Sounding from tender - handheld?

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mcarthur

Senior Member
Joined
May 9, 2018
Messages
304
Location
Australia
Vessel Name
Blu Emu
Vessel Make
Ligure 50' aluminium power catamaran
What do people use to sound when using the tender to investigate possible entrances/access? We've a 1.1m/3+' draft, so talking areas already less than 3m deep.

  • piece of string
  • piece of string + weight
  • piece of string + lead (to see what the bottom is - though if it's deep enough I can't see the bottom I'll be fine!)
  • bathyscope and hope you can judge accurately
  • walk (ignoring crocs and stonefish)
  • handheld sounder
  • ??

Even better would be to have some idea of either side of the tender, say 2m.
Evev better better would be to create our own depth chart to integrate with the main vessel's.
 
The PO of our boat rigged up for the RIB, a 4" chartplotter/bottom machine with a transom mounted transducer and a small motorcycle battery carried in a little waterproof storage box that worked fine for sniffing around to find good water. I got tired of the extra wires and removed it all.
Since we always carry our phones with us anyway, I've been looking very seriously at one of these. I have a charting program app in the phone so a track could be recorded for us to follow in the boat, after we've located a good path to follow with the bottom machine app in the RIB.
I just yesterday was looking at ways to suspend the pod/transducer from the front of the rib, instead of towing it. I don't think it'll be an issue but we'll just have to remember to pull it up when we speed up.
 

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What do people use to sound when using the tender to investigate possible entrances/access? We've a 1.1m/3+' draft, so talking areas already less than 3m deep.

  • piece of string
  • piece of string + weight
  • piece of string + lead (to see what the bottom is - though if it's deep enough I can't see the bottom I'll be fine!)
  • bathyscope and hope you can judge accurately
  • walk (ignoring crocs and stonefish)
  • handheld sounder
  • ??

Even better would be to have some idea of either side of the tender, say 2m.
Evev better better would be to create our own depth chart to integrate with the main vessel's.

I find a boat hook works well, just have to rinse it off well to prevent the telescoping mechanism from getting mucked up.
 
I had a portable Humminbird fish finder that had a suction cup mounted transducer on the transom. Worked fantastic.
 
We use a cheap small handheld sounder at present. Works great when exploring and when checking out an area before bringing the big boat in. But we’re mom and pop most of time time so that’s one on the boat and one in the dinghy. I also fish a bunch from the dinghy when anchored. If I can scrap the bucks together and do without the dinghy for the install want to put in a hard wired fish finder. Think it would give better information and be easier when searching out a potential anchorage. Also a bonus when fishing.

Jay can you post the details on the hummingbird please?
 
We have a Garmin 4" GPS, chartplotter with a transducer. However, our dinghy is a Boston Whaler 130 SS.
 
I use the Hummingbird Helix 5 now for 5 yrs. Depth finder and chart plotter. Yes, it is a little over kill but it has saved me a few times when fog roles in or a dark night to find the boat again.
 
Sounding lead is both reliable and practical, plus you will know what type of bottom you are going to hit, errr anchor into.
 
When equipping the FB with a sounder/chart plotter, I found one that could be taken onto the dinghy, where it plugs in to an identical mount, TD and GPS. This way the dinghy can find the correct depth for fishing, prawning, gunkholing. It tells me the water temp too, so swimming is more inviting.
That one died a year or so ago, and has been replaced with a better one, so now all of my routes used on the big boat anre there on the dinghy, and vice versa. Doesn't matter what brand you buy, just look for one that will be portable between mountings.
 
Folding grapnel dinghy anchor with a knot in the line at six feet and twelve. It's an easy way to check out a short entrance but not that practical for a long channel. As you bounce it across the bottom it's super easy to tell if it's rocky or soft. Put a knot in the line where you want a minimum amount of water and one where you would maintain a comfortable heart rate.
 
We just got a new Highfield 310 with the little FCT console.....i too would like to add at least just a little dpth finder. a plotter would be nice but will not fit in that little dash. 'spose i could use like a RAM mount or something but has anyone just installed like a hummingbird 2 inch digital depth sounder for this purpose (and for not running the tender aground on its own adventures)
thanks sorry to drift a lil.
 
Not a fan of depth only with no history.... the number can jump around and you have no idea what it is bouncing off of, bottom, fish, themocline...etc...etc...

The other advantage of a fishfinder is it gives an indication of how hard the bottom is... and lastly many of the inexpensive small models have some cartography pre installed so you don't have to fiddle with your phone for nav.
 
Shallow water or all depths. Around here can usually see 10 feet to bottom. As Keith said if you use to set prawn or crab traps, or fish finding, then bonus.
 
Since we always carry our phones with us anyway, I've been looking very seriously at one of these. I have a charting program app in the phone so a track could be recorded for us to follow in the boat, after we've located a good path to follow with the bottom machine app in the RIB.
I just yesterday was looking at ways to suspend the pod/transducer from the front of the rib, instead of towing it. I don't think it'll be an issue but we'll just have to remember to pull it up when we speed up.

I doubt the little pod will be stable enough to give reliable data. I have one and know. The phone track recording is awesome.
 
I doubt the little pod will be stable enough to give reliable data. I have one and know. The phone track recording is awesome.

Hummm...that's a good point. It is a lightweight little sucker. Probably designed for ponds and lakes and bobs like a cork. Oh well, we'll see. I ordered one this morning; it was less than $75. I'm still planning on putting it on a short piece of pvc pipe or similar to read the bottom ahead of the boat. I like tinkering with stuff like that anyway. If it doesn't work like I want, maybe I'll put the little Dragonfly chartplotter/fishfinder combo unit that Scott rigged up back on. I do hope I can make it work, though, because it would be so convenient (also uncluttered and simple) if everything was on my phone.
 
I got it for those tricky cuts through the Florida Keys between the ocean and bay sides.

The cuts are all deep enough, it's the ends that have tough spots to negotiate.

The rest of the ACIW I never worried about going aground...I never went fast enough that just putting the boat in reverse at idle and waiting 10 minutes or so, that 4 bladed prop always backed me off fine. So if the mother boat fishfinder didn't keep me off bottom (which it usually did), I was never worried. And I did anchor in some tiny creeks along the way.

The fishfinder on the dink was mostly for back bay mangrove cruising where the chartplotter was handy and the fishfinder for fishing.
 
Hummm...that's a good point. It is a lightweight little sucker. Probably designed for ponds and lakes and bobs like a cork. Oh well, we'll see. I ordered one this morning; it was less than $75. I'm still planning on putting it on a short piece of pvc pipe or similar to read the bottom ahead of the boat. I like tinkering with stuff like that anyway. If it doesn't work like I want, maybe I'll put the little Dragonfly chartplotter/fishfinder combo unit that Scott rigged up back on. I do hope I can make it work, though, because it would be so convenient (also uncluttered and simple) if everything was on my phone.

When anchoring in a new place while running the rivers in my Grand Banks, I could use my sounder/bobber to check ahead as we eased in and then all around our swing circle.
 
Thanks everyone, great ideas and answers. For those who have separate sounder on the tender rather than using the same unit, how do you transfer the data to the main boat's unit or at rather how do you decide the track to go in on (given you may have meandered quite a bit on the tender to find a good path)?
 
Me being frugal and not having a plotter/sounder on the flybridge already....

I installed a compatible sounder transducer on the mothership and just transferred the dink plotter/sounder to the bridge.
 
I bought a handheld DF several years ago and it leaked badly that ruined the battery. Tossed it and replaced it with a 6ft piece of 1/2” pvc pipe with a cap on the bottom end. It’s marked at 4’ which is our draft. It fits in the dinghy where the tube meets the floor. Only need to know greater or less than 4’. Never needed to use it yet. KISS.
 
On previous bigger boats we had a bigger tender with a small depth/plotter unit. Now we rely on a handheld sounder, looks like a flashlight. Works fine for us, but I DO miss the bigger boat and bigger tender! ;-)
Regards,
Scott
 
The PO of our boat rigged up for the RIB, a 4" chartplotter/bottom machine with a transom mounted transducer and a small motorcycle battery carried in a little waterproof storage box that worked fine for sniffing around to find good water. I got tired of the extra wires and removed it all.
Since we always carry our phones with us anyway, I've been looking very seriously at one of these. I have a charting program app in the phone so a track could be recorded for us to follow in the boat, after we've located a good path to follow with the bottom machine app in the RIB.
I just yesterday was looking at ways to suspend the pod/transducer from the front of the rib, instead of towing it. I don't think it'll be an issue but we'll just have to remember to pull it up when we speed up.
That Sonar T Pod would be cool if it was self propelled. You could send it out to scope out an anchorage spot before you went in. I will take 5% if someone uses this idea and patents it[emoji16]
 
That Sonar T Pod would be cool if it was self propelled. You could send it out to scope out an anchorage spot before you went in. I will take 5% if someone uses this idea and patents it[emoji16]
Tow it behind an RC bpat paited Sea Tow yellow or BoatUS red.... you may get a free membership.
 
I went down this path as well and ended up with a Hawkeye mounted in the "bow locker" bulkhead of our Highfield CL310. Our Yamaha is manual start and the dinghy has no battery. To power the Hawkeye, I added a 2000 mAh battery and a simple charger controller mounted in a water tight box with a 2 watt solar panel mounted inside the transom. Works like a charm.

https://hawkeyeelectronics.com/products/depthtrax-2b-boatmount-depth-finder
 
Folding grapnel dinghy anchor with a knot in the line at six feet and twelve. It's an easy way to check out a short entrance but not that practical for a long channel. As you bounce it across the bottom it's super easy to tell if it's rocky or soft. Put a knot in the line where you want a minimum amount of water and one where you would maintain a comfortable heart rate.
Plus one. Its always in the dink and never needs a battery.:thumb:
 
Oh nice. Thanks all. I like the idea of the Navionics - except they don't play Garmin at all :frown:, which is the main boat MFD at the moment. Hawkeye is nice, but doesn't create a chart allow one to create an entry line.

Hmmm, speak softly and carry big (battery-less) stick seems to win (along with remember the line in!)
 
I understand the batteryless stick, but that doesn’t create a line on the graph either, right? What am I missing?
 
Use the stick to draw a line on the water where the mothership should go :thumb::rolleyes:
 
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