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Old 07-28-2019, 04:32 AM   #1
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Priority electronics?

There has been plenty of discussion regarding which electronic navigation devices are "needed" for coastal cruising and what we can do without.

What would be your order of priority of the following:

Autopilot
GPS and Plotter
Depth Sounder
VHF radio
EPIRB / PLB
AIS
Wind Instruments
Radar
Remote Camera(s)

In my case I would choose:
  1. VHF
  2. EPIRB
  3. GPS & Plotter
  4. Depth Sounder
  5. Autopilot
  6. Wind Instruments
  7. Radar
  8. AIS
  9. Remote Camera

VHF an EPIRB are a legal requirement where I boat. I expect that most would rate Radar & AIS higher than i did, but as we don't get fog and there is very little boat traffic, so they are down on my list.
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Old 07-28-2019, 05:20 AM   #2
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To me, #1 is actually a group of devices for any sort of cruising. They are like heart, lung, brain. You need them all, and without one you are dead. Now of course you won't die without these things on your boat, but I consider them minimum equipment.



So my group 1, must have minimum equipment would be:


GPS and Plotter
Depth Sounder
VHF radio


Then is priority order, and this might vary based on where you cruise...


Radar
Autopilot
EPIRB / PLB
AIS
Wind Instruments
Remote Camera(s)


I think the only things on the list that I would consider "optional" would be Wind and Remote Cameras.
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Old 07-28-2019, 05:36 AM   #3
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My list is a little simpler. There are those that must work to leave the dock and those I will leave without them working.

1. VHF, EPIRB, GPS & Plotter, Depth Sounder, Autopilot, Radar, AIS
2. Wind Instruments, Remote Camera

Depending on conditions, I might try to make it home without any of them.

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Old 07-28-2019, 06:44 AM   #4
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Minimum:
- VHF radio
- Depth Sounder

Extended minimum:
- GPS and Plotter

More fully capable:
- Radar

Nice to have:
- Autopilot
- AIS


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Old 07-28-2019, 07:06 AM   #5
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1 GPS chart plotter
2 Depth (fish) finder
3 Autopilot tied into the GPS (to remove strain from capt and to run the boat in fog so the capt can pay attention to radar, etc.)
4 Radar
5 VHF with fog horn.(Around here, hardly anyone uses the radio any longer. A cell phone is more valuable IMO)

I have yet to find a need for AIS for the cruising I do or have done.
Weather reports are fine enough for wind data. But the anemometer looks cool.

Hope this helps
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Old 07-28-2019, 07:28 AM   #6
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For me,

Plotter
Depthfinder
VHF

Are mandatory.


Then radar, AIS, autopilot.
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Old 07-28-2019, 07:28 AM   #7
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My boat has a VHF and depth sounder. I also have compass, paper charts and binoculars. I don't need more than that. I also have a notebook computer with charting software and a GPS puck, but often don't bring it. I use it mostly for speed information.


My sail boat has all of the above plus a multifunction display with current charts, radar, a heading sensor (to allow radar overlay) and an external GPS antenna. I see no need at all for AIS, EPIRB, wind instruments and cameras. Here in Maine an autopilot is foolish unless you are at the helm with the remote in your hand 100% of the time. Running on autopilot without a 100% helm watch simply guarantees that you will be tangled in lobster gear within minutes.
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Old 07-28-2019, 07:46 AM   #8
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My priorities assume I continue to carry at least minimum paper charts.

Must have, won't leave the dock without these:
1 - VHF. Emergency and vessel to vessel communications.
2 - Radar. Not just for fog. Navigation with paper charts and collision avoidance.
3 - EPIRB. Cruising less traveled areas where help can be beyond VHF range and hours or maybe days away. Sat phones have the reach but in a emergency I may not have the time to use the sat phone.

Important, I shouldn't leave without these but will get back home if they fail:
4 - GPS & Plotter.
5 - Autopilot. Without the need to have my hands on the wheel at all times I can pay more attention to navigation etc.

Nice to have, wouldn't slow me down a bit if they failed:
6 - Depth Sounder. Where I want to go the rocks come up fast and the depth sounder will confirm the horrible sounds and sudden stop mean that I'm aground.
7 - AIS.
8 - Wind instruments.
9 - Remote Camera.
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Old 07-28-2019, 08:06 AM   #9
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Priority? I would put binoculars, paper charts and a compass at the top rank, but I guess you don't count those, with which, along with a depth sounder and VHF you are all set, weather permitting. To me, the most important things are those that help you understand the world around you as it actually is.

1. Depth Sounder
2. DSC VHF
3. Radar
4. Speed log (preferable both STW and SOG, the latter gets GPS involved).
5. GPS
--------------
6. Redundancy of above (redundant radar optional but very "nice to have".
7. Plotter
8. EPIRB (probably merits higher ranking)
9. PLB
10. Multimeter
11. Weather instruments
12 AIS.
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Old 07-28-2019, 08:26 AM   #10
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There are many forms of navigational suites.

Minimums in my mind....for just coastal ACIW or looping.

Depth Sounder, Binocs, charts and a good watch.

Depth Sounder, $200 pad, free charts and software, GPS puck....maybe VHF handheld.

Then all the way up to a $50,000 plus suite.

Bottom line....... any skipper attempting a voyage should KNOW what they need to be in their comfort range....everything else turns the voyage more and more recreational than work....but ya gotta know the equipment, when and how to use it....and have the dang money to afford it.

It might add a little to voyaging.....but in reality it's the skipper's brain that is the network's back bone.

Most new boaters I know are more into gadgets than knowledge....scary but true.

Like additives for fuel and oil. Medic in a can is cheaper and easier than knowledge.

ICW navigation...easy peezy....go beyond and it's always gonna be more than electronics that makes the voyage comfortable. Sometimes alll that is necessary ....is an experienced yachtsman or commercial guy along with a cold beer.


Bottom line... boating can be... but really isn't all that hard or dangerous. Like driving I-95 from New England to Florida. Plenty of really inexperienced people make if fine....those that don't...look at the reasons why. Same with boating.


I am a true believer in GOOD experience is the great equalizer. Some people are always just lucky, some....boat all their lives without any issues but the still don't know Shi* and still never have a real problem....some have issues but have just enough experience to overcome them successfully, and then there are those from newbies to old hands that have the day where the bear wins.


Once one wanders off....hiking, biking, paddling, motoring, driving, flying, etc...etc... If you are asking on the internet what you need for a trip to complete it safely (I am not talking paperwork issues or menues)....I personally think you are betting on luck rather than knowledge to keep you safe for your trip.
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Old 07-28-2019, 10:07 AM   #11
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Paul,


As usual, really good post.


I, too, have done a ton of boating with only a depth finder and a VHF... and occasionally neither. FL west coast ICW.


However, considering how cheap and available some of this stuff is, there's little reason to be without depth, VHF, and GPS nav of some sort .... plotter, IPad or whatever. And in most cases most of us have dual or triple of these items.


And, again, it all depends on the mission and the area. For a trip like the Great Loop, I'd want all of the above plus:
Autopilot
Radar
AIS tranceiver


Skip the inland rivers and AIS becomes less important.


As for an EPIRB... almost like a life vest, pretty much a given for most boating. Heck, I'll take them on a kayak or windsurfer, along with a VHF.
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Old 07-28-2019, 10:26 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twistedtree View Post
So my group 1, must have minimum equipment would be:

GPS and Plotter
Depth Sounder
VHF radio

Then in priority order, and this might vary based on where you cruise...

Radar
Autopilot
EPIRB / PLB
AIS
Wind Instruments
Remote Camera(s)


I think the only things on the list that I would consider "optional" would be Wind and Remote Cameras.
I've spent quite a bit of time studying various member posts to this question & thinking about my present equipment on board. Conclusion: I agree with twistedtree's list.
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Old 07-28-2019, 10:26 AM   #13
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Quote: Most new boaters I know are more into gadgets than knowledge....scary but true.

I agree 100% that new boaters rely on gadgets too much. The brokers sell them on gadgets to overcome their lack of experience.

Add thrusters to the gadgets. I see new boaters relying on their thrusters for basic maneuvering before even getting near the dock. Then the thruster dies as they near the dock, the new boater panics and we have entertainment!
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Old 07-28-2019, 10:46 AM   #14
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Add thrusters to the gadgets. I see new boaters relying on their thrusters for basic maneuvering before even getting near the dock. Then the thruster dies as they near the dock, the new boater panics and we have entertainment!
Although I know where you are coming from, relative to your comment on "thrusters," consider the folks who have twin spade rudders that don't respond well at slow speeds. Sail boats, trawlers, single engine vessels etc, for the most part, have huge rudders that do work well at slow speeds. That allows them to maneuver much better when entering the fairway to their slip. My boat at idle has almost no reaction to the helm at said speeds and a bow thruster is a welcome addition. Although I do have twin engines, the bow thruster covers up a lot of bad judgement calls when docking.
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Old 07-28-2019, 10:56 AM   #15
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A little throttle will turn your boat easily without adding any real speed. Once you learn how to use the throttle effectively you won't really need the thruster. I have a single engine with a small rudder and don't have or need a thruster. It is easy to turn my boat 360 degrees in its own length. Patience is also useful. Of course over 50 years boat handling experience helps too.
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Old 07-28-2019, 11:01 AM   #16
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There are lots of single boats that under certain conditions cannot tutn and get out of a narrow fairway.


Sometimes you can back out, but no way just throttle some will make the turn.


Everyond may have an answer, but it probably doesn't apply all the time.
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Old 07-28-2019, 11:05 AM   #17
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A little throttle will turn your boat easily without adding any real speed. Once you learn how to use the throttle effectively you won't really need the thruster.....Patience is also useful. Of course over 50 years boat handling experience helps too.
My throttles are electronically controlled and have nowhere close to the reaction that mechanical throttles have. The delay, a full second to react, can be hairy in close quarter maneuvering. No, on my boat the thruster is a welcome addition. BTW, I have a little over 60 years in piloting all types of power boats.
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Old 07-28-2019, 11:05 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TDunn View Post
A little throttle will turn your boat easily without adding any real speed. Once you learn how to use the throttle effectively you won't really need the thruster. I have a single engine with a small rudder and don't have or need a thruster. It is easy to turn my boat 360 degrees in its own length. Patience is also useful. Of course over 50 years boat handling experience helps too.

How did we get from necessary electronics to the necessity of thrusters.....
however, good for another thread. And I'm SURE you'll get some arguments on the value of thrusters.


We can discuss the twin vs singles next....
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Old 07-28-2019, 11:12 AM   #19
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When words like "need" vs "should" vs "like" enter the discussion, all bets for agreement or staying on topic disappear.


Also too many argue their own boat or limited experience.... OK....for that boat and that situation something might be considered necessary or maybe not.


Hard to gauge when someone claims experience....had many in my captains classes with 50 years of boating that should not even own a dingy....others were top notch.


The bottom line is only their wives could fire them.


Not necessarily so with the experience of other posters and their experiences that can be checked up on.
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Old 07-28-2019, 11:31 AM   #20
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Quote: Not necessarily so with the experience of other posters and their experiences that can be checked up on.

psneeld,

You've brought up checking or verifying a posters experience many times in other posts. How do you check on someone's experience when all you have is a posters handle, where they may live, vessel name and model?
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