GPS technology has become indispensable and we are quite in awe of how this navigational tool continues to develop. More recently, our focus has turned to portable marine GPS systems and their flawless ability to navigate boats over water and fishermen to the most promising fishing locations. Be it ocean, dam, river, or lake – you may want to invest in one of these reliable navigational tools for your next marine expedition. To help you choose the device that’s going to suit your needs and your pocket, we have gathered a list of the best marine GPS devices available.
The Best Marine GPS
Garmin has a reputation for manufacturing quality products that use the most advanced technology. So, when the Garmin Striker 4 made its appearance with such a competitive price tag, we were quite surprised (and a little skeptical) at first. Could such an affordable device really live up to the expectations of Garmin fans? After putting this device to the test, the answer is an unwavering “yes”. With built-in GPS and the brand’s own CHIRP transducer, the clarity of the near-photographic images will give you a detailed picture of what’s around you and what’s to come.
There is no beating around the bush with this model – its usability is simple and you can get to the information you need as soon as possible. Working to a depth of 1,600 ft. in freshwater and up to 750 ft. in saltwater, the Striker 4 uses it CHIRP functionality to continuously sweep a full range of frequencies so that no details are spared from your reading. Whether you are a ferry operator by profession or a casual fisherman, this model is excellent value for money and gives reliable information without fail. For more useful devices like this, check out our guide to the best golf GPS watches.
Easy-to-use keypad operation
Includes CHIRP (77/200 kHz) sonar transducer
Built-in high-sensitivity GPS
Firmly mounts with a suction cup
Sealed rechargeable battery
Continuous sweep of frequencies
- Weight8 ounces
Attractive price point
There is no steep learning curve
You can identify fish and mark them for later
The colour display screen is large and clear
The Waypoint map is a very useful feature
Graphics are low-res
Not fully water-resistant
The Garmin GPSMAP 78S features a neat design that’s easy to use. The model includes a modest 2.6-inch LCD color screen and a 3-axis tilt-compensated compass (with a barometer). Impressively, it is not only fully waterproof but it will also float on water if it finds its way overboard. And if that’s not enough – this trusted Garmin model has a dedicated man-overboard button that will instantly mark an incident and notify the Coast Guard and other emergency operations.
Available at a respectable price, this device is not only a fisherman’s friend but a reliable companion to sailors, divers, and kayakers. Its GPS receiver is extremely sensitive and will instantaneously share waypoints, routes, and even geocaches. Other noteworthy attributes include the 1.7 GB inward memory, information stockpiling, and microSD card slot. Navigate anywhere with ease – this device will not let you drift aimlessly out to sea.
2.6-inch TFT LCD display screen
Soft keypad operation
3-Axis compass & barometric altimeter
WAAS-enabled GPS receiver
Worldwide shaded relief basemap
- Weight7.7 ounces
Floats on water and is completely waterproof
Built-in coastal charts
The built-in electronic compass is perfectly accurate
Made from reliable and robust materials
The 160 x 240-pixel screen can be hard to decipher
If you would like to be directed to the best fishing spots without having to dig deep into your pockets, then the Handheld Fish Finder by LUCKY is a viable option. While we wouldn’t officially give this device the title of “Marine GPS”, it’s made our list for its uncanny ability to detect and display water depth and approximate fish location. If you simply want to find fishing hotspots without the added extras, then this striking yellow portable fish finder will surprise you with its accuracy.
Whether you have off-shore fishing, sea fishing or even ice fishing in mind, this device is impressively versatile no matter the environment. Features include 5 sensitivity mode options, a 2-inch LCD display screen, and an alerting system that sets off an alarm when schools of fish pass by. What we also appreciate is that you do not need to be a technical genius to operate this device. It is super easy to get the hang of and we feel quite comfortable recommending it to amateur anglers.
A portable fish tracking device
Can be used in most fishing environments
Blue LED back-light
Powered by AAA batteries
1.81inch diameter transducer sensor
2-inch LCD display screen
- Weight1.1 pounds
Comes with a nifty neck strap
Great value for money
The 5 sensitivity options make it a versatile fish finder
Blue backlit display helps with night fishing
Batteries need to be replaced every 4-5 hours
No GPS tracking
Garmin now takes its place on our list for the third (and last) time. The Striker 4cv is yet another example of how you simply cannot go wrong with this brand. It’s built to work in any environment and its sturdy structure and water-tight design will withstand the most enduring expeditions. It has a depth capability of 1,600 feet in freshwater and 750 feet in salt water and all the readings are clearly displayed on the 3.5-inch HVGA display screen (with split-screen functionality to boot)!
One of the most mentionable attributes of the Striker 4cv is its CHIRP sonar that enables improved target definition or separation as well as clutter removal. And then there’s the high-precision GPS module that makes it possible to record up to 5,000 waypoints. Finding and recording your favorite fishing spots or viewpoints has never been easier – or more fun! To add, you get all of this at an astonishingly competitive price.
Includes built-in Garmin CHIRP transducer
Garmin Quickdraw Contours mapping software
Large 4.3-inch display screen
- Weight11.2 ounces
The waterproof design makes it a solid investment
Includes Garmin’s impressive CHIRP sonar technology
Up to 5,000 stored waypoints
Internal high-sensitivity GPS
Limited networking options
How seriously do you take your water-sports? Are you perhaps a sailor by profession? A competitive angler? If you need a device that outdoes itself with features and functionality, then the high-end Fish Finder by Raymarine won’t disappoint. Keep in mind, however, that this serious device comes with a serious price tag! Before we make mention of its technical specifications, you may just want to take a moment and appreciate this model’s large 7-inch all-glass touch screen (just wow)!
The Axiom 7 first made its appearance 3 years ago but to date, the units are still being manufactured and sold, which says a lot about the quality and popularity of the product. It also has a built-in GPS as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, so that you can conveniently pair it with your smartphone! The device also includes Raymarine’sLightHouse technology, CHIRP DownVision sonar capabilities, and FLIR thermal cameras. There’s very little that this handheld marine GPS doesn’t feature, actually, and you will certainly get your investment’s worth!
Built-in fish targeting CHIRP sonar
3 operating systems
- Weight8.8 pounds
High-quality optically bonded LCD display
Autopilot feature included
CHIRP 2D and DownVision
Depth capacity is not the best for off-shore fishing
Some features are only available in the next LightHouse updates
The Humminbird Fishfinder is similar to the Raymarine Axiom 7 in features and functionality. The cost is a little easier to swallow, however, and that’s what makes this marine GPS device such a great buy. When purchasing this product, you will get a large seven-inch screen (with split-screen views) and our favorite part – SwitchFire Sonar functionality – which provides a view of thermocline activity and water currents.
This premium quality deice has been designed to last and if you use the built-in Wi-Fi to update the software regularly, then its capabilities will only improve as the years progress. On opening your package, you will also discover a transducer and mounting hardware, a power cable, and a gimbal mounting bracket. Everything you need for the ultimate fishing or diving expedition has been neatly packed into one box. Top this off with CHIRP technology, and you have a flawless marine navigation tool.
7-Inch screen with 800H x 480V resolution
Mega Down Imaging
Pre-loaded split-screen view options
Dual Spectrum CHIRP Sonar
- Weight5.3 pounds
Works well in freshwater and in saltwater
A durable and sturdy design
Easy mounting and dismounting
Features 256 colours
Doesn’t feature an NMEA 2000 port
Can only hold one MicroSD card at a time
The Elite-7 Ti2 offers advanced fish finding features and connectivity but without the premium price. This device is a proven performer. It has a broad mix of features for both amateur and professional fishermen and it boasts all the impressive sonar advancements that the brand is known for. Elite 7’s best feature, however, is its DownScan transducer that functions at 200/50 kHz & 800/455 kHz as well as 500W RMS. This means that you will get balanced detail in any type of water.
The touchscreen display is also a noteworthy attribute and it gets our thumbs up for being extremely easy to use. Selecting menus and entering text is hassle-free and you do not need to be a tech genius to work the device! The screen is pretty water-resistant as well, but it won’t survive full submersion. All-in-all, the Elite-7 Ti2 is a great choice for anglers who want a more advanced device but without the complicated functionality and frills.
Hi-res 7-inch SolarMAX display
DownScan Imaging and CHIRP Sonar
Wireless networking capability
Active Imaging 3-in-1 and 2-in-1 sonar support
Built-in time mapping
Power Pole integration
- Weight5.1 pounds
Easy-to-use user interface
Accurate inbuilt GPS antenna
Provides great detail in both shallow and deep water
Awesome features at a great price
The user manual is difficult to follow
There are a few complaints about the screen’s calibration
Lowrance does it again. Here’s yet another quality and reliable marine GPS that could possibly tick all of the boxes on your list of navigational requirements – and at a shockingly low price, we might add. While HOOK2 5X does not have as many features as the Elite-7, its functionality is still pretty impressive and the device is used by many professionals. If you are a beginner fisherman, the friendly user interface will still make this a good buy (it’s quite a helpful companion when you are trying to get a firm grasp of the ropes).
Features include a GPS system with a highly sensitive antenna, advanced signal processing, a CHIRP sonar, and DownScan imaging. With these quality attributes, you will have all the functionality you need for clear mapping in all water environments. While we will recommend this model to any sailor or diver, its design is certainly ideal for kayak fishing and it won’t let you down in this regard.
GPS plotter to add waypoints
Wide sonar coverage
Versatile mounting capabilities
- Weight2.65 pounds
Easy to set up and use
Great for both professionals and amateur fishermen
You can use multiple features simultaneously
Lightweight and designed to be portable
No NMEA or Ethernet ports included
The transducer is not ideal for ice fishing