Posted by: Dan Sprague | February 27, 2013

Car GPS on Boat

Car GPS on Boat

We have 3 sailboats and it gets expensive to duplicate instruments on the boats. The two day sailors do not need a full complement of instrumentation. They would not be used most of the time anyway. The day sailors are just used on the river we live on so a GPS really is not needed.

When we are out on one of the small boats going up and down the river it is still nice to know where you are, what speed you are going at. A GPS can give you that. We have a small car GPS we use and we just take it on the boat and plug it in. In map mode it shows a nice display of the roads and the river. It will give us a position we are on the river in relation to the roads near the river and is will show what speed we are sailing at.  The display shows a car on the river 8-).

Like many GPS or fish-finder displays, it is not much good in bright lit areas. (It is well worth the money when you buy a boat display to get one that is as bright as possible.) To see the display we would have to cup our hands around it or go into the cabin to see it. Even in the car it can be difficult to read.

To solve the problem I made a shadowbox for the GPS to be in. Before I went out of my way to spend time and money making a nice one I wanted to see if it would work. We have multiple indoor cats, thus we get cat litter by the big boxes. They are nice strong boxes and we always have a supply of them. I fabricated a long shadowbox from these boxes and taped them together with masking tape. The car GPS slides in to a cut out at the end of the box. This LONG BOX fits in to the boat hatch way and down in to the boat cabin and rests on the nav desk.

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It worked well. Even sitting in the cockpit at the stern of the boat, the display shows bright and clear. The overall map can be seen from the cockpit. OK…I use the binoculars to see the screen better when I need better detail. 😎 I am getting old and binoculars, glasses, magnifiers, and hearing aids are all needed these days. As my wife says…the alternative is worse.

I may make a small shadowbox that has a small viewing slot in it that could be kept in the cockpit. That way I could just look at it at a normal viewing distance. But I do not like the Idea of having a box in the cockpit to work around and get in the way.

The car GPS works OK for short little outing out on the river and the shadowbox makes it functional. I think I might miss the GPS Voice telling me to turn when we get near a road. 😎 For any real navigation a marine GPS should be obtained.

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