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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

Looking for ideas for a decent but not toally expensive GPS/Depth finder for my 17' boat.

This will be my first so your suggestions are greatly appreciated!
 

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Charlie, I have always used Lowrance and my current LMS339c internal antenna GPS Locator' combo has been good but not as good as an external antenna. Since moving south I see most use Garmin. I hear the Garmin is more user friendly but that comes from owners and I haven't had any issues with any Lowrance products. Go try them out and get the biggest screen you can fit.
 

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About 8 years ago I bought a lowrance M68C S-map unit, and it's been mounted on a ton of boats over the years. Held up better than any unit I've ever had.

http://www.lowrance.com/Products/Marine/Compact-Sonar-Fishfinders/M68C-SMap/

On a small boat it doesn't take up much dash space, it's got an internal antenna, is accurate, very easy to use and does the job. Easily viewed in any angle in the sun.

Plus, you can pop it off the boat in 2 seconds and put it in your fishing bag for safe keeping, which is important on a small hull when stored.

Pic of it on the old tunnel hull:


On a small console:


On a gheenoe:


Possibilities are endless with that little unit!

-T
 

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I would consider...budget vs. most important features for intended use vs. time you intend to keep it.

I've had good luck with the three Garmin units I've had, generally like the features/ performance and have gotten 6-7 years plus of solid use from them all. I had a Humminbird sounder on a previous boat and have a Humminbird 383GPS/Sounder on my skiff now, but have not been impressed with them. My business partner just ordered a Lowrance HDS-7 on our company boat to replace our Garmin 2006C unit from 04 that has a bad cable plug. Can't comment on the Lowrance yet. I have read a few posts where people complained of customer service issues with them, but it appears to have some great graphics and performance. Maybe someone else can comment.

Get the biggest screen you can afford (especially if it is a GPS/Sounder) and fit on the console, chart detail and good basemap which are great when/if you travel to less familiar waters. I live where we have vast expanses of marsh similar to 10K islands or the glades and the larger screen has made navigation much less of a hassle. Portable is nice, but you tradeoff with the size. Don’t neglect to spend the time/money to hook it up solid so it works properly when you need it. I have had a few trips that were hindered by a bad electronics install by someone who was supposed to know what they were doing, so I do my own installs now and feel more confident that I can troubleshoot on the water if necessary and know that it is done properly.

Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter #6
When you talk about a balance of price and features, how much is a good baseline? I found that lowrance for a great price but it seems after that the price jumps quite quickly.
 

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i love my garmin 441s. for a gheenoe i only need the 4" screen, but i could see how a 5 inch screen could be beneficial(541s)

i really love my garmin, its very user friendly, very accurate, and the bottom machine is very true. i found mine WITH the transducer for just under $500. Well worth the money.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
How about this one: 787c2 Hummingbird

The dealer where I got my boat has one for $475 intalled with transducer!
 

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I don't have much time playing with units other than the lowrance I posted about and a humminbird 998cSI unit (two completely different ends of the spectrum here), but I can tell you that the lowrance unit is MUCH more user friendly and a joy to work with.

On a smaller boat like a gheenoe or small skiff where you don't need to use the unit to navigate at speed through obstacles/channels I think the lowrance is a great choice.

It isn't as advanced as something with a large screen, but doesn't cost nearly as much.

The other posters brought up some excellent points on a larger screen size being a plus when needed for navigation at speed through unknown areas.

The lowrance is a great unit if you just want to know where you are, how to get to a waypoint/area you want to get to, how deep it is, find fish, bait, etc.

Beyond that, there are tons of features available on a lot of different units/brands. Try going to gander or BPS and playing with them for a minute to get to know the personality of each brand and whether you like them or not.

-T
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks. For the price I couldn't pass up the hummingbird. It includes the transducer, se florida maps and installed. I'll let you know next week after it's installed!
 

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i love my garmin 441s.  for a gheenoe i only need the 4" screen, but i could see how a 5 inch screen could be beneficial(541s)

i really love my garmin, its very user friendly, very accurate, and the bottom machine is very true. i found mine WITH the transducer for just under $500.  Well worth the money.
I agree with chasing tail. The Garmin 441s is the total package for me. Got one for my birthday. Right now its super user friendly...then again its still in the box.
 

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You guys with the Garmin 441s...how detailed are the preloaded maps? I'm debating getting one in a few weeks.
 
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