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In our advanced modern world today where we are surrounded by satellites in outer space, tracking has never been easier for as long as you have a GPS-enabled device. Through this breakthrough technology, the compass has taken the backseat for a more visual and accurate form of navigation. With this new system, one would never get lost in the sea ever again.

Marine GPS devices basically use either integrated mapping or graph plotter in order to provide users a clear and definite illustration of one’s current position, the target position, and the available routes.

All these are made possible by the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), which uses extra multiple ground reference stations across the Unites States, mainly in North America. South America has yet to fully implement this type of ground reference stations.

If you are seriously considering a marine global positioning system, you might want to check the system they are using. WAAS is clearly an excellent characteristic that one must consider.

Handheld Marine GPS

Are you into fishing or boating? Do you have your own boat or do you just rent? Do you have your own marine GPS device or do you frequently rely on either your friend’s devices or the rented boat’s built-in GPS device?

First, when going at the open sea especially for more than a day, you have got to have a backup marine GPS device especially if you are not exactly an expert with reading longitudes and latitudes and plotting the position on a paper chart. Yes this is the basic thing that every mariner is taught. However, we cannot say the same especially for hobbyists or those who just suddenly happened to love fishing.

Handheld GPS devices are compact units that can be brought anywhere at any given time without the need for cables. They are usually battery operated with a built-in internal memory. This basically is made to deliver versatile mapping and are waterproof. In fact, most handheld marine GPS has the great ability of floating in water. Thus, they can be effectively used either on land or on water with utmost accuracy.

Some of the newer versions of handheld marine GPS devices now offer a micro-SD card slot where one can add in other data or information such as more maps and pre-planned routes. Another common feature today as well is the ability to sync with laptop and computers for better viewing and analyzation of all gathered data.

Experts say that handheld GPS devices pretty much function the same way with the same quality as that of a fixed-mounted GPS device. The former, however, offers portability making it easy to carry around especially if you use a different boat every now and then. Price range of the best handheld marine GPS devices today are somewhere between $150 and $500.

Fixed-Mounted Marine GPS

Do you own a boat? Do you spend a considerable amount of time on your boat during your days off from work? If your answer is yes to both questions, then you should definitely check out the fixed-mounted marine GPS system.

This type of GPS system has the largest displays and the most number of features. However, they are designed to be installed permanently. You cannot keep transferring it from one boat to another every weekend. As the name says, it is fixed mounted.

Fixed-mounted GPS devices use the boat’s domestic supply of electricity which basically eliminates the need for batteries. It is actually more dependable than good old batteries. While there are rechargeable batteries nowadays, it is still more convenient to hook up with a stable and continuous electrical supply.

In addition, these are generally considered to be easier to use because of the larger display, hence, a better view of where you are, the things ahead, and the suggested routes to take.

If you are decided on getting a fixed-mounted marine GPS system, make sure it does support electronic charts as this does come in handy at more times than you would expect. However, fixed-mounted GPS devices with electronic charts typically cost higher with the least expensive starting at around $300.

Bottom Line

Marine GPS systems are without a doubt the heart of modern marine navigation that benefits everyone who plans to enter the vast sea area. From your ground speed to optional routes, and even estimated date and time of arrival for some units, these wonderful systems bring a long list of benefits.

Handheld and fixed-mounted GPS devices are manufactured by recognised GPS brands like Garmin, Lowrance, Furuno, Raymarine and Humminbird.

Raymarine e127 Marine GPS chart plotter and fish finder

Raymarine e127 Marine GPS chart plotter

However, one would have to choose between handheld or fixed mounted GPS devices. The answer here would depend upon one’s preferences and needs. As what we have already mentioned above, it does not seem right to get a fixed-mounted GPS system when you do not have your own boat to start with. Because of this, rules are more in favor of handheld marine GPS systems as anyone, regardless if he actually owns a boat or not, can go ahead and purchase this accordingly.

A bunch of experts insist on getting both if you have the vessel and the money. Having both will surely come in handy for those emergency situations and in cases where there is a device system redundancy.