• Mobile App For Android Now Online!

    Download it here. The app is searchable in the Google Play Store under Sailboat Owners.

    Sorry iPhone/iPad users, we are still waiting on Apple. :(

    Click the X in the upper right corner to make this go away

shallow water sailing electronics

Jan 18, 2015
20
MacGregor 26S Big Stone Lake
I have recently purchased MACGREGOR 26S and am eagerly awaiting my maiden voyage. I have spent a great deal of time reading posts on this site. And I am quickly learning my nautical knowledge is in need in many areas. One of the areas I need assistant is electronics. I am unsure on what will actually help me safely enjoy the waters in my area and what is overkill. I will be sailing almost exclusively in 5,000 to 15,000 acre shallow lakes. And I will be able to mostly likely be able to see the shore at all times in my 1st couple of sailing seasons. With my primary concern being running aground and damaging the hull. Thanks in advance for any assistance provided.
 
Sep 3, 2012
195
Hunter 285 Grand Rivers Ky
I purchased a simple depth finder and epoxied the transducer to the hull in the bow of my Macgregor. The whole thing from west marine was under a hundred bucks. D10D Hawkeye Digital Depth Sounder

Used marine epoxy from Menards or Home Depot.
 

sunman

.
Jul 29, 2009
112
Mac Mac 26D Suwannee
got any marinas there?
ask around, increase your knowledge base
garmin has a gps w all US/inland lakes on the chartplotter, soundings etc. might look into it, now U can sail in other states/lake too
 
Jul 12, 2011
808
Catalina 36 Bay City, MI
For day sailing, I've found that a handheld a VHF marine radio and a GPS with electronic charts are nice additions, both waterproof. These are things that you can find for under $200 each at West Marine, or 25% less on sale at WM, or from Defender or Amazon. Specialized marine products are more reliable and durable than applications on your phone. They can be charged and stored at home, so get minimal wear. I've not missed most other electronic stuff that are on bigger boats after years of day sailing because I'm doing it to get away, not play with the shiny screens. Fair winds.
 
Nov 8, 2010
10,843
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
Some good advice about getting and hooking up a low cost depth finder.

I would also suggest getting a bottom map of the lakes, and study them. Look for areas away from the shore where it it shallow, and build up mental reference about where they are. This takes practice, but will hold you in good stead. Too many boaters get overly reliant on electronics to keep them off the bricks. Remember that water is typically deep away from the shore, and most often continues the shores contours as it goes underwater. Study the maps and note where this is not true. You'll be fine.

PS - If you are in MN, the DNR has bottom maps of most lakes you can download.
 
Jan 18, 2015
20
MacGregor 26S Big Stone Lake
got any marinas there?
ask around, increase your knowledge base
garmin has a gps w all US/inland lakes on the chartplotter, soundings etc. might look into it, now U can sail in other states/lake too
The closest possible marinas is an hour and a half away and I am on their list. After that the closest marina is over three hours away. I will look into the Garmin GPS and the D10D depth sounder later today. Thanks
 
Jan 18, 2015
20
MacGregor 26S Big Stone Lake
Some good advice about getting and hooking up a low cost depth finder.

I would also suggest getting a bottom map of the lakes, and study them. Look for areas away from the shore where it it shallow, and build up mental reference about where they are. This takes practice, but will hold you in good stead. Too many boaters get overly reliant on electronics to keep them off the bricks. Remember that water is typically deep away from the shore, and most often continues the shores contours as it goes underwater. Study the maps and note where this is not true. You'll be fine.

PS - If you are in MN, the DNR has bottom maps of most lakes you can download.
Thanks. Depth finder/sounder will be ordered this AM. Your advise on obtaining and studying maps on not getting overly reliant on electronic makes a lot of sense. For the few dollars they cost I think the hand held GPS and radio would be wise investment.
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,366
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
So I would go in a different direction.

I use an iPad as my primary chart plotter. I have the Navionics, iNavX and Garmin BlueChart apps. I like the Navionics best.

For adding a depth sounder, I would look at the Navionics Sonarphone. It adds a depth sounder and fishfinder to the Navionics app. Furthermore it updates the charts with the data it collects so that you will have some of the most accurate charts for the area possible.

If you already have an iPad, iPhone, Android phone or tablet you will be in business for about $200 between the app and the Sonarphone. If you need to buy the tablet you will have that cost too. For iPads you need one that has wireless data capabilities (you don't need to use data but those are the models with internal GPS) or you can buy an external GPS receiver for about $100-200.

Good luck and fair winds,

Jesse
 
  • Like
Likes: HMT2
Dec 23, 2008
746
Catalina 22 Central Penna.
Most damage to a sailboat is from grounding or hitting something underwater such as stumps in a manmade lake so, a depth sounder is the ticket and cheap may not be the safest. Maps may help but, when you’re learning to sail and get use to a new boat one will not have the time to calculate where all the obstacles are located in the water.

Charts are only made for what is called chartable waters and only the very very big lakes have been charted by the gov.
 
  • Like
Likes: smokey73
Jan 18, 2015
20
MacGregor 26S Big Stone Lake
No easy picks here are there. There seems to be a wide variety of options to sail safely. But which is best for my current skills and which is best in the future as my skills increase?If I were to use the Navionics path is the permanent SP200 or the portable SP300 the better option? If I were to go with the D10D Hawkeye Digital Depth Sounder can the data be used by other electronics I may want to add in the future?
 

T_Cat

.
Aug 8, 2014
325
Catalina 22 1987 New Design. 14133 "LadyHawke" Modesto CA
I have used a sonar/gps unit on my fishing boat for years. Navionics makes a great chip that shows the contours of the lake bottom. The down side is lake levels rise and fall ( in California they fall hundreds of feet) so what ever you choose use it to supplement your knowledge of your local lake. My biggest visual clues are the contour of the shoreline as it enters the lake and the change in water color associated with shallow water.
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,366
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
No easy picks here are there. There seems to be a wide variety of options to sail safely. But which is best for my current skills and which is best in the future as my skills increase?If I were to use the Navionics path is the permanent SP200 or the portable SP300 the better option? If I were to go with the D10D Hawkeye Digital Depth Sounder can the data be used by other electronics I may want to add in the future?
The Hawkeye is just a depth sounder. All you get is a number on the screen. Don't get me wrong, that is what most of us use even in ocean sailing.

As far as I am aware, the Navionics Sonarphone is the only one that integrates with charts to give you a better defined chart. Meaning if you go out on the lake and power around in a grid pattern, you will end up with charts you can use to sail the area in the future. If you go the traditional depth sounder route you could combine that with paper bottom contour maps and record the depth sounder readings but I don't think there is any way to integrate that into a chart plotter. Further, if you allow the data to be uploaded other people will have access to those charts.

If you already have a house battery on your boat I would go with the SP200. If you don't have or don't want a house bank battery then go with the SP300. My uncle also is the one that gave them the idea for the SP300. He made his SP200 portable with a small battery box and lawn equipment battery. He takes it ice fishing and in his canoe. He has another mounted in his salt water skiff. He was one of the beta testers for the Sonarphone units.
 

Johnb

.
Jan 22, 2008
1,155
Hunter 37-cutter Richmond CA
Always, just ask the harbor master, or any other handy person who has local knowledge, where you can go and what you should avoid. We sail out of Marina Bay Yacht Harbor in Richmond California. At least once a month someone boats into the area between the harbor and Brooks Island and runs aground.

That can only be achieved by not looking at the charts, not asking any questions, and taking care to pay no attention to channel markers, thereby avoiding any diminishment of ignorance. A prerequisite is to be ignorant of the need to do any of these things.
 

Nils T

.
Jun 1, 2014
44
Precision 23 Winter Park, FL
Hawkeye allowed me to trade in my old receiver for a new one at a discount. It worked with the old sender. If you just want a depth gauge. Contact the company direct.
 
Jan 18, 2015
20
MacGregor 26S Big Stone Lake
After considering all of the help offered I am going with JK_Boston_Catalina310"s SonarPhone SP300 idea. We have both iphones and ipads and with that option multiple users can open the display. I think the wife feel safer knowing we won't run aground being able to have her own visual aid if she wishes. I am aware that this choice appears to be in direct opposition to Jackdaw's concern of getting, "overly reliant on electronics". But most folks that know me would say that I am a jump first look second kind of guy. For me any reliance is probably a good thing.
Thanks Again All.
 
Jun 9, 2004
615
Catalina 385 Marquette. Mi
One problem you may have with I anythings or laptops in the cockpit is that the screens are nearly impossible to read in direct sunlight, especially with sunglasses on.
And that is the big difference between marine displays and home stuff on the boat. Imho of course.
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,366
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
One problem you may have with I anythings or laptops in the cockpit is that the screens are nearly impossible to read in direct sunlight, especially with sunglasses on.
And that is the big difference between marine displays and home stuff on the boat. Imho of course.
New iPhones don't have this issue and if you get the iPad with the Retina display it's fine too. For laptops, they just announced the new Macbook Air will have the Retina display. The Macbook Pro has had this display for a couple of years.

Personally I like the iPad 4 gen or iPad Air in a Lifeproof case. Waterproof and shock resistant. I also installed an iPad mount and a 12 volt outlet for power.
 
Jan 22, 2008
488
Catalina Capri 22 281 Winthrop MA
I started out with a simple "fish finder" to warn me about shallow areas. Then I added a handheld GPS (smart phone or tablet may suffice but get some moisture protection). Since I was venturing into the edge of the ocean, I added a handheld VHF radio.

If you are basically daysailing and staying in sight of the shore, these will be sufficient but don't forget paper maps!
 
  • Like
Likes: 1 person
Jun 9, 2004
615
Catalina 385 Marquette. Mi
New iPhones don't have this issue and if you get the iPad with the Retina display it's fine too. For laptops, they just announced the new Macbook Air will have the Retina display. The Macbook Pro has had this display for a couple of years.

Personally I like the iPad 4 gen or iPad Air in a Lifeproof case. Waterproof and shock resistant. I also installed an iPad mount and a 12 volt outlet for power.
Sounds expensive. :)