Marine GPS systems are essential tools for boaters and sailors navigating the open waters. These devices assist in plotting courses, keeping track of your position, and ensuring a safe and efficient journey. Marine GPS systems incorporate advanced satellite technology to provide accurate, reliable information about your location and surrounding areas.
A high-quality marine GPS system can make a significant difference when venturing out onto the water. With precision guidance and user-friendly interfaces, these devices enable boaters to confidently traverse oceans, lakes, or rivers. Moreover, modern marine GPS systems often come with additional features such as wireless connectivity, integration with other onboard systems, and built-in chart plotting capabilities.
When selecting the best marine GPS system, it is crucial to consider factors such as screen size, the availability of charts, ease of use, and durability. Additionally, it is important to account for water resistance and battery life as they contribute to a device’s performance and longevity in harsh marine environments.
We dedicated ourselves to researching and testing a variety of marine GPS systems to help you find the ones that optimize your navigation needs and enhance your boating experience.
Best Marine GPS Systems
We have compiled a list of the best marine GPS systems to help you navigate the waters with ease and confidence. Check out our top picks below.
Simrad Cruise 5-5-inch GPS Chartplotter
The Simrad Cruise 5 is a solid choice for boaters seeking an easy-to-use, reliable marine GPS system with essential features.
- Intuitive and user-friendly interface
- Preloaded US coastal map with support for enhanced charts
- Depth readings, position, and other critical boat information displayed
- Screen size might feel smaller than advertised
- Does not allow for chips to improve image quality
- Included maps might not draw lake outlines accurately
We recently tried the Simrad Cruise 5-inch GPS Chartplotter and found it to be an ideal marine GPS system for straightforward use. With its intuitive menus and rotary dial, navigating between screens was a breeze, making it effortless to obtain the information we needed while out on the water.
The device came preloaded with a US coastal map, which was convenient and supported enhanced charts from C-MAP and Navionics. All the essential details like depth readings, position, and battery voltage were clearly displayed, giving us situational awareness throughout our trip.
However, there were a few drawbacks to the Simrad Cruise 5. The actual screen size felt smaller than the advertised 5 inches, which might be a concern for some users. Additionally, the device does not allow for any chips to improve image quality. Lastly, we noticed that the preloaded maps didn’t always draw the lake outlines accurately, making them appear squared off.
Despite these flaws, the Simrad Cruise 5 delivers reliable and easy-to-use navigation capabilities that make it worthwhile for anyone in search of a marine GPS system.
Garmin OnDeck Marine System
This Garmin OnDeck Marine System is a highly recommended option due to its remote connectivity and tracking capabilities.
- Comprehensive remote connectivity solution
- Full integration with other marine devices
- Monitors security, temperature, and other sensors
- Subscription required for full functionality
- Requires 3G/4G network connection for notifications
- Limited alarm customization options
After using the Garmin OnDeck Marine System, we’re confident this solution is perfect for boat owners seeking advanced tracking and monitoring. The system allows users to control switches and monitor their boat’s security from anywhere, thanks to its integration with the ActiveCaptain app.
On a recent trip, we appreciated the configurable alarms that notified us of any unauthorized entry, changes in battery status, and bilge activity. Our boat’s location was also easy to track with the inbuilt GPS sensor. However, we did find that customization for these alarms was somewhat limited.
Integration with marine electronics like the Garmin Marine Network and NMEA 2000 sensors ensures a seamless addition to the existing marine system. Additionally, the Garmin OnDeck system collects essential data through the GTB 10 hub that securely stores it in the cloud for 30 days.
Overall, the Garmin OnDeck Marine System provides excellent connectivity for monitoring and controlling various aspects of your boat. However, it’s crucial to note that a subscription is required to maximize its features, and a 3G/4G connection is necessary to receive updates and notifications. Despite these cons, we believe that the Garmin OnDeck Marine System is a valuable investment for boat owners who want comprehensive monitoring capabilities and peace of mind.
Garmin GPSMAP 78sc Waterproof Marine GPS and Chartplotter
The Garmin GPSMAP 78sc is a solid choice for boating enthusiasts seeking a reliable and feature-packed marine GPS.
- Bright 2.6-inch color display
- Waterproof and floats on water
- Built-in basemap and detailed coastal charts
- Difficulty entering waypoints using the pointer
- Limited to U.S. maps
- Steeper initial learning curve for menu options
We recently used the Garmin GPSMAP 78sc on a boating trip, and we were genuinely impressed with its bright 2.6-inch color display that remained visible even under bright sunlight. This proved to be a significant improvement over older models, which were difficult to see in similar conditions.
The 78sc is not only waterproof but also floats, giving us peace of mind knowing that even if it accidentally goes for a swim with us, we can quickly retrieve it. The built-in basemap and detailed coastal charts of the U.S. and Bahamas made navigation a breeze on our trip, with shorelines, depth contours, navaids, harbors, and marinas easily accessible.
However, we found entering waypoints using the panning pointer could be more streamlined, as it made the process more challenging than with previous models. Additionally, the GPSMAP 78sc only has U.S. maps preloaded, so we had to purchase a separate Canadian microSD card for our sailing trip beyond the US waters.
The initial learning curve for the menu options was slightly steep, but once we got the hang of it, the GPS became highly functional, offering a day of continuous use with just two AA batteries.
Overall, we think the Garmin GPSMAP 78sc Waterproof Marine GPS and Chartplotter is a robust choice for boating and watersports enthusiasts looking for a reliable GPS with excellent features and a bright display. Just be prepared for a steeper learning curve and the need for additional maps if you intend to sail internationally.
Garmin eTrex 22x Rugged Handheld GPS Navigator
The Garmin eTrex 22x is a reliable and versatile GPS navigator ideal for outdoor enthusiasts seeking accuracy and durability.
- Durable and weather-resistant design
- Easy-to-read 2.2″ color display
- Topo Active maps with routable roads and trails
- Requires additional maps for full functionality
- Compass is GPS-based, not electronic
- Slower response compared to some modern devices
The Garmin eTrex 22x is a dependable handheld GPS navigator with a rugged design built to withstand various outdoor conditions. We found the 2.2″ sunlight-readable color display to be quite clear, which makes it easier to navigate in different lighting situations. Another notable feature is the Topo Active maps that offer routable roads and trails for cycling and hiking, allowing you to confidently explore new terrains.
The GPS and GLONASS satellite systems provide accurate tracking, but you may experience some loss of signal in challenging environments. It’s important to mention that while the eTrex 22x boasts impressive features like 8 GB internal memory for map downloads and micro SD card support, you may need to purchase additional map data for a more comprehensive navigation experience.
One aspect we were not entirely satisfied with was the GPS-based compass, which is not as precise as an electronic compass, especially when you’re stationary or out of satellite range. Additionally, the device’s response speed may seem slower compared to other modern electronic gadgets. Nonetheless, the Garmin eTrex 22x offers excellent value for its price, making it a great choice for those seeking a reliable and versatile outdoor GPS navigator.
Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 74Cv
For top-notch navigation and fish finding capabilities, we highly recommend the Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 74Cv.
- High-resolution, sunlight-readable 7” touchscreen
- Ultra High-Definition clearer scanning sonar with GT24 transducer
- Preloaded BlueChart G3 coastal charts with integrated Navionics data
- A bit of a learning curve for new users
- Limited customer support
- High price point for some budgets
We recently tested the Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 74Cv, a 7-inch touchscreen chartplotter with an impressive array of features that make it an excellent choice for marine navigation and finding fish. We appreciated the bright and sunlight-readable screen, making it easy to view even in challenging conditions.
During our time on the water, we were pleased with the UHD clearer scanning sonar provided by the included GT24 transducer. The images we got were crystal-clear, making it simple for us to identify the underwater terrain and locate fish. The integration of Garmin high wide CHIRP traditional sonar helped significantly with target separation.
Another feature that stood out to us was the preloaded BlueChart G3 coastal charts with Navionics data. These charts made navigating both familiar and new waters a breeze. Additionally, the Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 74Cv offers compatibility with Panoptix all-seeing sonar, including LiveScope, and supports sonar sharing with other compatible devices.
However, we found that getting accustomed to the Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 74Cv can take some time, particularly for those new to Garmin’s products. We also found that customer support could be difficult to reach and lacking in helpful video instructions. For some users, the relatively high price point may be a drawback, but the features it offers undoubtedly justify the investment.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a reliable and high-performance marine GPS system with excellent fish-finding capabilities, the Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 74Cv is definitely worth considering. Despite a few shortcomings, its wide array of features, high-resolution display, and comprehensive coastal charts make it a solid choice for any marine enthusiast.
Garmin GPSMAP 943xsv Combo GPS/Fishfinder
Experience the high-quality navigation and vivid sonar color display with the Garmin GPSMAP 943xsv, a reliable option for boating enthusiasts.
- High-resolution in-plane switching touchscreen
- Preloaded mapping and coastal charts
- Seamless integration with Garmin marine system
- A heading sensor or autopilot needed for optimal radar image overlay
- Slightly bulkier than other 9″ models
- On the higher end of price range
We recently tried out the Garmin GPSMAP 943xsv Combo GPS/Fishfinder and were impressed by its higher-resolution 9″ in-plane switching touchscreen display, offering improved sunlight readability and visibility from any angle. The device integrated smoothly into our Garmin marine system without any trouble.
Navigating various waters proved easy, as the GPSMAP 943xsv comes preloaded with LakeVü g3 and BlueChart g3 coastal charts. These charts combine Garmin and Navionics data, providing us with reliable and detailed information during our journey. We also appreciated the Auto Guidance technology, which helped us to confidently reach our destination.
One thing to consider is that for optimal radar image overlay on the chartplotter map page, we needed to connect the device to a heading sensor or autopilot. Additionally, the GPSMAP 943xsv has a slightly larger footprint compared to other 9″ devices, which might be a con for boaters with limited dashboard space.
Overall, the Garmin GPSMAP 943xsv Combo GPS/Fishfinder offers exceptional navigation, a vibrant display, and seamless integration with the Garmin marine system. While it may come at a higher price point, we found it to be a worthy investment for anyone seeking a reliable marine GPS system.
Dual Electronics XGPS150A Portable Universal Bluetooth GPS Receiver
This highly accurate GPS receiver is a great addition to any device for various navigation purposes, offering versatility and convenience.
- Connects wirelessly via Bluetooth for easy setup
- Compatible with multiple devices and operating systems
- 8.5 hours of continuous use battery life
- May not be compatible with specific applications
- Requires external application for GPS data display
- Not suitable for high-speed or high-altitude applications
We recently used the Dual Electronics XGPS150A GPS receiver and were impressed by its simplicity and accuracy. The device is compact, lightweight, and effortless to use, making it a perfect companion for many navigation scenarios, such as car, marine, and aerial navigation.
Connecting the GPS receiver to your device is a breeze, as it pairs seamlessly through Bluetooth in just a few seconds. No need to worry about compatibility issues, as the XGPS150A works with many devices, including iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac, and Windows.
One of the standout features of this product is its Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), which provides reliable GPS coordinates within +/- 2.5m. However, note that it may not be suitable for extremely high speeds or altitudes, as its max speed is 1,150 mph and max altitude is 59,000 ft.
The battery life is quite impressive, giving you 8.5 hours of continuous use and recharging fully within 2.5 hours. The package includes a USB charging cord, adjustable strap, 12-30V car charger, and a non-slip pad that securely sticks to most surfaces.
The GPS Status Tool, a free downloadable app, provides real-time GPS coordinates and works with numerous devices, making it easy to monitor your location. Keep in mind, though, that the XGPS150A may not be compatible with certain applications requiring specific GPS capabilities.
Despite this limitation, the Dual Electronics XGPS150A is an excellent choice for those who need enhanced GPS functionality on their devices, offering versatility, accuracy, and convenience in a compact package.
Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator
The Garmin eTrex 10 is an affordable and reliable marine GPS system, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts seeking dependable navigation.
- High-sensitivity GPS receiver for accurate positioning
- Rugged and waterproof design for durability in harsh conditions
- Paperless geocaching and extended 25-hour battery life
- Monochrome display may be harder to read for some users
- Limited map options compared to higher-end models
- Learning curve required to fully utilize features
We recently had the opportunity to use the Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator during a fishing expedition, and we came away impressed with its overall functionality and rugged design. The high-sensitivity GPS receiver quickly locked onto our position and maintained a reliable signal throughout our journey, even in dense fog and rain.
The durability of this device cannot be overstated. It’s waterproof to IPX7 standards, so it easily withstood the splashes and rain we encountered. Additionally, the 2.2-inch monochrome display remained visible, even under direct sunlight. However, some users may find this display harder to read compared to color options found in more expensive models.
While the Garmin eTrex 10 comes with a worldwide basemap, it lacks the detailed maps found in higher-end marine GPS systems. However, its support for paperless geocaching and Garmin spine mounting accessories makes it a versatile and convenient choice for outdoor enthusiasts. The 25-hour battery life exceeded our expectations, making it perfect for extended trips.
Overall, the Garmin eTrex 10 is an excellent choice for those seeking a reliable and durable marine GPS system at an affordable price. Despite its slight limitations in display and maps, we believe its rugged design and outstanding battery life make it a fantastic option for outdoor adventures.
Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 63cv
The Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 63cv is highly recommended for those seeking a reliable and versatile marine GPS system for improved fishing and navigation experiences.
- Bright, sunlight-readable 6-inch display
- Ultra High-Definition clearer scanning sonar
- Preloaded LakeVü G3 inland maps with 17,000 lakes coverage
- Limited transducer cable length
- Requires secure mounting for choppy waters
- Complex instructions for beginners
We recently had the pleasure of using the Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 63cv, and were impressed by its bright, 6-inch sunlight-readable display, making it easy to view even in harsh light conditions. The included GT24 transducer provides Ultra High-Definition Clear scanning sonar, giving us crystal-clear images of what’s below the boat, while its high wide CHIRP traditional sonar ensures remarkable target separation.
The preloaded LakeVü G3 inland maps with integrated Navionics data cover more than 17,000 lakes with up to 1-foot contours, making fishing trips and lake exploration more convenient and enjoyable. NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183 network support provide engine data, sensor connection, autopilot integration, FUSION-Link audio system, and more.
However, we noticed some drawbacks, especially regarding the transducer cable’s length, which seemed insufficient for larger boats. Additionally, the mounting bracket could be a bit more sturdy to withstand vibrations in choppy water. The instructions can be somewhat challenging for beginners, so it may require additional time to comprehend the technical details.
Despite these minor issues, the Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 63cv is an excellent marine GPS system, offering advanced features and accurate data for a satisfying on-the-water experience.
Garmin Fusion® Apollo™ MS-WB670 Marine Hideaway Stereo
We think you should consider the Garmin Fusion® Apollo™ MS-WB670 Marine Hideaway Stereo for its impressive audio quality, versatile connectivity options, and compact design.
- Space-saving, discreet form factor for flexible installation
- Seamless compatibility with Garmin multifunction displays (MFD) and Apollo ERX400 wired remote
- Built-in Digital Signal Processing (DSP) technology for superior sound quality
- Requires Ethernet connection to an external router for Wi-Fi capabilities
- Additional advanced features may come with a learning curve
- May require additional accessories for a full experience
We recently used the Garmin Fusion® Apollo™ MS-WB670 Marine Hideaway Stereo on our boat, and we were genuinely impressed with its performance. Its compact design allowed us to install it in a discreet and space-saving manner, keeping the control accessible without taking up valuable real estate in our boat’s cockpit.
The sound quality was exceptional, thanks to the built-in Digital Signal Processing (DSP). We also loved how the Fusion PartyBus-Network allowed us to play music across multiple connected Apollo stereos. The Multi-Zone™ technology enabled us to customize our audio experience for up to three independent zones, making it perfect for social gatherings on board.
Though the Apollo WB670 offers Wi-Fi audio streaming with Apple AirPlay® 2 and over-the-air updates, it requires a connection to an external wireless network router via Ethernet, which might be a small inconvenience for some users. Additionally, some more advanced features, like integrating with Garmin multifunction displays, may require a little bit of a learning curve for those unfamiliar with these displays.
In conclusion, the Garmin Fusion® Apollo™ MS-WB670 Marine Hideaway Stereo is a solid investment for anyone looking to upgrade their boat’s audio system, but be prepared to invest in additional accessories and potentially spend some time learning about its more advanced features.
When looking for the best marine GPS system, it’s crucial to consider the essential features that align with your needs. We’ll walk you through the key factors to keep in mind when making your decision.
The screen should be easy to read under various lighting conditions, including direct sunlight. A larger display allows for better visibility, but it’s also essential to consider the space available on your boat. Touchscreens and button-operated displays both have their advantages, so choose the one that you find most convenient.
Maps and Chartplotting
Ensure that the marine GPS system you select includes detailed and accurate maps of your target sailing areas. Look for features like waypoints, tracks, and routes that allow for easy navigation. Some systems also offer the option to customize maps, which can be beneficial for marking specific locations.
If you’re planning on using your marine GPS system for fishing, compatibility with fish-finding sonar is essential. This feature allows you to locate fish and get a view of the underwater terrain. Consider a multi-function display (MFD) that integrates both marine GPS and sonar capabilities, saving you space and money.
Having the ability to connect your marine GPS system to other devices, such as smartphones or tablets, is a useful feature. This connectivity enables sharing of information like maps and routes, and remote control of the system itself.
Waterproof and Durability
While it may seem obvious, it’s important to choose a marine GPS system that’s designed for wet environments. Look for devices with a high waterproof rating (such as IPX7) to ensure their durability in the harsh conditions that come with boating.
In summary, when selecting a marine GPS system, prioritize features like display, maps and chartplotting, sonar compatibility, connectivity, and waterproofing. By carefully considering these aspects, you’ll be well-equipped to make the best decision for your specific needs.