the water. Plus, the internal five Hz GPS will update your position five times per second ensuring you are up-to-date at all times.

Features
Outside of the GPS and sonar uses, you can also use the free software Quickdraw Contours. This will create top-of-the-line and personalized fishing maps directly on the interface.

8. Uniden handheld submersible radio

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.8
Uniden MHS75 Waterproof Handheld 2-Way VHF Marine Radio
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
84
Portability
83
Effectiveness
82
Features
82
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$79.60
Pros:

Simply pressing the “Disaster Key” can allow the DSC to triangulate your position in case of an emergency

Is waterproof for up to five feet

You have the option of running it at 1, 2.5 or 6 watts of power

Cons:

It can only be charged with a cigarette lighter plug in a car

This is another radio/GPS device and while not quite as good as the previous one, it still does its job efficiently. A few drawbacks hinder its overall quality, but as a GPS and a radio, it will suffice for your needs.

Read more

Ease of Use
With its GPS technology, marine goers will be able to spot their favorite fishing and diving spots time and time again. Plus, in the case of an emergency, with the DSC system, rescuers will be able to pinpoint your location in the blink of an eye.

Portability
As it works like a radio, there are no maps installed in the software. Instead, everything you need is immediately at your fingertips. If it were not for two huge drawbacks, which will be addressed shortly, this could have easily been higher. However, for what it is, Uniden designed a terrific marine radio and GPS.

Effectiveness
Again, as it is a radio, it has no sonar capabilities but can be submerged in under five feet of water for 30 minutes. The interface is not going to blow you away, but its slim design allows this handheld device to easily fit in your pocket. However, the keypad is easy to operate and the LCD screen provides easy viewing.

Features
In case you accidentally lose this device in the water, it is designed to float to the surface so you can spot it. It also features an NOAA weather alert which will allow you to know of any hazardous conditions heading your way.

9. Garmin GPSmap 276C receiver

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.3
Garmin GPSMAP 276Cx Automotive Bundle
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
80
Portability
81
Effectiveness
80
Features
80
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$698.43
Pros:

It will quickly inform you of when your boat has veered off track

Stores thousands of waypoints

Comes with an adjustable marine mounting bracket

Cons:

The resolution and size leave a lot to be desired

The GPSMAP 276C GPS Receiver from Garmin is certainly not the most advanced GSP on the market, but its GPS capabilities more than make up for that.

Read more

Ease of Use
To deliver superior data reception, the GPS receiver is WAAS-enabled and has an adjustable quad helix antenna. Plus, there are 3000 user waypoints of data that are included.

Portability
t is compatible with BlueChart g2 maps and also accepts various optional MapSource data cards. Plus, when needing to make a map transfer, you can easily connect the 276C to a device with a USB port. There is nothing technically “wrong” with this marine GPS, but it is not necessarily setting the world on fire. For most people, though, this will be an awesome addition to your boat ride.

Effectiveness
It is waterproof to IPX7 standards. What this means is that it will be protected against splashing water and short duration of water immersion. The resolution and screen size is certainly not hi-tech, at only 480 x 320 and 3.8 inches, but the enhanced sunlight readability does make it generally easy to see in daylight.

Features
If you want to use this past the marine life, you can use it in your vehicle and receive turn-by-turn directions to your desired destination. When using on water, there is a built-in feature that will inform you of when your boat has veered off the correct path.

10. Garmin GPSmap 78SC waterproof

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.5
Garmin GPSMAP 78sc Handheld GPS
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
78
Portability
79
Effectiveness
78
Features
79
best offer for today
more shops
Amazon Link
$248.00
Cabelas
$299.99
See Deal
Pros:

A microSD card slot allows for additional maps

You can wirelessly share waypoints and routes

Has a high-sensitivity receiver

Cons:

The pre-loaded maps are not sufficient for driving

This list might as well cap off with Garmin and their last product to make this list is the GPSMAP 78sc.

Read more

Ease of Use
Pre-installed on this GPS are BlueChart g2 U.S. and Bahamas coastal charts of marinas, shorelines, depth contours, harbors, and more. With a microSD card, you can also add additional maps if you so choose. If it did not feel like a device from the 20th century (in terms of the interface), this would be top-end quality.

Portability
Being waterproof to IPX7 standards, it is a perfect handheld device to use on your boat or in the water. Unfortunately, this could be a deal-breaker for some. The interface, while not terrible, is really outdated with a small 2.6-inch screen size and keypad operation.

Effectiveness
It has a high-sensitivity GPS receiver making it lock on to satellites quicker. Also, it has a built-in triple axis compass and barometric altimeter.

Features
If you enjoy sharing your tracks, waypoints, routes, and geocaches with others than the GPSMAP 78sc will accommodate you. With any compatible device users, you can wirelessly share this information. Plus, the device itself will float in the water.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Ease of Use

It might be beneficial for a GPS device to be potent in GPS technology, just a thought. When talking about a marine version, though, it is a little different to analyze. Besides the GPS, with some models, there is also the sonar you have to look out for. But, let’s start out with the GPS. Generally, it is always a plus if a GPS is a high-sensitivity version or WAAS-enabled. Both allow the system to locate satellite signals quicker and more efficiently. Also, some will use maps and some will strictly use waypoints.

But, most boating fanatics will be interested in the sonar capabilities of these devices. Not having sonar does not mean a GPS can’t be used in the water, but it offers tons of advantages. In specific, for fishermen, it can be used to detect the fish that are lurking under the surface. Thus, it is no coincidence that you will see some named “fishfinders” as that is their primary purpose. As you probably noticed throughout this list, most top-end models implement CHIRP sonar for excellent clarity of the water.

Portability

Not each marine GPS on this list has sonar capabilities, but this section is aimed at those that do. For the ones that do not, it is still important to know how far they can sink before risking permanent damage. Most will not have huge depth, maybe five feet, but take note of it. However, for marine GPS with sonar built-in, it is vital to not be ignorant and be knowledgeable of how far they will reach.

Choosing what depth suits your needs is as simple as analyzing which bodies of water you plan to visit. If you are going to boat or fish in any of the major oceans or the Great Lakes, you may want to aim for long depths of over 1000 feet. But, if you are a simple fisherman who plans to fish in their local lake, you may not need to worry as the lake may not even eclipse 500 feet. After you answer that question, you then need to make note of the different depths that sonar will travel in conjunction with the frequency and type of water. In other words, some may travel farther in freshwater than saltwater (due to the properties of saltwater). The same goes for the frequency as depending on what is being used, the farther and shorter it may reach.

Effectiveness

This criterion has nothing to do with the performance of a marine GPS, but man is it important. With any technology that has software inside, navigation of the interface will be prominent. When it comes to marine GPS, it boils down to two huge factors: screen size and navigation choice. Firstly, the screen size as well as the resolution. Generally, handheld versions will have smaller screens than mounted versions. To accommodate for convenience, handheld GPS need to be kept as small as possible. So, if you want a massive screen size shoot for a mounted version. From there, weigh how important the size is in your mind as some can range from four to nine inches.

Then, arguably more important, there is the navigation choice. A marine GPS is either going to be controlled via buttons and keypads or a touchscreen. Smartphone and tablet users will probably prefer a touchscreen interface for familiarity. With an extra-large screen size, button navigation can quickly become a hindrance. However, with handheld versions, the screens are small enough where a touchscreen interface could prove to be problematic.

Features

With technology, it is always nice when it is kept as convenient as possible. There is nothing more annoying than devices that are extra complicated and impossible to use. When speaking about marine GPS, it is all about the extra features that add convenience. This really can sway from one device to another, but here are some examples of good ones to prioritize.

For a fisherman, it is nice when the marine GPS alerts you of the speed of your boat (especially if you do not have a speedometer already) when catching specific types of fish. Some other minor features could be the ability to customize the home screen of the interface, sending a distress call when in an emergency, floating on the water when accidentally dropped or lost, and wirelessly connecting to your smartphone.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
Sort criterias acording to:
Experts Opinion Editors Opinion Users Opinion By Default
Click on a to rate the most important criteria:
#1
ico Effectiveness
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
#2
ico Portability
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
#3
ico Ease of Use
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
#4
ico Features
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
expert tips icon
Proper Usage

The reality of the situation is GPS units will function anywhere they have access to the satellites in the sky. Thus, you could potentially use a car-mounted GPS in your boat. but it is not advised you do so as the performance will not be great. Most marine GPS are loaded with topographic and shoreline maps. Sure, a car-mounted version would still get you to where you want to go but it would not give you step-by-step water navigation. Besides this, most car unit GPSs are not designed with waterproof capabilities.

Updating

Make sure you continuously keep up with updating your Marine GPS to your computer and install different apps for you to be able to use your GPS without wifi. You can save many maps or routes and for many of the Marine GPS on our list such as Garmin GPS, you want to make sure you have the most updated version in case there are new features added for you to save.

Other Factors to Consider

Apps

Obviously, this applies to devices that are programmed to use maps for GPS navigation. Some of the entries on this list strictly use waypoints and do not use maps. For these, the issue of maps will never come up. However, for those that do, you may want one that comes equipped with several maps of lakes, shorelines, and marinas.

Also, even if they do, you may also be interested in adding extra maps to the device. Typically, the best way to do this is through a microSD card, so keep an eye out for models that have one included. With this, if a lake or marina is not loaded on your marine GPS, you could go to a certain site and download the specific map for it. Past this, an SD card (for some models) could also allow you to take screenshots of any sonar readings you want to document.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: What is a Marine GPS Transducer?

a:

This term came up during this guide, but you still may not be 100 percent sure what it means. For science gurus, you should know that a transducer is a device that converts energy from one form to another, typically being a signal of some kind. For a fish finder, this is the heart of the entire system. What this device will do is change the electrical pulses into sound waves. In turn, it sends out these sound waves and receives the echoes that it hears. This is what allows you to view what is lurking under the surface. When the transducer sends out these sound waves, you can then see the fish and objects on your GPS device. If you plan to use a marine GPS device as a fish finder, then this is an essential key to the puzzle.

q: How Do You Install the GPS on Your Boat?

a:

Do not over complicate this as installing the GPS on your boat is not a hard task. However, it will vary depending on the type that you have. What it boils down to is if you have an internal or external antenna. With GPS devices that have an internal antenna, all you need to ensure is that it has a direct line to the satellites in the sky. These kinds are typically intended for smaller boats with hood access. If you have an external GPS antenna it works fairly similar, but there are a few differences.

Firstly, ensure that the antenna is installed on the top of the device in a way that has direct access to satellites (remember, the satellites are above you). From there, you need to connect the antenna to your GPS receiver and wire it back to the console. After this, you can begin to turn it on and enjoy GPS technology on the water.

q: How Do You Properly Use a Chartplotter?

a:

Once you get the hang of a GPS, it becomes easier to control and function. But, when you are first using a chart plotter it can be confusing. If you follow these simple steps, though, you will be a master in no time. To begin, set your first waypoint. If you do not know how to look inside the manual as it should say which button to hit. Your first waypoint (which is a position on the chart) could essentially be your starting place and from there, you could set the next waypoint to your desired location.

To prevent yourself from having to route the full destination, which you can do by setting various waypoints along the way, if the device has it you can click on the “Go-To” function. This will provide you with the direction to go and the remaining time to reach it. It really is as simple as that and you can add as many waypoints as needed.

q: Can You Splice a Transducer Cable?

a:

During your use of the transducer, there may come a time where you damage the cable. Whether by accident or not, you may be able to manually fix it. If need be, you can splice the cable to return it to working order. To do so, you must be very careful and first remove the plastic cover over the center of the wire. Then, peel back a section of the outer wire. Now, you want to put electric tape on both the outer wire and center wire in a way so they do not touch one another. You can simply weave the outer wire away from the center.

For extra precaution, you could also apply liquid electrical tape to the entire wire and also a sealant. Of course, if you do not feel like going through this hassle you can also choose to get a new cable.

q: Is It Possible to Use marine GPS on a Kayak?

a:

Yes, if you are using a fish finder or marine GPS with sonar, you can mount the transducer on a kayak. Due to sonar being sound, it can go through solids with little to no hassle. If you are willing to do a little work, you can make it work on your kayak. To begin, prepare the hull of your kayak (which is the main body) by cleaning it with rubbing alcohol. From there, apply some sort of silicone or adhesive to the hull and stick the transducer to it. But, be sure to get all air bubbles out as sonar waves can become compromised if they hit any air.

Sources

  1. Alex Moore, 10 best marine gps , article
  2. Jordan Carter, 7 best marine gps systems of 2019, article