Aftermarket Must-Haves: Electronics

May 2014 Product Lee Lovell

Houseboat magazine generally attracts three types of readers: those who own a houseboat, those who are looking to purchase their first one and those who love to dream of the experience of owning one some day.

Appropriately though, the main focus seems to be on the big picture: owning a houseboat of your own. Once you take ownership though, the picture changes at that point.

The accessories that you purchase are a big factor in determining how much you’ll enjoy the ownership of your new home on the water. The small things can make a big difference.

This roundup takes a look at some accessories we love that you can add to your new or existing houseboat. While are not able to cover every product that is available, the next few pages will give you a great starting point.


With the many great advances in technology, so have the resources available to navigate the waters. Particularly in relation to houseboating, there are many exciting devices available to make sure your trip on the houseboat is as easy and enjoyable as possible. Also, with the range of features that are available for houseboat electronics, it is enough to make anyone drool with features from simple maps to the ability to gauge the weather.

We have long enjoyed Garmin’s lineup of electronics for houseboats. Garmin’s GPS 431 and GPS 536 are great for those looking to get great features at a great price. The GPS 431 comes with an ultra-bright 4-inch touchscreen display and incredibly quick map drawing and panning speeds. The GPS 536 features a 5-inch touchscreen display and has the ability to receive graphical weather data through an optional satellite receiver. Both models have built-in, satellite-enhanced base maps with U.S. Garmin Lakes and an SD card slot for expansion.

Lowrance also offers a great lineup of electronics that are ideal for houseboaters. Lowrance recently expanded its HDS Gen2 line with the introduction of the wide-format HDS Gen2 Touch. The unit has all the same features of its HDS Gen2 line with the addition of 7-, 9- and 12-inch touchscreen displays. Its built-in sonar technologies—the Broadband Sounder and StructureScan HD—help make navigation easier and feature integration with satellite inland weather data and XM satellite radio.




The most important part of owning a houseboat is getting out on the water and having a great time surrounded by family and friends. With the addition of these great products to your houseboat, and many others that we didn’t have the space to list, you can ensure that the time you spend on the water is full of great memories instead of worrying about the small stuff.


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