okay blue charts Americas GPS disk is $139.00. with one unlock code. Now in order to unlock other areas to be able to download them to my handheld its $99.00… Does this sound right to anyone else. I’m new to the using GPS. i prefer the map and compass myself.
The GPS you have. And for Garmin you have this pesky problem of having to pay for every new download, and BTW you can only download that chart a certain number of times with that unlok code before you have to pay them all over again. So once you’ve downloaded the thing, save it well.
We have one Garmin and one Magellan, and they are both annoying but in different ways. I am not much fond of the unlock code situation in either of them, though the coastal marine charts that work with the Magellan seem to be cheaper than the same coverage for Garmin.
Map and Compass
I love the GPS, but if you prefer Map and Compass… you should probably ask yourself if you really need BlueCharts, etc.
I use map and compass and gps. I rarely look at the gps, I use it to check for drift, check distances to waypoint/destinations, verify position etc. I find that the base map in the unit is adequate for all of this.
Granted, I live/paddle in a navigationally simple area.
When necessary, I use Google Earth (Free) to set waypoints, then add them as waypoints and routes in the GPS prior to hitting the water.
i was thinking with the Blue Charts i could get to Shipwrecks to Snorkel around Help plan trips with the Wife. that Kinda thing
Try the topo maps
I used Blue Chart Maps for circumnavigating Iceland, because a good topo map was not available. Yes, downloading new sections can get expensive. The Blue Chart Maps are wonderful, great detail and tidal information, but usually I use the Garmin topo maps due to the expense of the Blue Chart Maps.
For my recent Newfoundland circumnavigation I used paper topo maps in my chartcase, and having the topo on the GPS (with the ability to zoom in on details) was very good. The topo maps for the entire USA (and Canada) are quite reasonable, but topos are not available for all countries.
The beauty of the downloadable maps is that you have a wealth of local knowledge at your finger tips, in the unit, on-the-fly.
If you are looking for points-of-interest, shipwrecks, etc,… you can do a little research online and on Google Earth. Get their coordinates and prior to your paddle, upload these waypoints into your unit. Pretty simple and free… but a bit more work.
I do the same thing -I’m cheap.
I preload the waypoints into the cheapest Garmin GPS, and then I use maps, and keep a compass handy. I use the GPS for headings and bearings when you can’t see the target because of distance or fog, but I use hardcopy maps so I have a back up. If the GPS fails or batteries go bad you are SOL.
So is it a good investment
So after you Pay this money in the end Are the blue charts worth the money? From what i have seen i think they will work great. But for those people who paddle rivers more than the Great lakes does Blue charts have anything about rivers ?
Charts vs Topo Maps
For paddling the Great Lakes I have found the topo maps of much greater use than the charts. When you need to know the detail of the surrounding shoreline looking for a place to land the charts are not very helpful.
Also- the charts do not show the inland waters that the topo maps do.
the mono is $136… and the NauticPath is $75 that includes all the coast lines and great lakes… the mono also last much longer on batteries…
I find the Lowrance GPS easy mode gets in the way for the functions for the advanced mode…
for example i automatically starts a new trail when you turn it on in easy mode… you have to go to advanced mode to turn this off, then to start a trail you have to scroll a bit to start a new trail, and it ask you if you are sure you want to switch modes… yes that’s why I pushed that 8#5% button!
It does everything you might want… trip distance, speed, waypoints, trails, but takes pushing more buttons than necessary…
but for $215 you can’t beat that GPS with that kind of coastal mapping detail…
The Garmin has a better interface but scam you on the maps, although they are very good maps… but for kayaking I’ll use the Lawrence and other free online nautical charts
I want the GPS for when I get caught out at night … and the H20 does a lot more than that…
Where are you paddling?
Some places a topo is better and some places a chart is better. Just depends, you’ll have to see for yourself.
I’ve unlocked just one region on my Garmin Bluechart and unless I paddle a ways from here (Pacific Northwest)I won’t have to unlock another. Had to do destructive recovery on my computer a couple of times and reload the program and reenter all the codes to reunlock the region, but if you have trouble, call a Garmin tech and they’ll help walk you through it. Never had a problem re-unlocking regions or downloading charts repeatedly to my two Garmin units. Sounds like Celia has had a different experience.
Also, for kayakers, I’ve found (been told be Garmin techs) that there is often/usually not enough difference from and older Bluechart version to the next to warrant paying full price for the new version. You may consider checking eBay, etc. for NIB older versions that would suit you just fine without the cost. There are ususally a couple to several updates availabe a year from Garmin to update the software. I’ve got v8 and it’s more than adequate for kayaking. I’ve I was powerboating I might invest in the upgrade to the newer version more often.
One nice thing about Garmin MapSource USA is that it includes ATN (aids to navigation) data–buoy info, etc. Last I checked MapSource Canada did not, so for Canada you needed to invest in Bluechart. If your in the US and not going in the saltwater, MapSource may be a cheaper and viable option by itself. Good luck!
is very comprehensive coastal mapping charts… that appear to be the same detail as the NOAA charts… I would still double check the charts to make sure all the minor hazard areas are clearly identified…
The base map that comes loaded onto the Garmin 76 is horrible… the little Lowrance Go2 has much more detail and all of the channel markers and the little creeks…
the only issue with the H20 is having to scroll through several sub menus to activate and deactivate the trails optoins… otherwise the navigation and charging waypoints is very easy to access.
Why not do both ways?
use downloadable topo’s and Bluecharts?
free marine charts?
Have a Garmin 76 myself (just got it) and you are right about the base map being horrible. Whole island missing (clark’s) in Plymouth Harbor, MA for example.
Are there any halfway-decent free maps that offer a little better coastline resolution? Obviously not looking for commerical-quality, just something better than the stock base map.
GPS Map Info
Look into Garmin’s Roads and Recreation. Garmin doesn’t sell it anymore, but you can find it on e-bay and elsewhere. Downloadable CD, and no unlock codes. I like it, but my needs are simple. Much more info and detail than the base map in my MAP 76. Ken…