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Bought Boat - Need Upgrade - Suggestions?
We sold our Sea Ray Sundancer 330 that had newer Garmin electronics: 18" HD radar dome, 7" chartplotter, VHF radio and transducers. Everything worked well. Bought a 42' Navigator Pilothouse on the Cumberland River, where they don't need electronics. It has two helm stations, one good DSC capable VHF radio on the flybridge and one working B & G depth finder on each helm. I'll be taking the boat to Florida, on the Great Loop and eventually to the Bahamas. I want to add radar, a chartplotter to both helm stations, another VHF radio, AIS and WIFI to use our ipad as a portable chartplotter. I'm willing to spend $10,000 on hardware... What do you guys suggest?
Thank you !
My strongest piece of advice is always to make sure that you have equipment you are comfortable using. The capabilities of the electronics onboard are, in my opinion, secondary to your ability to use them. So, with that in mind I always recommend people visit somewhere they can get their hands on the major brands (Garmin, Simrad, Raymarine and Furuno -- though Furuno can be harder to find on display) such as a boat show or a West Marine.
I don't think your budget will be much of a problem as long as you don't go for the largest of the displays available.
Garmin has a reputation for being the easiest to use but I really believe the current crop of products from all the manufacturers are excellent products with little separating them in terms of ease of use.
One thing I don't see mentioned in your list is an autopilot. I used mine heavily during the loop and wouldn't want to do the loop without one.
Lastly, your brand selection of other products has little bearing on your selection of AIS and VHF. A specialist manufacturer in those categories (like Vesper in AIS and Icom or Standard Horizon in VHF) frequently delivers a better product and better value than one with the same manufacturer's name on it as your MFD.
Please let us know if we can help more as you make your way through selecting equipment
For VHF, pick something with built in GPS receiver; don't have to wire it to a GPS source which is usually needlessly complex and time consuming. GPS is important if you need the distress features.
You may go over budget adding an autopilot. Vesper is great for AIS. how much room for displays? Does it need to be integrated into one mfd? Where are you located?