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Is there a sensible chartplotter for me?

Jul 7, 2004
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
I have an ancient Lowrance unit now. It has the basics. Uses an external GPS antenna. I want to replace it with something newer. Does anyone make just a simple chartplotter without all the transducer, fish finding stuff? I just sail on a reservoir. Would like to mark some points to avoid and also my slip if we have trouble after dark. Might move it to another lake some day.

edit: not really looking for a handheld unit. Something to mount on my pedestal
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Jan 23, 2021
beneteau 323 Corpus Christi marina
I’m happy with Garmin unit that I got to replace old unit on the new-to-me 2004 Beneteau. It came with charts for area I sail, and is intuitive enough that I haven’t referenced the manual.
Jan 11, 2014
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
The B&G Vulcan might be a good choice and allows for expansion.

A really simple one may be hard to find. These are computers, so once the computer is built, all the other features are mostly software related. Manufacturers compete on price and features, so you will probably end up buying something with more features than you need. At one point the Vulcan line was what you wanted and it had limited features. Not any longer. Still a good unit and the 7" size is reasonably priced.

Simrad and Lawrence offer similar units (all Navico brands, owned by Brunswick) with features geared towards power boats or fishing. The Lowrance units may be more moderately priced.
Sep 26, 2008
Hunter 340 Wickford, RI
I have a Navman 5600. It has a 7 1/2 inch display and very easy to use, an external antenna about 4 inches round, you can mount where you want on a rail. This model doesn't have the transducers and fish finders like you stated, but they could be added if need be.
I've had it for years and upgrade the CMap card to stay updated on new and changing navigation alerts.
I mounted it on just above my VHF on the pedestal and remove it with one threaded screw with a handle. Makes it adjustable in various sunlight angles and at night.
The latitude and longitude are easily read at the top of the screen.
Simple but does the job.
Feb 26, 2004
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
Justin, you've been around here quite some time. I figured you'd have figured this out by now: you ask about a product and you'll get however many folks answering by essentially just telling you what they have, and they bought it because they liked it, not because you might. In my case, my answer for your application is, buy a handheld and mount it where you want it. I can guarantee you that a hh won't have a fishfinder or depth sounder feature. :yikes:

Here's the way to do it:

1. Go to WM's or Defender's website and see the list of manufacturers, 'cuz they usually carry all of them. Otherwise, Google "boat chartplotters" get the list.

2. Find the different models that meet you feature and price criteria.

3. Go try them out in the store.

4. Enjoy your own research and homework.

5. Go sailing.
Jul 7, 2004
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
I think you may be right. A handheld may be my best choice . The Navman looks interesting, but a HH would be more versatile and not paying for something I don't need.


Jan 15, 2006
Macgregor 22 Silverton
"I have an ancient Lowrance unit now. It has the basics"
What's the basics? would a tablet with the navigation app and a built in GPS receiver do it?
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Jan 7, 2011
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
"I have an ancient Lowrance unit now. It has the basics"
What's the basics? would a tablet with the navigation app and a built in GPS receiver do it?
An iPad with iSailGPS (free) and a free map or 2 should give you something basic.

I have an older Garmin GPSMaps chart plotter, but no longer made.

here is an inexpensive unit.

or an inexpensive Garmin...

Jun 8, 2004
Catalina 320 Dana Point
Similar to the one posted by Greg, recently I got a Garmin 74CV with transducer on sale for $400, funny thing the one without the transducer was on sale for $450, go figure. It was a discontinued model, the transducer is in the closet, might try it inside the hull when time allows. Was going to use it as a "stand alone" GPS but the sailing specific features convinced me to hook it up to my ST60 instruments. Same old data but now overlaid on a chart, laylines, heading etc.
GARMIN ECHOMAP Plus g3 74cv Fishfinder/Chartplotter Combo with GT23 Transducer and US Coastal g3 Charts | West Marine
Jan 23, 2021
beneteau 323 Corpus Christi marina
As we drift a bit off topic,
the boat had an old (2004) Lorance elite with fish finder on it. Amazingly enough, it was same model my fifhing brother had on his fish boat. ( So, of course, he has it now.)
Feb 21, 2013
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
Raymarine E120.......have them on my sailboat and powerboat at upper and lower helms.......might be mid-2000 technology but works for me with radar, sonar, AIS, wind, etc.


Jul 29, 2020
Catalina 22 3603 Calumet Mi
You could go the opencpn route. I did that with a raspberry pi and small screen, pretty cheap to do, bit definitely a DIY project.
Mar 20, 2004
Hunter 356 and 216 Portland, ME
take a look at the Simrad cruise - 5,7,9 inch models. the 7 is about $500, really good screen and charts, can use navionics. comes with a transducer but you don't need to use it. should fit fine on your 30 and only needs a power connection. After a lot of searching, I got one for my 216 in case we got caught in fog - our harbor entrance is really tricky....
I recently helped a friend deliver his new to him Mainship 40 from RI to Maine and I threw it in my gearbag "just in case". Well, his Raymarine system failed and we navigated the whole trip with the cruise 7 duct taped to the flybridge:)


Jun 7, 2004
Hunter 25_73-83 Lake Lanier, GA
Tablet with Navionics mounted on your pedestal rail with a universal mount ($20) simple & effective.
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Jul 7, 2004
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
Tablet with Navionics mounted on your pedestal rail with a universal mount ($20) simple & effective.
We actually had to do this when we bareboat chartered from Conch in the BYI's. on checkout, we showed that the chartplotter screen was fried so they gave us a tablet to use for 10 days.
I'll have to give it some thought...
Oct 24, 2010
Hunter 30 Everett, WA
We replaced ours with a new Garmon Ecomap. it was affordable and works flawlessly. It also interfaces with Active Captain and comes with nav software. I mounted the transducer that comes with it inside by glueing it down with 3M4000. The sonar can't side-scan because the transducer is not submerged in water, but I don't need that anyway. Here is a link, but you can find them on sale occasionally cheaper. We got the 9 inch.
Oct 2, 2012
Fountain Pajot Bahia 46 Abroad
Hey we have used Navionics’s on our iPad and phones for years as backups for our Raymarine charter plotter. Inexpensive and updates are easy.