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Old 01-29-2017, 08:52 PM   #1
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iPad enough?

I'm currently running an iPad alone for navigation. I use Navionics, and have the Skipper app (basic GPS on downloaded charts) on my iPhone for backup. For inland/coastal cruising, I'm having trouble picturing why I would need anything else (like chart plotter, Garmin GPS, etc). Thoughts on why that might not be the case?
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Old 01-29-2017, 09:03 PM   #2
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I take it no radar? if you are comfortable with fair weather boating only sure, an I pad is just fine. How about paper charts, have those?
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Old 01-29-2017, 09:09 PM   #3
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iPad enough?

I should mention I also have a radar unit, a VHF, a compass, and paper charts of course. My debate is simply over the iPad/Navionics as a much cheaper and more versatile alternative to a marine GPS or chart plotter.
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Old 01-29-2017, 10:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schrater View Post
I should mention I also have a radar unit, a VHF, a compass, and paper charts of course. My debate is simply over the iPad/Navionics as a much cheaper and more versatile alternative to a marine GPS or chart plotter.
I really like the integrated plotter/autopilot/radar/AIS that I have and would not want to give those up for an iPad. However, it is working well for you, you have paper backup, and it is a system that is paid for. With a Marine GPS you could arguably get better accuracy, but likely not much more functionality than you currently have. I would suggest you might as well save the boat bucks for fuel and food.
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Old 01-29-2017, 10:35 PM   #5
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I use a small, old Garmin chartplotter (GPSMap 276C), a laptop/GPS puck receiver with OpenCPN, and Navionics on a tablet and phone. To be honest, the greatest accuracy I see is in the Navionics products. Their charts are far superior in depth accuracy.

I'd have no issue with it if I had 2 sources plus a small GPS receiver available at the helm as an independent backup. But then again, I'm a sucker for redundancy.
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Old 01-30-2017, 04:51 AM   #6
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My experience is the iPad is great for the lower helm but I found it to lack acceptable brightness and contrast on the flybridge even with a bimini. We were using older iPads and the newer ones may be better. The Survivor case we had may have contributed to it also. You might want to consider a small GPS unit for the bridge. I found several 7" feature rich Garmins for under a boat buck that did the job nicely. If you don't use the bridge, the point is moot.
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Old 01-30-2017, 06:52 AM   #7
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While I agree that brightness outdoors is usually a problem seeing a pad....

You really don't even need a pad or chartplotter for ICW work.....even less so for coastal work if you have paper charts and a gps with lat/long and way points. With a chartbook or any way to know about where the next mark is aND a set of binoculars will get you safely along the ICW in fair weather.

That said...traveling in fair weather and daylight becomes mandatory for all but the best and if caught in poor weather, wishing you had a chartplotter or at least the iPad at a lower station.

So limit your exposure and yes a pad is all you need.

Now that OPENCPN is on my 10 inch pad, I am having second thoughts on a flybridge chartplotter....may just make a nice sun shade. That was one of my jobs back in the marine electronics shop in the days when you couldn't see the early chartplotters in daylight either.
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Old 01-30-2017, 08:22 AM   #8
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Lack of brightness and an integrated chart plotter and radar system are two reasons why I like a dedicated chart plotter system.

Being able to see the bouy on radar and also see it overlay its position on the chartplotter is one of the comforting benefits of the integrated systems in bad weather. That capability helped me to get around Sandy Hook safely in a rainstorm in the middle of the night.

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Old 01-30-2017, 08:37 AM   #9
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Electronics are often one of the least thought out systems and yet all in all, one of the most expensive for some and what they ultimately describe as putting the pleasure in pleasure boating.

Having the right equipment and knowing how to use it allows many to relax and enjoy rather than always being concerned about where they are, what's under them or around d them and the concerns of a dark night or foul weather.

By limiting your, electronics, as long as you know what limitations that could place on YOU (not anyone else's limitations), then make your peach with what you choose.

Electronics add to your experience if you let them, but aren't necessary for many to safely navigate the coastal areas of the eastern US.
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Old 01-30-2017, 09:35 AM   #10
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I use that app on my iPhone, but to be fair I'm only boating rivers and staying between the buoys.
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Old 01-30-2017, 12:09 PM   #11
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I use an iPad with Navionics to back up my Standard Horizon. The iPad gets obsolete in a few years, 1 boat dollar. The Standard Horizon gets obsolete, 3.5 boat dollars plus annual upgrades. Harming plotter gets obsolete, 5-10 boat dollars. You can buy a new iPad every year (I'm on my third year with mine - just don't drop it overboard!). I think boat electronics are a have.
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Old 01-30-2017, 12:46 PM   #12
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IMO no boat in the ICW should be without a depth sounder.
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Old 01-30-2017, 12:51 PM   #13
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You're right, forgot to mention I have 2 of those!
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Old 01-30-2017, 01:31 PM   #14
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Depth sounders give most boaters the 2 second warning before being aground on the ICW...

sure they help...but...no guarantees and you still have to read the water in many places and go slower.
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Old 01-30-2017, 02:07 PM   #15
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I could argue it just depends on your comfort zone. Just about any boating could be helped with a GPS map... they are dirt cheap if there's a budget. I bought a brand new Garmin 740s for $500, added a $175 transducer and gives depth, track, speed and has a map. That's in the same range as an IPad.

The IPad is great (have 2 and getting another) but they are NOT as accurate as a gps map. Great back up, easy for planning, etc., getting weather, etc.

For just day boating, good weather, in a known area, you could easily get by with nothing. But with the boats like we find on this forum, I'd be surprised if every one of them didn't have at least GPS map, depth, and a VHF... along with a lot of other toys.
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Old 01-30-2017, 03:51 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schrater View Post
I'm currently running an iPad alone for navigation. I use Navionics, and have the Skipper app (basic GPS on downloaded charts) on my iPhone for backup. For inland/coastal cruising, I'm having trouble picturing why I would need anything else (like chart plotter, Garmin GPS, etc). Thoughts on why that might not be the case?
You can go with a sextant and lead line if that floats your boat. Or, you can navigate with a computer or telephone if that meets your needs.

I had a Garmin MFD (two of them, networked with a depth sounder system) before I had a smart phone and had a Garmin GPS before that.

That's what I'm used to and it's designed and manufactured for the purpose. That's what I use. There's a navigation app on my phone but the screen is a bit small for me and it's a bit hard to see (even to call a marina) in direct sunlight.
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Old 01-30-2017, 03:56 PM   #17
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Sound like you have it nailed. Two iPads, or an iPad/iPhone combination is all you need.

As for screen visibility in sunshine, I can't read my Furuno chartplotter when sun is shining on the screen either. At least I can move the iPad to a shady spot.
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Old 01-30-2017, 04:09 PM   #18
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best free nav. software

Don't mean to hijack the thread but, here goes. What is the best free software to use for laptop navigation? I am running Window;s 10 and want to use free noa charts.
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Old 01-30-2017, 04:50 PM   #19
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I'm reading a lot of good stuff about OpenCPN, but I don't have first-hand experience because it doesn't operate with iOS.
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Old 01-30-2017, 05:26 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Depth sounders give most boaters the 2 second warning before being aground on the ICW...

sure they help...but...no guarantees and you still have to read the water in many places and go slower.

Two seconds? HA! We cruise at 18k... Our is more like,"Hey Butthead... BTW you're aground and the water is two feet deep here. Ya' moron."

(But for the record, we have never been aground)

iPads are ok, but you need the cell enabled for most accurate gps. And I don't trust them in the bright sun (overheating) and the screen is very reflective. I prefer a chartplotter, but they are about the biggest ripoff in boating. A 7" plotter is, what? $2000? While a 9" is like $3500? The units would seemingly share 99% of the same electronics and only needs a larger display. Where is the justification for this? It is crazy to me. (Sorry that this turned into a bit of a rant)
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