Best Marine Gps Review

10 Best Marine GPS (Reviews Updated 2020)

With a marine GPS, navigating the waters will be a much easier task for you. GPSs can also help you find fish locations. To make your boating experience much more convenient, you’ll want to install a GPS onboard.

There are tons of options for you to choose from. To help you out, we’ve made a list of our top choices for marine GPSs. We’ll also discuss the most important features to watch out for. With this guide, you’ll know what GPS is best for you.

Best Marine GPS Units

Here are the 10 best GPS units for your boat.

1. Garmin MAP 78sc Handheld Waterproof Marine GPS

Best Overall

Garmin Map 78sc Handheld Waterproof Marine Gps

Review

Garmin’s GPS is built to survive in the water with waterproofing and floating capabilities. The receiver easily picks up a signal so you’ll never get lost, the display shows essential info, and the built-in charts can show the location of marinas to shorelines. The 3-axis compensated compass and barometric altimeter shows your altitude, weather, and heading. You can wirelessly transfer data and waypoints to compatible devices too. This GPS does everything you need it to and more.

Notable Features You Need To Know About:

  • Wireless capabilities
  • Compass and barometric altimeter
  • Waterproof
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2. Raymarine Dragonfly Pro CHIRP Fish Finder Marine GPS

Editor’s Choice

Raymarine Dragonfly Pro Chirp Fish Finder Marine Gps

Review

This Raymarine GPS has a 5-inch backlit display to show you important info with ease. The sonar system is dual-channel to produce very accurate images that aid you in finding fish. There’s an app that you can install on your phone to access the GPS’s other features like live sonar streaming. The internal storage is very large and you can expand it. Navtionics+ transducer and charts are included.

Notable Features You Need To Know About:

  • Expandable storage
  • Accurate sonar system
  • 5-inch display
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3. Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld Navigator Marine GPS

Best Value

Garmin Etrex 10 Worldwide Handheld Navigator Marine Gps

Review

Garmin’s GPS is very portable and rugged. If you want a small waterproof GPS to easily carry around that’s accurate and fast, this is perfect. You can mark waypoints and calculate the travel time between them. It can run for 20 hours with 2 AA batteries.

Notable Features You Need To Know About:

  • 20-hour battery life
  • Waterproof
  • Portable and rugged
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4. Lowrance HOOK2 Fish Finder with SplitShot Transducer Marine GPS

Lowrance Hook2 Fish Finder With Splitshot Transducer Marine Gps

Review

This marine GPS functions well for chart plotting and fish finding. It uses 83/200KHz for fish finding operations while the internal antenna can give you highly accurate position readings at all times. You’re in for a user-friendly experience with its swivel bracket, 4-inch display, easy controls.

Notable Features You Need To Know About:

  • User-friendly
  • Accurate GPS
  • 83/200Khz fish finder
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5. Garmin MAP 64st Marine GPS

Garmin Map 64st Marine Gps

Review

Garmin’s GPS is very portable with solid 16-hour battery life and 8gb internal memory. You can connect it to your smartphone to share and upload data. It features a handy smart notification system to show you info like speed, temperature, and heart rate.

Notable Features You Need To Know About:

  • Smart notifications
  • Wireless features
  • Very portable
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6. Garmin Striker 4 Built-in GPS Fish Finder Marine GPS

Garmin Striker 4 Built In Gps Fish Finder Marine Gps

Review

This Garmin GPS uses high-frequency CHIRP sonar to give very accurate images of your surroundings.  The waypoint map and control system are very user-friendly and you can detect up to 750 ft in saltwater and 1,600 ft in freshwater.

Notable Features You Need To Know About:

  • User-friendly
  • Waypoint map
  • Clear, accurate images
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7. Garmin Oregon 600 3-Inch Worldwide Handheld Marine GPS

Garmin Oregon 600 3 Inch Worldwide Handheld Marine Gps

Review

This GPS comes in various storage options and you can get a model with optional digital camera and topographic map add-ons. It comes with an accelerator, barometric altimeter, and 3-axis compass for more usability. You can also share data using its wireless Bluetooth connection.

Notable Features You Need To Know About:

  • Feature-rich
  • Very customizable
  • Wireless transfer
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8. Garmin MAP 78 2.6-Inch Navigator Marine GPS

Garmin Map 78 2.6 Inch Navigator Marine Gps

Review

This Garmin model is cheaper than the others but it still provides the essential features. Its internal memory is 1.7mb large but it’s expandable. It floats on water and is waterproof. There’s an included worldwide map that shows important details and you can use the Garmin app along with the GPS for more functionality.

Notable Features You Need To Know About:

  • Waterproof
  • Expandable storage
  • Built-in map
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9. Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP G2 Fish finder Marine GPS

Humminbird 410210 1 Helix 5 Chirp G2 Fish Finder Marine Gps

Review

Expect the Humminbird’s marine charts and fish finder to deliver all your needs. Its internal GPS is very accurate and has chart plotting features. The CHIRP sonar and dual beam give you very precise tracking capabilities. The clear 5-inch display easily shows the important info. The storage is expandable with a microSD card.

Notable Features You Need To Know About:

  • CHIRP system
  • 5-inch display
  • Expandable storage
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10. Humminbird HELIX 5 SI Fish Finder with Side-Imaging Marine GPS

Humminbird Helix 5 Si Fish Finder With Side Imaging Marine Gps

Review

Humminbird offers another great GPS. The sonar has a power output of 4,000 watts for stronger viewing capabilities. It comes with an internal chart plotting and a UniMap cartography. All the essential info is displayed on its 5-inch display.  You can save a lot more  waypoints and data with its expandable microSD storage.

Notable Features You Need To Know About:

  • Expandable storage
  • Excellent sonar and GPS
  • 5-inch display
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Buying Guide — Choosing Your Own Marine GPS

Best Marine Gps ReviewTo help you know what key features are important, continue reading our buying guide.

Resolution and Screen Size

Your GPS’ screen size should match the size of your boat. A larger boat can house a large screen, while a simple kayak would only need a small GPS for you to look at easily.

A higher resolution number means a clearer picture, and usually a higher-quality GPS. A standard sized-screen that can show pertinent information, as well as a clear picture, would be around 5 inches. Of course, the size will affect portability.

Portability

The portability of the GPS is more or less equivalent to its size. If you want a portable GPS, get a small one. A larger GPS will be less portable and may need to be mounted. There are also medium-sized GPS devices that can be mounted but do not need entire wiring into your boat system. This can either be made portable or non-portable.

A portable device comes in handy if you are fishing from a kayak. Portable GPS is also handheld and can probably fit in your pocket. You won’t need to bring an external battery, just some extra batteries.

Power

There are several ways a GPS may recharge. Some GPS devices can simply run on AA batteries. These would usually last around 20 hours, which could last a few short trips. The only caveat may be that you require an extra set of batteries on you at all times.

Another option is to use rechargeable batteries so that you will not have to keep wasting single-use batteries. Otherwise, there are GPS devices capable of running from an external power source or external battery. If you have a running boat battery, then hook your GPS up to it permanently. This way, you will not have to worry about it blacking out in the middle of a trip. Be aware, however, that you will need to perform some installation to do this securely.

Transducers or Fish Finders

A transducer is used to emit sound waves from your GPS device. These waves are not for the user’s benefit, but the GPS’ detection system. It will identify contours and obstructions from the sound waves bouncing back. Transducers are often advertised as “fish finders”, and are useful for those who love to fish.

Water Resistance

A GPS on a large boat should be at least water-resistant in case of any trouble. A GPS for a kaya, however, is a different issue, since it is likely to fall in. Therefore a kayak GPS should keep water out of its system.

This is indicated by a label “IPX0” to “IPX8”, which scores the waterproof quality from 0 being the lowest, or none, and 8 and being the highest.

Barometer

A barometer indicates atmospheric pressure, but can also be used to predict weather patterns. Sudden changes in atmospheric pressure can indicate a storm. Barometers are not the only way of finding this information, but this is a standard instrument to have on your boat.

Electronic Compass

Although a GPS can show your location, it might not be the best device to show where you are going. It can show you moving forward from point to point, but it will not indicate what general direction you are moving towards. Even this is not always reliable if you are moving too slowly.

This can be remedied by an electronic compass. A compass is essential in knowing with North or South direction you are facing so that you do not lose your way. The only downside might be more consumption of power from having this additional device.

Built-In Maps

The quality of GPS mapping is not standard for every device. Some devices are built with more maps already detailed. Otherwise, download maps of your next trip, so that the GPS can use this when you are on the way. GPS devices are flexible enough in adding to their map database. And if you require more memory for more maps or more detailed maps, simply insert a micro SD into the built-in slot of the GPS. This way, you have much more room for additional information.

Reliability

GPS is made to help you navigate, so you need something reliable and durable. You won’t get far with a cheap GPS, and worse, you’re likely to get lost. Make sure you choose a model that is well-reviewed for its reliability.

If you have any lingering questions, we’ve answered the most commonly asked questions of consumers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the questions we get asked most about marine GPS units.

What does a Marine GPS do?

Like any other GPS, its main function is locating your position. Marine GPS devices specialize in doing this over water. A noticeable difference is that instead of tracking road maps, it will track the marine environment, complete with contours and coastal maps.

How Does A Marine GPS Function?

Marine GPS devices similarly use satellites, just like car GPS devices. For more accuracy though, it uses more than one satellite. It may even switch from satellite to satellite depending on how far you travel.

What Is Your Marine GPS For?

While they are mostly for pinpointing your location, they are useful in helping you get from point to point. Marine GPS with fish finders are also useful for fishing and getting a sonar mapping of your surroundings. It’s important to have a navigational instrument out at sea since you might hardly encounter visible landmarks.

How Easily Can You Get Lost At Sea?

Unless you know the stretch of the sea very well, it could be easy to get lost. You should avoid this as much as possible using a marine GPS. Even if you are not lost, GPS is still great for tracking your surroundings as well. They can map both the surrounding environment as well as changes in the weather.

Although people in the past have gotten by without a GPS, now it is important to invest in one so you can efficiently navigate your boat.

Marine GPSs are great for peace of mind and security. When you are sure you’re not lost, you can spend much less time worrying about your location.

Are Car GPSs Usable for Boats?

Because a car GPS uses similar satellites, and can likely show your location. However, it is not designed to accommodate maps for the ocean. It is designed to show roads.

Marine GPSs will not only be better at showing maps of the coast and the marine environment, but also have extra features useful for being over the water. These include a possible fish finder, electronic compass, and even barometer. It really will be better to invest in a specialized marine GPS.

Now that you’re updated on everything you need to know about marine GPS, we have some last reminders for you before making your purchase.

Marine GPS Review Conclusion

A GPS is your rudimentary location and navigation system, but it can also do much more. It can predict the weather through air pressure or find moving fish in your surroundings. They can also differ from being highly portable, do being heavy-duty.

If you are fishing, get a GPS with a fish finder that can offer a picture of below your vessel. Otherwise, just get a GPS that has top-notch navigational instruments.

Consider also if you will be mounting it inside a large boat, or if you will be using it on a lighter, faster boat more exposed to the elements. This will help you determine the size, portability, resolution, and how water-resistant or waterproof it must be.

We hope that through this buying guide, you can choose a GPS apt for your boat. We have shown you the most important things to consider that can determine the perfect GPS you will need. Once you’ve successfully chosen, you will never find yourself lost in the open waters.