Blue Charts of handheld GPS

What do you think of the Blue Charts for handheld Gps units is it useful? FishHawk

I use . . .
. . . topo instead.

bluechart vs topo
I bought the blue chart package for my Garmin GPS and I really like it. I find the tide predictions useful as well. But the Topo maps do almost as good a job and may be all that you need. If I had got the Topo before buying the Bluecharts I might not have bought the charts.

I use Bluechart on my Vista HCX
and I am not sure it is really necessary. There is a lot of data to look at on a small screen. If you use it for fishing or powerboating it is a good idea. I like it also for when I am going to a new area, however I would not likely pay for the area unless I was spending some significant time there, or it was necessary for safety. Bill

I use

– Last Updated: Mar-19-09 10:33 AM EST –

the Lowrance Nautical maps.

The real advantage is it gives the depth.. sometimes if I'm in a new area and someone isn't sure if a creek cuts trough or not I can look and see exactly what it does.

The tide info is useful because you can check and see how fast tidal rivers are moving..

I would say the Topo maps are very useful but the nautical maps take it to the next level.

For the Lowrance $75 was a no brainer.

If you plan to kayak at night, or think you might be stuck out at night in a coastal area, the nautical maps would be more useful.

Edit: my primary use for GPS is a back up to know where I'm at if I'm in trouble. I wouldn't use it to navigate at night in a new area unless I got stuck out in a tricky area.

If you paddle out of Cape Cod…
You want the charts that have the stuff like lighthouses, buoys etc. I believe for that you have to get the Blue Nav charts for the Garmin GPS units.

useable on Garmin

– Last Updated: Mar-19-09 11:24 AM EST –

Is the Lowrance Nautical maps usable on a Garmin GPS unit?

Blue Charts
I’ve used Garmin bluechart chips extensively, for sailing and occasionally for kayaking. I can’t imagine using a plotting GPS for navigation without having the marine data on the electronic chart. I’m assuming the topo maps don’t include depth soundings, navigational buoys, lights, their sequences, shipping channels, etc.

All that stuff is vital for navigation. Of course you should have a chart in addition to your plotting GPS, as a back up. But I think having a plotting GPS isn’t very useful if it doesn’t give you most of the relevant info.

Very Useful for Coastal NC
I bought the Blue Chart after paddling over what my GPS said was dry land.

Later add - nav chart vs full topo maps
I left out one thing, tho’ this probably goes more to carrying paper/waterproof charts/maps than what’s in the GPS. Yup you want the nav charts for all the stuff on the water that regular topo maps won’t include. Paper first and GPS as backup is easiest on aging eyes usually.

But old-fashioned topo maps have their place on the water. We paddled a new stretch of coastline last summer and were trying to confirm which island/point was which in the distance based on the nav chart. They all lined up to the same rough compass point, so that wasn’t much help in a bobbing kayak. And it was on the hazy side. We probably would have done better had we had a full topo map for that area with more detail about the land than on the nav charts.

Normally this would be academic, but we were trying to get a visual feel for what we’d hit paddling south out of this launch point.

getting sued to BlueCharts
I got a GPSMP 60CSx for Xmas, and a month or so later added BlueCharts for my area.

I only have a few paddles on the unit, but in areas where there is coverage, it does seem very useful. I paddled out to Alcatraz yesterday, and it was showing me depths, where the channel markers are (important, as I was crossing a shipping channel), where the piers are, etc. All very useful.

But it looks like areas that aren’t navigable have limited information (or none at all). For example, it looks like it has no data on Lake Tahoe (a large lake that is heavily used by pleasure boaters). On my computer (presumably the same would show on the GPS’s map), it shows up as being “Land, NonUrban”. In this case, Topo maps may be more useful (I don’t have it yet, but likely will add). I put a 2gigabyte sim card in, so have plenty of space to add - just need the money to buy the Topo Maps.