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Thread: What Electronics would you install?

  1. #1
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    Default What Electronics would you install?

    The Scenario; you just completed a build of a small (18 to 20') skiff and it's time to fit it out. you are going to fish and maybe do a little crabbing.
    These are your home waters, but you just retired and are not real familiar with the area.

    http://www.charts.noaa.gov/OnLineViewer/11512.shtml

    Think bare bones Simmons sea skiff. Tides can be 7 feet.
    What do you think?
    Simmons Sea Skiff build photos here:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/vxuQDZI0Dz7qjzAx1

  2. #2
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    Default Re: What Electronics would you install?

    I'd have a compass.

    Seriously.

    I prefer to do old fashioned piloting and careful observation so I won't be totally lost when the battery fails or the sunspots cancel the satalites.

    On to electronics: Communications are first. You may carry a cell phone but have a handheld VHF.

    The only other thing might be position. You'll do better learning by poking about and remembering. Sharpen observation. A GPS makes many sailors lazy learners. But if you must . . .

    If you have a I Phone or some such very smart device, you might well find a GPS and chart app that gives a good view. I found it hard to believe but a friend found his more useful doing a delivery down the ICW than the boat's GPS. This is an area I know little about but sounds interesting.

    There are plenty of good little handheld GPS units that don't give much detail but do give the broad outlines and in a boat that small, that will be enough to find your way out of a maze of marsh, maybe.

    But really, anything beyond a compass and half a brain is optional.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: What Electronics would you install?

    Nav lights.
    1 combo fish finder/depth sounder/chart plotter.
    An old fashioned compass for backup (it should have a built-in light)
    VHS radio. The new ones have emergency call buttons that are generally good for coastal waters. (You have to be in radio range.)
    A hand-held search light
    -Dave

  4. #4
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    Default Re: What Electronics would you install?

    If you have a I Phone or some such very smart device, you might well find a GPS and chart app that gives a good view. I found it hard to believe but a friend found his more useful doing a delivery down the ICW than the boat's GPS. This is an area I know little about but sounds interesting.
    I've used handheld and installed GPS units, and my phone and a larger tablet with Navionics. They all have their pros and cons. But if you're out fishing the fish finder is extremely useful, so why not get one that has the GPS and charts in it too? They're not expensive units anymore.

    I agree, Ian, that too many boaters get lazy and have their noses on the GPS screen all the time. That's a bad habit. On the other hand, the GPS is extremely useful when visibility goes bad, and it's also a very handy way to record those spots you want to find again to fish another day.
    -Dave

  5. #5
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    Default Re: What Electronics would you install?

    A PLB or eprib should be included.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: What Electronics would you install?

    A real compass. Spend some money, not a cheapo piece of crap. It should have a light. Buy charts for your home waters.
    Study them and become familiar with the local marks in and out of your home port. Plot the bearings to and from them and to you favorite fishing hole etc. Mark them on the chart.
    Then go check out a GPS, fish finder combo, a depth sounder and a some good tune player.
    You must have a VHS from the get go.
    Take the time to learn the basics before you lean on electronics.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: What Electronics would you install?

    Good binocs, hockey puck compass, paper charts.
    Not an answer you want maybe.
    A planing powerboat is the easiest thing to navigate. One can get out of trouble as fast as into it. Short of hitting a breakwater while "blind"( booze or lookin at the screen).
    Tide is only up and down movement of water. Current becomes easy to ignore on a planing boat.
    Last edited by wizbang 13; 10-12-2017 at 10:21 AM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: What Electronics would you install?

    All very good advice, thank you Gentlemen!
    Simmons Sea Skiff build photos here:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/vxuQDZI0Dz7qjzAx1

  9. #9
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    Default Re: What Electronics would you install?

    St. Louis, eh? It sounds like you'll be on the Mississippi or other rivers. Ask some local fishermen's group or on a forum for river 'boaters'. There must be dozens of them and they could give good advice regarding navigating river traffic and locating fish, etc.
    "When I was a boy with never a crack in my heart."

    -W. B. Yeats

  10. #10
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    Default Re: What Electronics would you install?

    Agreed on the compass, charts and optics. A chartplotter is nice, but ya gotta keep in mind the old definition of a GPS as being "a battery operated device designed to take you in perfect confidence to places where batteries aren't available".

  11. #11
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    Default Re: What Electronics would you install?

    Quote Originally Posted by rbgarr View Post
    St. Louis, eh? It sounds like you'll be on the Mississippi or other rivers. Ask some local fishermen's group or on a forum for river 'boaters'. There must be dozens of them and they could give good advice regarding navigating river traffic and locating fish, etc.
    Actually, I'll be in Coastal South Carolina, the May and Cooper rivers and Marsh.
    Simmons Sea Skiff build photos here:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/vxuQDZI0Dz7qjzAx1

  12. #12
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    Default Re: What Electronics would you install?

    Not electronics, I know, but don't forget an anchor to get you out of trouble!
    fair winds, Dody

    "They did not know it was impossible so they did it" - Mark Twain

  13. #13
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    Default Re: What Electronics would you install?

    Quote Originally Posted by MW Jones View Post
    A PLB or eprib should be included.
    ACR Aqualink or ResQlink? Or neither?

  14. #14
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    Default Re: What Electronics would you install?

    An EPIRB?
    For a coastal outboard boat? Just use the kill switch!

  15. #15
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    Default Re: What Electronics would you install?

    Principally I hate the electronics in boat especially speed, wind direction and depth.

    But for Aegean , imternet available and we have small sailing group and we use three important app. First, Navionics, second, mAIS, third is , zello a simple cominication app just like radio.

    We follow eachother during the long sailing of group boats. mAIS , is a Greek app. And you can see all the ships . Speed . Direction etc.

    I mean you all need android telophone or Iphone..

  16. #16
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    Default Re: What Electronics would you install?

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    An EPIRB?
    For a coastal outboard boat? Just use the kill switch!
    Sure. Cheap protection.

    Recently retired, 60 y.o. or so....stroke, heart attack, head injury, fall overboard and can't make it back to boat (or back in boat), heat stroke, anaphylaxis from man-of-war or stingray, hypothermia, hyperthermia.....pirates....
    Last edited by bluedog225; 10-12-2017 at 03:34 PM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: What Electronics would you install?

    For a small fishing skiff, my electronics wish list would have the the following:

    1) Nav lights, bow and stern...it only makes sense to be properly lighted, especially at dusk or dawn.

    2) If you're going to put in nav lights, you might as well put in a marine waterproof switch panel. Get one with a USB port (to charge the cell phone) and voltmeter.

    3) For fishing/crabbing, I would likely go with a GPS/Sonar (they aren't much) so I could mark my "hotspots", get a better idea of the bottom, and perhaps mark fish if I am fishing stationary. Here's what looks to be a good unit on Amazon. It has a split display and shows charts as well.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: What Electronics would you install?

    Nav Lights... VHF and that's about it for INSTALLED electronics. If you have money to burn then maybe a mapping GPS with at least a 6-inch screen. I'd wear the PLB in my jacket.
    CLC Skerry = "Vingilothiel"

  19. #19
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    Default Re: What Electronics would you install?

    Nav Lights for sure, Compass for sure, VHF for sure, I may look into hand held there. I really like the idea of Fish finder/Plotter with Navionics. I am also thinking Solar battery tender. This is a small boat I need to think about where to cram it all!
    Simmons Sea Skiff build photos here:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/vxuQDZI0Dz7qjzAx1

  20. #20
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    Default Re: What Electronics would you install?

    If you charge the battery from the motor, there shouldn't be a need for a solar panel. If the boat is kept in a garage or close to an outlet, a simple trickle charger will keep the battery topped off when the boat is not in use. VHF handhelds work fine, but they don't have nearly the range you get with a built-in unit attached to a tall antenna. Just a note, for your purposes the handheld will probably suffice.
    -Dave

  21. #21
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    Default Re: What Electronics would you install?

    You might consider a VHF w AIS. As I recall there is a lot of commercial traffic in the Savannah area and then you have the addition of the ICW freight train. AIS will make you more visible to various larger vessels. Not a need to have, but I can tell you when I’m cruising at 19 knots in a larger powerboat, I really appreciate the small fishing boats with AIS. I see them on the screen well before I see them visually.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: What Electronics would you install?

    Quote Originally Posted by SailAR View Post
    You might consider a VHF w AIS. As I recall there is a lot of commercial traffic in the Savannah area and then you have the addition of the ICW freight train. AIS will make you more visible to various larger vessels. Not a need to have, but I can tell you when I’m cruising at 19 knots in a larger powerboat, I really appreciate the small fishing boats with AIS. I see them on the screen well before I see them visually.
    Amen, I have been in a 20 footer many times heading to the public docks at river walk in Savannah those Cargo ships are intimidating to say the least. That being said, I will most likley not be more than five or six miles from land and I will get a seatow account. VHF, to call the Harbor master and cell phone should be plenty of redundancy.
    Simmons Sea Skiff build photos here:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/vxuQDZI0Dz7qjzAx1

  23. #23
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    Default Re: What Electronics would you install?

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    If you charge the battery from the motor, there shouldn't be a need for a solar panel. If the boat is kept in a garage or close to an outlet, a simple trickle charger will keep the battery topped off when the boat is not in use. VHF handhelds work fine, but they don't have nearly the range you get with a built-in unit attached to a tall antenna. Just a note, for your purposes the handheld will probably suffice.
    The Boat may spend most of it's life on Daufuskie Island on a trailer on a lot with no power, at least not yet.
    Last edited by figo; 10-12-2017 at 07:33 PM. Reason: spelling
    Simmons Sea Skiff build photos here:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/vxuQDZI0Dz7qjzAx1

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