IF THE ELECTRONICS ON YOUR BOAT ARE AGING, or you need to equip a new-to-you boat, the array of possibilities can be daunting. To help you sort through the options, here are four types of boaters, with their “styles” divided into three categories: the basics, the well- equipped, and the totally geeked out. See where you, your boat, and your boating needs fit best. Remember, everything on the “basic” list carries forward to the higher levels or is replaced by a more capable
device. For example, a chartplotter might be replaced by a multifunction display
(MFD) as you move from basic to well-equipped.
CRUISERS need to navigate over the long haul, keep a
wide safety margin, and equip with entertainment items to
make extended stays aboard more pleasant
VHF Radio: Your lifeline to the outside world, including
the U.S. Coast Guard, so you’ll need a hard-wired,
PLB: For a couple of hundred dollars you can be certain
a distress signal will reach the Coast Guard if something
Chartplotter: Nothing is more basic than getting from
A to B safely and accurately; today’s plotters offer
a wealth of information to accomplish that.
Depth Sounder: Because running aground is no fun.
Entertainment: You may be willing to leave the TV behind, but most
cruisers will want an AM/FM radio and/or an iPod or MP3-compatible
Handheld VHF: If you plan on cruising those long distances, having a
backup or two is a must to keep your crew in contact or to take in the dinghy.
Emergency Signaling Device: A satellite messenger if
you’re staying within VHF range, an EPIRB if you’re not, or
both if you prefer.
Autopilot: If you plan to run for more than a few hours at
a time, don’t leave home without it.
Radar: Leave it off and fog can shut that cruise down in a
heartbeat. Added bonus? It’s a great navigational assistant.
AIS B: Most water big enough for cruising has commercial
traffic. AIS puts nearby ships’ location, course, speed, and
more on-screen at your helm.
70 DIY 75 BoAtS 80 SkILLS 84 tIPS 86 ASk tHE ExPERtS 90 PRojECt 93 SEAwoRtHY
Make sure you
get your hands on
you’re considering buying, and
perform a task on
it, such as plotting
a waypoint. this
is a great way to
find which user
interface is most
intuitive to you.
Simrad NSE 8