It’s important for any boat captain to be aware of their surroundings in order to stay safe and to plan their route. That especially includes the landscape underneath your boat. A chartplotter is the perfect tool for this. A chartplotter is an electronic navigation system that combines a GPS receiver and an electronic display of marine charts & maps. This allows the boat owner to monitor the surroundings of their vessel, both above and below the water, at any time.
Chart plotters are of great importance to boat owners for two main reasons. The first is the ability to record your route for the future. This reduces the risk of getting lost and possibly veering off course. The other main benefit of navigation aids is the safety they provide. When boating, safety is always a top priority. Chart plotters are the perfect tool to show your vessel’s exact position and any obstructions that may be under the water.
There are many different models of chart plotters and navigation aids available to boat owners. The one that is best for you will depend on the size of your vessel, and also its main use (fishing vs. recreational). There are quite a few features that you should look for when choosing a chart plotter for your boat. Here are some of the most important things to consider:
- Internal or remote mounted GPS antenna
- What the radar capabilities are
- The type of internal sonar used
- The additional sonar features
- Processor speed
- Screen resolution
- If it is Wi-fi enabled
- Navigational charts
With all of the chart plotters on the market, Marine Professionals goal is to make it easier for boat owners to find the navigation aid that is perfect for them. Here are some recommendations for chart plotters based on the size of your vessel:
- Small Craft Chart Plotters – Garmin EchoMap Series
The Garmin EchoMap Series uses Ultra High Definition scanning sonar to get photographic images of the bottom of the body of water. The touchscreen displays all come equipped with key-assist controls, built-in high def scanning sonar, coastal charts, inland maps, sonar sharing, network capabilities, and much more. This chart plotter series offers enhanced quality, access to preloaded inland maps, data sharing capabilities, map creation abilities, and an expanded coverage area.
- Medium or Large Vessel Chart Plotters – Raymarine Axiom XL
The Axiom XL range is the pinnacle of Raymarine navigation and modern helm integration.
Designed for glass bridge installations, Axiom XL displays offer superior performance, large format visibility, and elegant simplicity. Engineered to perform in extreme conditions, the fully waterproof Axiom XL family of glass bridge MFDS can be installed in both open cockpits and enclosed bridge stations. Each model uses in-plane switching technology (IPS) and Raymarine optical bonding to deliver wider viewing angles, sharp contrast, and unmatched readability in the bright sun.
Available in 16, 19, 22 and 24-inch display sizes, Axiom XL’s edge-to-edge glass construction gives vessel designers the ability to create integrated and elegant navigation helm appearance.
- Medium or Large Vessel Chart Plotters – Garmin 8600 Series
The Garmin 8600 Chart Plotter Series now comes in 10” to 24” displays. Chartploter/sonar combo units are available in 10”, 12” and 16” models with full in-plane switching (IPS) touchscreen displays, support for traditional, scanning and Panoptix™ sonar, preloaded coastal charts and inland maps featuring Navionics™ data and Auto Guidance technology.
Of all the electronics you could choose to incorporate into your boat, a chart plotter is one that is essential. It helps with navigation, route-planning & tracking, and ensures the safety of everyone on board. It is important to make sure that the navigation aid you choose is appropriate for both the size of your vessel and the intended use.
Marine Professionals Incorporated is happy to install and test any of the chart plotters mentioned above to ensure proper functionality and accuracy. Make the choice today to incorporate this essential piece of technology into your vessel, and allow the professionals at MPI to be your partner in creating a safe boating experience.