Best Marine GPS Reviews 2017 – 2018

If there are GPS trackers used in automobiles or handheld for personal applications, there is also the best marine GPS. People who are working offshore require this device for positioning and traversing the wide span of waters in any area. Without a tracker, getting lost in an area near a storm would likely be the result.

You could prove the efficacy of the device by having one for yourself. Apart from built-in trackers in marine vehicles, it is advantageous to bring this device for yourself in case of emergencies. However, even the selection of the said product must be done with care.

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Best Marine GPS Review

Garmin eTrex 10 Marine GPS

The boat GPS is one of the most trustworthy products in navigating the seas. It is a handheld device that has pre-installed maps all over the world. The tracking gadget is also made for rugged travels.

Garmin eTrex 10 is designed with a 2.2-inch monochrome display and Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS)-enabled receiver. To provide quick positioning, it has a reliable network and support from both Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) and HotFix. It is even in compliance with the standards of IPX7 since it is resistant not only to water but also to acid rain and rough splashes.

Besides the tracking device itself, it comes with a spine mount. You could use it up to 20 hours with its dual AA batteries. Compared with other devices, it supports geocaching to download geocaches right from your device.

Garmin eTrex 10 stores and displays information, including hints, descriptions, hazards, and terrain apart from the location. This also means you no longer have to learn how to enter coordinates manually or use hard copies of maps.

Amazingly, it is the first-ever product that could track both GLONASS and GPS satellites. The former is a Russian Federation developed system. GLONASS is known for locking in a location 20 times faster than a GPS.

If you are a beginner in using GPS for a fleet, this could be a great choice. It simplifies every activity to be carried out, beginning with loading maps and waypoints. The protection of the device is even easier as proven by its waterproof and rugged housing.

Pros

  • Has a worldwide basemap.
  • Geocaching minus the paper.
  • Works with GLONASS satellites.
  • Applicable for photo geotagging.
  • Has decent signal quality.

Cons

  • Instructions are insufficient.
Sale
Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS...
634 Reviews
Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS...
  • Rugged handheld navigator with preloaded worldwide basemap and 2.2-inch...
  • WAAS-enabled GPS receiver with HotFix and GLONASS support for fast...
  • Waterproof to IPX7 standards for protection against splashes, rain, etc.

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Garmin 64 Marine GPS

The GPS Tracker is known for its full-featured system that connects with both GLONASS and GPS. It has a handheld design and a 2.6-inch color screen that makes maps still readable even under the sunlight. Besides syncing with GPS and GLONASS, it works with quad helix antenna.

According to Garmin marine GPS review, the product also comes with a built-in 4 GB internal storage and a slot for external microSD card. Moreover, it is bundled with 250,000 geocaches from Geocaching.com. You may use it even in rugged areas without having problems with the reception.

Ease in using the device is readily available since it is preloaded with basemap for worldwide use. You could use it to navigate anywhere with the assistance of photos. You may even download pictures with geotags and find their location instantly.

Apart from its quick navigation, Garmin 64 could also sustain its location even in deepest or heavily covered areas. Adding more maps is even manageable since you have plenty of memory to use. Besides the marine charts, you may plug in data from City Navigator NT and BlueChart g2 for road routes.

Pros

  • Connects to GLONASS for quick positioning.
  • Battery lasts longer by two to three times.
  • Customized maps.
  • Readable screen on both bright and low lights.
  • Usable while driving and hiking.

Cons

  • Menus are complicated.
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Garmin GPSMAP 64 Worldwide with...
993 Reviews
Garmin GPSMAP 64 Worldwide with...
  • Sunlight-Readable 2.6" color display
  • Expanded Internal Memory 4GB
  • DUAL BATTERY SYSTEM Use with 2 traditional AA batteries, or the optional...

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Raymarine Dragonfly 4 Marine GPS

The marine GPS review of this product is also worth taking note of. It is one of the products under the Dragonfly series of Raymarine. The device is marketed as a superior fishing electronics solution with CHIRP DownVision feature for displays perfected for all weather.

The sonar technology of Raymarine Dragonfly 4 is more than what standard boaters have been used to. It has a genuine all-encompassing spectrum. Consequently, you will be able to transmit more sonar signals to the bodies of water.

Through the said feature, you could target more species, interpret the details of the areas, and have a clearer view of the sea areas with image assistance. The LCD display of Raymarine Dragonfly 4 is also developed to generate sharper contrast, brighter hues, and fog-resistant views.

You may mount the device anywhere since it comes with a fixation system powered by a compact ball-and-socket design. In case you want an upgrade to an aftermarket type, this could also be done easily. The waterproof ratings of the device are IPX6 and IPX7.

Pros

  • Produces photo-like and high-quality maps.
  • WiFi connection to a smartphone is seamless.
  • Easy to interpret images.
  • Straightforward functions.
  • Lightweight feel.

Cons

  • Software update crashes.
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Raymarine Dragonfly Pro CHIRP Fish...
126 Reviews
Raymarine Dragonfly Pro CHIRP Fish...
  • 4.3" All-weather, high-definition LED backlit display
  • Optically bonded for sharp color, wide viewing angles and no internal...
  • Dual-channel sonar - wide-spectrum CHIRP DownVision sonar for photo-like...

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Garmin 78sc Marine GPS

This is a marine handheld GPS tracker that comes with a barometer and a compass. The high-performance system is ideal for both water sports athletes and boaters. It is designed for rugged use and includes preloaded United States marine charts.

Besides its coastal charts in America, barometer, and three-axis compass, Garmin 78sc also has a microSD card slot, high-sensitivity receiver, and grips molded with a rubber material. It amazingly floats, giving you more reasons to bring it even in the middle of the sea. Its worldwide basemap includes navaids, shorelines, marinas, depth contours, and harbors.

Since Garmin 78sc comes with a compass, it will be easier for you to check where you are heading. The barometric altimeter of the system is also useful in monitoring your altitude changes in real time. This will also be helpful in forecasting weather conditions.

The GPS device can connect to compatible gadgets wirelessly. This enables you to share geocaches, waypoints, routes, and tracks. Sharing data is as easy as hitting the send button.

It features HotFix satellite prediction and a receiver powered with WAAS. This makes the positioning proper quicker.

Pros

  • Quick searching for satellites.
  • Switches between display screens.
  • Comes with a built-in compass and barometer.
  • Consists of MOB security feature.
  • Serves as a backup unit.

Cons

  • Screen is not readable under bright sunlight.
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Garmin GPSMAP 78sc Waterproof Marine GPS...
183 Reviews
Garmin GPSMAP 78sc Waterproof Marine GPS...
  • Marine-friendly handheld with high-sensitivity GPS receiver and 2.6-inch...
  • Perfect for boating/watersports--waterproof to IPX7 standards; floats in...
  • Built-in BlueChart g2 U.S./Bahamas coastal charts with shorelines, depth...

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Lowrance 000-11176-001 Marine GPS

If you are looking for a handheld marine navigator, this could be your best boat GPS option. Though it does not possess the major features of other GPS systems, it has a basemap and points of interests (POIs). Lowrance marine GPS will track not only bodies of water, but also fields, roads, and landscapes, making it useful for driving.

Moreover, you simply have to send the coordinate to the device in order to make geocaching happen instantly. Since it connects to Geocaching.com, you could get numerous options and functions crucial for navigation. There is also an additional feature of archiving accessible areas for a successful hunt.

Lowrance 000-11176-001 has a touchscreen interface, giving you ease in working through menus. If you are in the woods, you might as well dim the display but expect it to be still readable. The marine GPS has a significant battery life of as much as 11 hours using dual AA batteries.

The device has a waterproof rating of IPX7. It is also bundled with preloaded Nations Gold charts.

Pros

  • User-friendly GPS tracker.
  • Works in the woods for hunting.
  • Ideal for beginners.
  • Good reception even in unfamiliar areas.
  • Easy installation.

Cons

  • Not for heavy-duty marine navigation.

Types of Marine GPS

Before you pay for the best marine GPS for the money, it is ideal to learn more about the product. Basically, there are different types of the tracking device. Given below are the following, which could also help narrow down your choices:

1) Fixed Mount Units – From the name itself, it will be fixated on the fleet. It comes with a mount, which helps in the installation of GPS in your fleet. However, take note that once installed, it could no longer be removed.

There are large GPS units that could be mounted on your fleet, which have an average size of approximately seven inches. Most of the fixed mount GPS units today feature a touchscreen. Many prefer this for professional use since it could serve as an all-in-one device.

It may also be linked with radar and sonar. For it is packed with a lot of features, expect that it is offered at a considerably higher price.

2) Handheld Marine GPS – This is an in-demand type of GPS since it is handheld, which means you could carry it anywhere when you are not on board. Besides being used for marine purposes, you might as well use it to track locations when cycling or hiking. Obviously, the maps will be more different since these will be in marine charts.

It will likely have a smaller screen due to its reduced dimensions. When you are not steering, it is a great device to use on other boats. Since it is battery-powered, you do not have to worry about plugging it elsewhere.

However, this may not be the great choice for others who are looking for more features. It may also not be as versatile as its counterparts. The smaller screen also makes reading and positioning more difficult.

3) Portable Marine GPS – This is considered to be the most versatile, but not as filled with capabilities as the first. It is almost similar to the appearance of GPS in cars. At present, most of the portable marine GPS devices also feature a touchscreen interface.

Physically, the device could be too large to hold despite its “portable” description. People choose to mount it instead. Nonetheless, it is a target of most theft since it could easily be removed.

The larger display makes navigation easier. You may even use it on the road. Depending on the model or brand, it may also connect to sonar.

What to Look For When Buying

Your choice of boat navigation system must comply with your preferences for personal and corporate use. Remember, not all GPS trackers are meant to be used off the road. Moreover, there are products that have limited features.

To ensure that you will get a device with a full package of capabilities, you should verify its features. You may consider the following while choosing a product from your shortlisted options:

1) Number of Satellites – You must determine the number of satellites a marine GPS tracker uses. The key is to find a device that could at least connect to 12 satellites. This is a customary that makes a navigation system worth the buy.

The more satellites are synced into the marine GPS device, the more accurate it is. At present, a unit could be considered high quality if it uses all 24 GPS satellites.

Screen Size. The smaller the screen size is, the more difficult it is to navigate the maps. You have to read coordinates and layouts at the same time. If you do not want to make incorrect assumptions, look for a bigger screen.

Marine navigation involves studying the lake bed, shallow areas, and all of the rocks you could see. By having a bigger interface, you could see everything.

2) Sonar Capability – It is a must to find a GPS tracker that has sonar on board. Otherwise, it must at least be able to link to sonar. There are new models that utilize WiFi to display sonar on both smartphones and tablets.

3) Portability – You do not necessarily have to settle with a handheld device given it has a smaller screen although it could be useful for other applications. If you use the GPS tracker for professional purposes, look for one that is mounted on a fleet with a bigger screen.

4) Computer Connection – The GPS device is also more ideal if it connects to a computer. You need this in order to either save or have a backup of maps, routes, and waypoints. Through the connection to a PC, you could also purchase or download extra maps when needed.

5) Marine Charts – There must be nautical and optional charts available in the device. Usually, upon purchasing a device, the bundle includes the basic marine charts. However, if you need optional ones, you may as well get the highway maps for road use.

6) Safety Features – You should not forget how useful safety features are. Among these attributes is a 12-channel receiver, which allows you to receive a signal when you are offshore. Moreover, you have the arrival alarm you will know when to run up onto the dock.

Collision alarm is also valuable since it could give a warning if the fleet is close to an object that may result to accidents. Low-battery alert is also helpful, particularly if you need to replace batteries. Also, you have the Man over board (MOB) feature, which gives the boaters idea the location of an incident to be attended urgently.

Usage Safety Tips

After getting your best GPS for boats, you also have to learn how to use it properly, particularly if it is your first time. There are cases you may also need a refresher even if you have been utilizing navigation systems previously. At present, GPS systems for marine use are becoming more complex due to added features.

To get the most out of the product, here are professional tips that will help:

1) Install the Device Properly – Installation of the device gives high consideration on the antenna attached to the GPS tracker. There are units with external antennas, whereas the rest have internal ones. The fixation of either of the two varies.

If you are dealing with a GPS for marine use having an external antenna, you need to ensure that the device is installed on the boat hard cover’s top part. There must also be a direct site line to the satellites it is connected to. Moreover, it must be linked back to the console and receiver.

2) Test the Reception – Signal reception has always been an issue in using GPS devices. It is necessary to test your device for good satellite connection. This must be done in the fleet where it will be used.

In case there is a poor connection, you may purchase a separate antenna. This is a proven way of improving the signal reception to the satellite.

3) Familiarize Yourself – Before you even use it in actual operations, you should not forget to read the manual. This is imperative so you will not miss understanding the added features of the product. Chances are that newly bought GPS trackers have additional capabilities.

Reading the manual will not only help you use the device. Instead, you will also have improved knowledge on the terms used in marine navigation.

If you are a beginner, you could start with the basics. For instance, you have to be aware that a triangle or boat symbol represents your vessel. From this simple information, you will have ideas of its distances to other areas and related coordinates.

4) Verify the Maps – You should not depend on the preloaded maps in the device. This is the case even in products with a worldwide basemap. It is still necessary to check if the maps give you details of the regions you need to work on.

5) Try Getting More Charts – There are charts downloadable from the web, which will provide significant value to your navigational needs. Most of the time, you could get the other charts in the official website of the provider or manufacturer of the device.

Conclusion

There may be tons of high-quality marine GPS trackers available on the market apart from the ones given above, but Garmin eTrex 10 Marine GPS is obviously the most recommendable one. It comes from the trusted GPS producer, Garmin, and has a noteworthy larger internal memory feature, which is unlikely in portable GPS trackers. Besides, it is offered at a considerably lower price, giving beginners a taste of great quality device.

Otherwise, you may check out another product. It is normal that every system could provide satisfaction to its users. There are cases that one may prefer Garmin trackers, whereas others do not.

Ultimately, if you find the selection generally perplexing, you should choose a product that meets your needs ultimately.