Just looking for a GPS that tells me my speed, distance, position, & is both waterproof & floats.

I basically paddle the intra coasal in south FL.

Is there any advantage to getting one that I can download maps & has other extras.


Robert G

My favorite is the Garmin Etrex. It’s small, cheap (less than $100), and waterproof. It doesn’t float, but I’m not aware of any that do.

I use it primarily to find my way back to the launch site, but it does a great job of giving speed,direction, estimated time of arrival, etc. Maps aren’t a requirement for my use. Mapping units are a little larger and more expensive.

GPS technology is about to undergo a breakthrough when the new European bases Gaeleao network will be introduced (stronger, more accurate) in a year or so.

You always need to download maps. No unit has enough memory to cover the entire north America. Seal a unit in a dry bag it will float.

I am using Garmin GPSMAP 76Cx. It does everything you mentioned.

If I’m not mistaken
Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I belive the Galileo project is way behind schedule. Originally it was scheduled to go operational in 08, but I belive it’s fallen way behind schedule, and they’ve yet to launch even their second test satellite, let alone start deployment of operational satellites. Last I saw was end of 2010 at earliest, but probably later than that.

Acouple of points to ponder
The Garmin Etrex’s read out is very small.

The Map 76 has just about everything that you would ever want and also has a nice read out.

You can also split the scren up on it so you can read the speed, average speed and distance on the same screen.

Down loading works both ways with the Map 76.

After a trip you can download your route and all the parameters to your computer and save the info for use at a later date.

The Map 76 also will give you the tides, etc.

I have both, and if you can afford the extra bucks I would recommend getting the 76.

Neither one of them float.



Like my
Garmin Legend, it doesn’t float. The Garmin GPSMAPS 76 is supposed to, of course it cost more too.

The Legend does what I need, plus.

Yup - it floats. Original and color unit
I had the 76, now have 76cx.

Like JackL said, the 76 series are worth a bit more for better screen and functions.

Going color is also worth it as it is MUCH easier to read in all light conditions (has day/night display mode too) and batteries last longer in them than the older B/W units. The memories are greatly expanded too (removable card).

Another Vote for the MAP76
I have one. Downloaded Atlantic Blue Chart info to it. I’ve been very happy with it.

One more vote
for the Garmin MAP76CSx - waterproof and supposedly floats - I haven’t gotten the nerve to try and see if my floats!

I have been using an e-trex
I bought it because it was the cheapest one I could find. It has no maps but I can’t say I have missed that option. I rarely go for multiday trips so preploting a trip is easy because the distances are relatively short. After only a few outtings I got use to using this very basic but sophisticated nav aid. I preload waypoints (in approx. one mile increments) before I go on a trip (take a few minutes at most to preload 10-20 waypoints) so I have a path to follow with mile markers. I get the coordinates from free online maps like Maptech. For $100 the e-trex is an extremely useful tool for keeping myself found. Worth it’s weight in gold when visual references get lost like in 0 visibility fog. I always know how far I have gone and how far I have to travel to get where I am planning on going. I can tell speed, heading, bearing, odometer, time, sunrise, sunset, ect, ect,…The trick for me to using the bottom of the line gps is looking at the free digital maps beforehand and knowing something about the area I am traveling in and picking a route that won’t be confusing when I am looking at dots on a screen. Honestly most of the time my gps is stowed and there to reference should I desire. Many trips it never gets turned on.

I always carry a map and have compass on deck in unfamiliar waters as a backup. I never totally rely on something with batteries. I know the gps is far more acurate than my map and compass skills and I learn to trust it when it appears to be functioning correctly but also know I could lose its functions at any time.

The e-trex I have has gone swimming many times with no failures (yet). My old Magellan gps was not so waterproof (it was suppose to be) and failed after only a few dunks.

Amazing tools we paddlers have at our disposal these days.

I have a Magellan Explorist 300 and love it. It’s waterproof, small, with a decent sized screen, and basic N. American and POI database built in. It also has an electronic compass and barometric altimeter.

It logs your speed, distance, track, and it’s very easy to enter your own POIs/waypoints and routes. I got mine a while back for about $175, but they have come down in price considerably. You can find them online for about $100.

The Magellan Explorist 500LE has a color screen, SD card slot for expanding the memory and adding downloaded maps, but lacks the compass and altimeter. I’ve seen the 500LE online for under $165.

As far as the EU Galileo system is concerned; it is in jeopardy right now. It is behind schedule and over budget…

EU Galileo project may be facing dead end

Posted : 11 May 2007

The European Union (EU) disclosed that the $4.9 billion satellite navigation system is in deep crisis and will require more funds, according to an AP report.

Europe’s rival to the U.S. GPS, the Galileo project, already had major delays because the eight companies in the consortium are arguing over how to divide the workload.

Of the 30 planned satellites by 2008, only one has been launched in December 2005. The second missed its 2006 launch after it short-circuited in its final testing. The scheduled launch of the 30 satellites was postponed to 2011 due to disagreements among EU governments on how to pay for the system.