Marine chart plotters are essential navigation tools for recreational boaters. They allow boaters to plot and follow a course, view detailed nautical charts, and access important information such as water depths, navigation hazards, and marina locations. To use a chart plotter, boaters must first purchase and install electronic nautical charts, also known as ENCs, onto the device. These charts can be purchased from a variety of sources, including government agencies and private companies. Once the charts are installed, boaters can use the chart plotter’s touchscreen interface to pan and zoom around the chart, view important information such as water depths, and plot a course by simply touching the screen. Chart plotters also come equipped with a variety of advanced features, such as the ability to overlay weather information and radar images, and connect to other navigation devices, such as GPS and autopilot systems.
One of the most important features of a chart plotter is its ability to display real-time data, such as the boat’s speed, heading, and location. This information can be used to navigate safely and efficiently, and can also help boaters avoid potential hazards. Another important feature of chart plotters is their ability to connect to other devices, such as VHF radios and AIS transceivers. This allows boaters to stay in communication with other boats and marinas, and also helps to improve safety on the water.
When choosing a chart plotter for a recreational boat, it is important to consider the size of the screen, the resolution of the display, and the overall user-friendliness of the device. It is also important to consider the type of boating you will be doing, as some chart plotters are better suited for specific types of boating, such as fishing or cruising.
For recreational boaters, we recommend the Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 74CV. It offers a large, 7-inch high-resolution display and a user-friendly interface, making it easy to navigate and plot a course. The Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 74CV also comes equipped with advanced features such as wireless connectivity, allowing you to share data with other devices and access detailed weather information. Additionally, it has preloaded BlueChart g3 charts and it can connect to other devices like a Panoptix all-seeing sonar, so you can get a live view of the underwater environment.
With the Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 74CV, you can also overlay weather information and radar images, and connect to other navigation devices, such as GPS and autopilot systems. This allows you to stay informed and make better decisions while out on the water.
The chart plotter also has a built-in quick-draw feature, allowing you to draw on the chart and mark key locations, such as fishing spots or waypoints, which can be easily shared with other boaters. This can be a great feature for recreational boaters who like to fish or explore new areas.
Another great feature of the Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 74CV is its ability to connect to other devices wirelessly, such as smartphones or tablets, using the free ActiveCaptain app. This allows you to access detailed weather information, share location data, and receive software updates without having to connect a cable.
The Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 74CV also has a built-in sonar functionality and it supports both traditional and advanced sonar technologies like CHIRP, ClearVu, and SideVu, giving you a clear and detailed view of the underwater environment.
The device also has a built-in keyed-assist feature, which makes it easy to operate even in rough conditions. The keyed-assist feature makes the device easier to use and control no matter the conditions.