View Full Version : Electronic Charts?

04-07-2016, 09:43 AM
Anybody use the electronic charts and navigation systems for laptops or tablets on the houseboat? What do you like, and why?

Putting a fancy Garmin or other high-end built-in glass display/radar/etc on our boat would have been $5 collar on a fifty-cent dog. Our little fishfinder was cheap enough, and we figured we'd start small and go from there, see how much fancy we needed. Turned out, so far, not much.
We started with a pc-based software, the free Open CPN on a laptop, then we acquired an iPad for aviation GPS navigation, and were mightily impressed at the accuracy, speed, intuitiveness, and above all, the sheer capability of the software options. Amazing! So we tried a couple of marine nav apps, and like iSailor very much, in particular. The iPad case props the gadget up on the console. It's bright, easy to read, lots of flexibility and detail.
Why, yes, I CAN, if I must, plot a course on paper, with chart plotter, pencil, dividers and such-like, know the 60D/ST formula, and computing magnetic deviation, wind correction angles, and all that, but I trust the computer's arithmetic more, leaves me more time for looking out the window for crab pots.

Some of the apps show marinas, facilities, phone numbers, user reviews, satelliite photos, how far off course you are, offer anchor alarms, and of course, depict government-issued chart data, bridge heights, and water depths as of the last survey. The subscription generally covers updates forever. Easy to download current charts for the next leg of the route. I do like gadgetry, especially multi-function gadgetry.

Do you who cruise in charted waters use these things?

04-07-2016, 05:49 PM
To answer your question yes. The down side is that todays generation has grown up as these instruments have matured. Most current boaters don't know how to navigate without electronics. If they have a an equipment failure their "Sheet out of luck."

Were all guilty. If my GPS in my truck cant find an address I say Screw it and don't go. When your on the water this is not an option.


04-09-2016, 07:41 PM
I run the Raymarine C80 chartplotter that was installed by TPO. I carry a 11" Android tablet running the Navionics software as a backup. Chart updates are easy. If the GPS satellites go, we have larger problems.

I haven't looked at a paper chart in years.

04-13-2016, 03:24 PM
If the GPS satellite system goes tango-uniform, my beloved little airplane might be for sale. :D I have become a huge fan of the magenta line. And on-board near-real-time weather information. On the water, it seems not a big deal. I can figure out where we are on our houseboat, because we're never out of sight of land, (so far, all in familiar waters) the channel markers have numbers on them, and we have lots of time, at 7 knots, to figure it all out. Life has become much easier now that I don't have to drag out the sextant.